CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Charlottesville Tom Sox (3-2) took on the Staunton Braves (1-3) for the first of four meetings Tuesday, bringing home a 7-3 win to secure their first home victory of the season. The Tom Sox entered the game coming off a huge win from Sunday night, and maintained their offensive momentum by continuing to make great contact with the ball and running the bases fiercely, as well as executing plays in the field.
Staunton started out with great offense against Tom Sox starting pitcher Aaron Blum (Kentucky). Starting with a groundout, the Braves struck with a triple from Joey Parliment and scored on a line drive to left field. This was closely followed by a strikeout and groundout to close the half inning.
The ‘Sox stepped up to the plate and started off strong with center fielder Justin Thomas (Georgia) who singled, which he closely followed by stealing second and then reaching third on a wild pitch. Third baseman Henry Ford (Virginia), Charlottesville’s batting average leader, lined to center to bring Thomas home. Designated hitter Dane Camphausen (Wooster) advanced Ford to second on a groundout, then right fielder Hollis Porter (Mississippi State) brought Ford across the plate with a beautiful hit to right field.
Blum found success on the mound in the second, striking out two Braves at the plate. The half inning was closed quickly by the ‘Sox with a groundout to first.
The bottom half of the second was exciting to say the least. First, catcher Kalvin Alexander (Georgia SW State) made his way on base and soon after, stole second. Then, left fielder Sergio Rivera (Florida SW) walked his way to first. Back to the top of the lineup, Thomas sacrifice bunted, which allowed Alexander and Rivera to advance the bases. Ford yet again made good contact with the ball, allowing both runners to score before getting himself stuck in a pickle between first and second base.
Staunton added a single run in the fourth and fifth innings off of Blum and reliever Brett Allen (VCU), with a pair of singles in both frames leading to runs and giving Charlottesville a smaller advantage entering the sixth. The ‘Sox offense was largely held quiet through the three frames, aside from a pair of walks in the fifth that Staunton was able to strand.
Ryan Lynch (Notre Dame) made his Charlottesville debut in the sixth, tossing one strikeout followed by a walk. Shortstop Kyle Edwards (Old Dominion) caught an infield flyout before Lynch then struck out another batter to end the half inning scoreless.
The ‘Sox picked up great offensive momentum in the bottom of the sixth and demonstrated skill in the box and around the bases. Tate singled and stole second, then advanced to third on a groundout. Rivera then reached via walk before Tate scored on a sacrifice fly by Thomas. Rivera stole both second and third effortlessly, his sixth and seventh of the season to take the team lead. Rivera, now standing on third, watched as Edwards walked up to the plate and hit the ball deep into right field for a triple. Edwards was not done yet, though – due to an error by Staunton right fielder Nate Earley, he was able to make it home for an all-out Little League home run.
Both the seventh and eighth acted as battles of defensive play. Neither team had hits, runs or errors, which kept the score sitting at 7-3 in Tom Sox favor going into the 9th inning.
The Tom Sox ended the game quickly in the top of the ninth, with reliever Dave Wilson (Lamar) quickly making it through four batters to close out the game and give the ‘Sox their first home win of the year. The ‘Sox will look to win their third in a row Wednesday, facing their 2022 championship opponent Woodstock at 7 P.M. on the road.
From Kyle Edwards
“The home atmosphere was great. We always have a great fanbase and they always give us the best support. We were struggling at home the first two games, but today we were vibing with each other, the chemistry was up and we got the win.”
“I think we just keep following the path we’re on. We’re stealing a lot of bases and putting pressure on the defense, we’re having good ABs, we’re walking a good amount too – cutting down on the strikeouts – and having great team success. If we keep riding that I think we’re in for a great season.”
The Tom Sox are over .500 for the first time this season.
Ford reached base in all four plate appearances, recording a pair of singles, a walk, an ROE, and three RBI.
Charlottesville won their third straight game against Staunton.
After not laying down a sacrifice bunt until July 18 of last season, Charlottesville already has two in their first five games this season.
The ‘Sox stole at least six bases for the third time in five games.