Tom Sox 2-Hit by Turks in Game One of VBL Championship

The Charlottesville Tom Sox offense fell flat in game one of the 2023 Valley Baseball League Championship, mustering up only two hits as they fell to the Harrisonburg Turks 7-2 on Thursday.
Team Linescore
123456789R H E
Winner #2 HT Harrisonburg 0021002207 13 1
#1 CHL Charlottesville 0200000002 2 0
W:
Robert Kelley (4-1)
L:
Garrett Spikes (1-2)

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Charlottesville Tom Sox (32-19) offense fell flat in game one of the 2023 Valley Baseball League Championship, mustering up only two hits as they fell to the Harrisonburg Turks (33-16) 7-2 on Thursday (August 3).

 

Harrisonburg’s Robert Kelley worked a gem on the mound, throwing his maximum 119 pitches through 7.2 innings as he allowed only two runs, two hits, and struck out nine Tom Sox batters. The Tom Sox placed only seven on base against Kelley, and the lone two runs came in the form of a Sergio Rivera single in the second. The only Charlottesville hitters to reach base multiple times were Jacob Ference, who was issued a pair of free passes and reached on an error, and regular pitcher Luke Calveric; who worked a pair of late-inning walks.

 

Down to only 14 on the roster, outfielder Garrett Spikes got the start for Charlottesville and had a valiant effort on the mound. Like Kelley, he also worked to his maximum 119 pitches through 7.2 innings. He allowed six earned runs, walked two, and struck out two, and allowed 12 hits: a new team record.

 

The game worked late into the night, starting two hours late at 9 p.m. due to consistent rain throughout the day. Misty conditions also proved trouble, as wet baseballs slipped out of fielders’ gloves and the soggy infield trapped ground balls that could have slipped into the outfield.

 

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Starter Garrett Spikes (Georgia) ran into trouble early for the Tom Sox, issuing a hit-by-pitch and single to lead off the game. He got backup from his defense, though, as shortstop Kyle Edwards (Old Dominion) turned a 6-3 double play to eliminate the threat.

  • The Tom Sox struck first in the second inning. A leadoff hit-by-pitch to catcher Jacob Ference (Virginia) and a single by Brady Gumpf (Notre Dame) put a pair on with none away. Pitcher-turned-first baseman Luke Calveric (William & Mary) advanced them with a sacrifice bunt to the mound before Sergio Rivera (Florida Southwestern) did damage, scoring both runners with a single to straightaway center.

  • Harrisonburg fought back immediately, tying the game up with two in the top of the third. Back-to-back singles put Spikes in immediate trouble, and both runners scored not on hits, but on back-to-back miscues. A wild pitch from Spikes scored the first runner before the second came across the pitch after that on a passed ball by Ference.

  • The Turks would add one more in the fourth, as Cameron Harris knocked a ball deep down the left field line which scored catcher Joe Stella.

  • Harrisonburg would add four more with two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. Leadoff baserunners once again haunted Spikes in the seventh, as a leadoff double and following walk both came around to score on a sacrifice fly and double, respectively. In the eighth, the leadoff runner once again reached on a single and a double by Harris – his second of the game – put a pair in scoring position for Miles Hartsfield, who drove both in on a single which passed the right fielder Nathan Fink (Florida Southwestern).

  • Charlottesville threatened with two baserunners each in the seventh and ninth innings. A walk and hit-by-pitch put a pair on with one away in the seventh, but Kelley was able to induce back-to-back flyouts to get out of the inning. Ference led off the ninth reaching on an errant throw by the second baseman Harris which advanced him to second, but a lineout double play by Salvy Alvarez (Florida Southwestern) ended the game and stranded both him and Calveric.

  • The game was not without a bit of drama. Edwards was ejected by the umpiring crew at the end of the eighth inning after arguing a safe call on a Henry Ford (Virginia) groundout. Per NCAA rules, he will be suspended for the game two contest on Friday.

 

UP NEXT:

  • The Tom Sox will face elimination for the third-straight series, traveling to Harrisonburg on Friday (August 4) with their season on the line. First pitch for the do-or-die game two is set for 7:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • Spikes’ 119 pitches are a new team record, surpassing the 114 thrown by David Utagawa just two days prior.

  • The Tom Sox faced Robert Kelley on the mound for the third time in five games. In those three games, they have mustered just seven runs, 14 hits, six walks, and struck out 19 times. Against all other Harrisonburg pitchers (25.1 IP), they have 20 hits, 17 runs, 12 walks, and 25 strikeouts.

  • Kelley has thrown 42% of Harrisonburg’s innings against the ‘Sox on the season.

  • The ‘Sox lost when scoring first for the seventh time this season, and the fifth time when scoring in the first inning.

  • Charlottesville’s two hits are their fewest in a nine-inning game since they mustered only two against the Turks in a shutout on June 11, 2022.

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