Tom Sox Face Lumberjacks in First Round of VBL Playoffs

The 1-seed Charlottesville Tom Sox (26-16) will face the 4-seed Covington Lumberjacks (19-23) in the first round of the Valley Baseball League Playoffs. All three games will be broadcast live on the Tom Sox Facebook page and Tom Sox TV. First pitch for all three games is set for 7 P.M.

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UPDATE: Due to weather complications, games 1 & 2 of the series have been moved to Veterans Memorial Park in Harrisonburg. They will be played as part of a doubleheader on Thursday beginning at 3 PM and admission will be free.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 1-seed Charlottesville Tom Sox (26-16) will face the 4-seed Covington Lumberjacks (19-23) in the first round of the Valley Baseball League Playoffs. All three games will be broadcast live on the Tom Sox Facebook page and Tom Sox TV. First pitch for all three games is set for 7 P.M.

 

Coverage: Viewers can head to the Tom Sox Facebook Page or Tom Sox TV to watch all three games. A link to the live stats is available on Pointstreak. The Tom Sox Twitter account (@CvilleTomSoxVBL) will provide live updates.

 

Ticket Information: Admission and parking to Tom Sox playoff games is $5 for one person and $10 for a carload (2+ people). Admission to game two in Covington is free.

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Wednesday

Covington: RHP Trevor Wall, Bossier Parish CC (3-0, 4.42 ERA, 20.1 IP, 12 BB, 12 K)

Charlottesville: RHP Trey Yesavage, East Carolina (1-1, 2.50 ERA, 18.0 IP, 9 BB, 25 K)

 

Thursday

Covington: RHP Landon Lucas, Charleston (1-0, 3.03 ERA, 32.2 IP, 21 BB, 27 K)

Charlottesville: TBD

 

LEADING OFF

  • The Tom Sox and Lumberjacks will face off in the first round of the Valley Baseball League playoffs.

  • The ‘Sox are making their fifth straight playoff appearance.

  • They are the #1 seed in the South for the third time in five seasons.

  • This first round matchup is the only one in the VBL to feature two first-year head coaches.

  • The Tom Sox defeated the Lumberjacks 2-1 in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, with both wins coming at home.

  • Charlottesville and Covington enter tonight’s game as two of the top three hitting teams in the VBL, sitting at second and third respectively.

 

POSTSEASON HISTORY

  • The Tom Sox are making their fifth-straight playoff appearance, and fifth all-time. 

  • The Tom Sox have advanced to the finals in three of their four previous appearances.

  • They have won the 2017 & 2019 VBL championships.

  • Charlottesville is 15-8 all-time in the playoffs. They are 6-4 all-time in the first round.

  • Last season was the first that the Tom Sox did not advance to the finals after making the playoffs.

 

AGAINST COVINGTON

  • The Tom Sox and Lumberjacks will meet for the 48th and 49th games all-time in this series.

  • The Lumberjacks won the season series over the Tom Sox 4-3, the only division team to win the season series.

  • The Tom Sox won the last two meetings of the season over Covington, both by shutout.

  • The ‘Sox won only one of the three home games against the ‘Jacks this season, a 16-0 victory on July 5.

  • Despite trailing in the season series, the Tom Sox have a better head-to-head batting average and ERA than the Lumberjacks.

  • Charlottesville is 3-2 against Covington in the postseason. Aside from the first round series win in 2019, the ‘Sox beat Covington in a 1-game South Division championship in 2018 (Covington was the 1-seed, Charlottesville the 2) and fell to the ‘Jacks in a playoff-deciding game in 2015.

 

TEAM TRENDS

  • The Tom Sox played ten games in seven days before yesterday’s off day. Over the span, they hit .307 and averaged 8.2 runs per game. They added 13 doubles, two triples, and 11 home runs, and walked only two fewer times than they struck out.

  • Eight of the ten games over the stretch were decided by three or more runs.

  • Charlottesville has two more road wins than home wins this season.

  • The ‘Sox have especially heated up in July, winning 16 of their 23 games (including 11 of 13 road contests). They have a +61 run differential in July and a +11 home run differential.

 

STRAIGHT MASH, HOMIE

  • The Tom Sox have become quite the powerful team lately, hitting 10 home runs in their last seven games.

  • Four of those long balls have come off the bat of Kalvin Alexander, who’s been their leading home run hitter over the span.

  • Cole Wagner has added two over the span, including a run rule walk-off shot in game one of the Harrisonburg doubleheader.

  • Garrett Spikes hit the Tom Sox’s first grand slam since June 2019 on Sunday night, launching a ball over the right field wall in the fifth inning.

  • The ‘Sox have hit 26 home runs in 42 games, tied for the second-most in team history. Only 2019 (29 in 50 games) has more.

 

COLE’S WORLD

  • Cole Wagner has been on a tear this season.

  • Wagner leads the league with 34 RBI, 12 doubles, and a .580 slugging percentage.

  • His .361 batting average and .473 OBP rank third.

  • He has reached base in all 32 games he has played this season, the second-longest streak in team history.

  • If the season ended today, he would rank in the top-10 all-time in numerous statistical categories.

  • He would be fourth in team history in batting average (.361), second in slugging percentage (.580), second in on-base percentage (.473), fourth in doubles (12), fifth in home runs (4), fifth in RBI (34), and seventh in total bases (69).

  • He leads the team with 16 multi-hit games and eight multi-RBI games, including the team’s only 5-RBI game in the regular season finale.

 

HISTORICALLY GREAT DEBUTS

  • The Tom Sox’s two newest players – Lucas Cash and Shane Stossel had outstanding debuts over the last three games.

  • Cash made his Tom Sox debut in relief on Saturday and became the first rising freshman to appear in a game for the ‘Sox.

  • In the pivotal contest against Covington, Cash earned the save after tossing four scoreless innings with two hits and three strikeouts. Only three of the 15 batters he faced reached base.

  • Stossel made his debut on Sunday night in a clinch scenario against Waynesboro and did not disappoint.

  • He tossed 5.2 scoreless innings in relief, walking six and striking out eight (tied for the most in a game this season). His 105 pitches were the most ever by a ‘Sox reliever.

 

CHICK GETS HITS

  • Christian Martin (nicknamed “Chick”) has exploded following his freshman season at Virginia Tech.

  • Martin has been the ‘Sox’s second-leading hitter since he arrived, batting .384 with 28 runs, 5 doubles, 3 homers, 17 RBI, and 15 walks.

  • He has multiple hits in six of his last nine games, a stretch where he’s hitting .400 with six RBI and 14 runs.

 

CARTER CAN’T STOP

  • Carter Cunningham has done nothing but mash the ball since the calendar turned to July.

  • Cunningham leads the team with a .456 batting average this month while contributing 23 runs, 7 doubles, 3 home runs, 20 RBI, and a 1.189 OPS – all of which rank second on the team.

  • He has struck out only nine times in 85 at bats this season.

  • In his last three games, he has back-to-back-to-back 3-hit games, while scoring six runs and knocking in four.

  • If he qualified for the league leaderboard (which he falls just short of), he would lead the VBL in batting average.

 

PIRATE POWER

  • Aside from Cunningham, two East Carolina arms have also made a mark on the ‘Sox in Trey Yesavage and Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman.

  • Yesavage – who will start Tuesday’s game – has been one of the ‘Sox’s top starters since his arrival in late June.

  • In four starts (16.0 IP), Yesavage has a 2.25 ERA and 20 strikeouts. On the season, he co-leads the team with 25 strikeouts.

  • His eight strikeouts against Strasburg are tied for the most by a ‘Sox pitcher this season.

  • Lunsford-Shenkman has arguably been the team’s best reliever since he joined. 

  • In seven appearances (6 in relief), Lunsford-Shenkman has a 1.50 ERA in 17.1 innings with 24 strikeouts. He has allowed only one earned run in four games this month.

 

HE’S ONLY GETTING YUNGER

  • Trey Yunger has played his baseball of the season over the last ten games.

  • He is batting .333 in the last ten (12-for-36) with five runs, 12 hits, and seven RBI.

  • He has also stolen seven bases over the span – the most on the team – and now sits second on the team with ten on the season.

  • He is currently riding a 13-game on base streak.

 

SCOUTING THE LUMBERJACKS

  • Covington enters this series as the fourth seed in the South division, making their first playoff appearance since 2019.

  • They fell to the Tom Sox in three games in the first round that season as the 3 seed.

  • The Lumberjacks rank second in the Valley League with a .261 batting average, only one point ahead of Charlottesville.

  • Their 5.25 team ERA ranks 10th in the league, ahead of only Front Royal.

  • Gavin Baird leads the ‘Jacks offensively with a .319 batting average, which ranks 8th in the VBL.

  • Richard Long is Covington’s only qualifying pitcher, with a 4.01 ERA in 33.2 innings. He was named the Valley League pitcher of the Week on Tuesday after 7 scoreless innings against Woodstock Wednesday.

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