Perkins Highlights List of Five Tom Sox Players Selected for VBL Awards

Five Tom Sox players received recognition from the Valley League for their performance during the 2023 season, as announced by the league on July 31 and August 1.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Five Tom Sox players received recognition from the Valley League for their performance during the 2023 season, as announced by the league on July 31 and August 1. Mark Perkins (Rice) received the nod as South Pitcher of the Year, while he and Mike Eggert (Wofford) were named All-Valley League selections. Brice Martinez (Wofford) was named an All-Defense selection at second base. Martinez, Jordan Little (Virginia Tech), and Kyle Edwards (Old Dominion) were named All-Valley Honorable Mention selections.

 

Perkins was named South Pitcher of the Year and an All-Valley League selection after having one of the best seasons ever by a Tom Sox pitcher. His 0.51 ERA is currently the lowest in Tom Sox history (min. 25 IP), while his 44 strikeouts rank seventh on the single-season strikeout list and his .156 opponent batting average is fifth.

Perkins has cherished the role as Charlottesville’s #1 starter after pitching only 15 innings for Rice this spring, working to a lackluster 7.80 ERA. Said Perkins: “I feel like I’ve started reaching my potential that I know I’ve always been able to do, and it’s been showing out on the field.”

Perkins has been dominant for the Tom Sox, allowing only two earned runs in 35 innings on the season. He has not allowed a run in 21.2 innings in July and has not allowed an earned run since June 17, a streak of 26 innings. His season has been highlighted by a pair of six-strikeout performances, including the first Tom Sox complete game shutout since 2016 in a five-inning, run-rule win over Winchester on July 23. He has also worked to a dominant 6:1 strikeout to walk ratio, walking zero or one batters in all but two appearances and never walking more than two.

Said Head Coach Lyndon Coleman: “Mark Perkins has been extremely dependable, he’s been extremely reliable, and he is one of the kids that has wanted to be here the entire summer and has wanted to pitch. He has proven that when he goes back to Rice, he is going to be one of their best arms.”

Perkins is the third Tom Sox pitcher in eight seasons to be named Pitcher of the Year, joining the late Hayden McCutcheon (2015, College of Charleston) and Jared Wetherbee (2018, Elon). McCutcheon and Wetherbee were both named Pitcher of the Year for the league as a whole.

 

Eggert joined Perkins as the Tom Sox’s second representative on the All-South team. Eggert returned to Charlottesville for his second season in a Tom Sox uniform after departing early in 2022 due to injury and has joined Perkins as one of the best arms to wear a Tom Sox uniform. His 1.20 ERA ranks fifth in the Tom Sox single-season record books (min. 25 IP) and his .126 opponent batting average is second. He spent much of the season as a reliever, not allowing a run in 12 innings, before transitioning to a starter late in the year. His season was punctuated by an 8-inning start on Sunday against Front Royal, striking out seven batters (tied for a career high) en route to the longest outing by a Tom Sox pitcher since 2016.

 

Martinez was named a South Honorable Mention and South All-Defense after an outstanding season at the plate and at second base. At the plate, Martinez leads the squad with 34 runs, 40 hits, and 23 RBI, while ranking second in batting average (.303) and on-base percentage (.416). He has reached base in 33 of the 37 games he has played in this season, including an active 17-game streak which leads the team. He has a hit in 16 of his last 18 contests.

On the diamond, Martinez has committed only four errors in 110 total chances. His .952 fielding percentage ranked third among the league’s second basemen (min. 90 chances). Martinez shares the all-defense honor at second base with Harrisonburg’s Cameron Harris.

 

Little made an impressive mark on the league during the time he spent in Charlottesville, with a 1.20 ERA in 15 innings with 28 strikeouts (16.8 K per 9 IP) en route to an honorable mention selection. He walked only two batters and allowed only five hits during his time for an .098 opponent batting average. His season was highlighted in his final appearance, where he struck out a Tom Sox-record 11 batters over four scoreless innings in a win over New Market. He did not allow a run in four of his five appearances and struck out at least four batters in every one of those outings.

 

Edwards made a mark on and off the diamond in his second season in Charlottesville, earning an honorable mention selection. Edwards hit .273 during the regular season while slugging at a .409 clip, both of which ranked among the best in the Valley League. He ranks first in team history in starts (81), at bats (295), runs (58), walks (49), and stolen bases (36), while ranking second in games (83). His season was punctuated by a record 6 RBI performance on June 17 at Front Royal, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a home run, and three stolen bases. Off the diamond, Edwards has served as a de facto team captain and a vocal leader on the field and in the dugout.

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