Tom Sox Face River Bandits in Valley League Championship Series

The Charlottesville Tom Sox (30-16, 4-0 Playoffs), the 1-seed from the South Division, will face the Woodstock River Bandits (31-15, 4-0 Playoffs), the 1-seed from the North Division, in the best-of-3 Valley Baseball League Championship Series.

SHARE

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Charlottesville Tom Sox (30-16, 4-0 Playoffs), the 1-seed from the South Division, will face the Woodstock River Bandits (31-15, 4-0 Playoffs), the 1-seed from the North Division, in the best-of-3 Valley Baseball League Championship Series. Games 1 and 3 will be played in Woodstock beginning Tuesday (August 2), while game 2 will take place on Wednesday (August 3) in Charlottesville. All three will begin at 7 P.M. Games 1 and 3 will be broadcast live on the River Bandits Facebook Page, while game 2 will air on the Tom Sox Facebook Page and Tom Sox TV. 

 

Coverage: Viewers can head to the River Bandits Facebook Page to watch games 1 and 3 and the Tom Sox Facebook Page and Tom Sox TV to watch game 2. A link to the live stats is available on Pointstreak. The Tom Sox Twitter account (@CvilleTomSoxVBL) will provide live updates.

 

Ticket Information: Admission to games 1 and 3 in Woodstock is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $1 for students 18 and under. Admission to game 2 in Charlottesville is $5 for one person or $10 for a carload.

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Game 1:

Charlottesville: RHP Drew Bryan, Chicago (2-0, 2.91 ERA, 21.2 IP, 12 BB, 28 K)

Woodstock: TBD

 

Game 2:

Charlottesville: TBD

Woodstock: TBD

 

LEADING OFF

  • The Tom Sox will play for their third Jim Lineweaver Cup in five seasons, facing the Woodstock River Bandits in the best-of-3 Valley League Championship series.

  • The Tom Sox won the VBL Championship in both 2017 & 2019 and lost in the Championship round in 2018 to New Market.

  • Charlottesville and Woodstock both have not lost a game in the playoffs, going 4-0 thus far. Woodstock won game two last night over Purcellville via forfeit (in the eighth inning, due to storms) after scoring seven runs over the final three innings.

  • The Tom Sox have won 30 games for the third consecutive season, the only team in the VBL to do so. They’re the only team in the VBL to win 30+ games in 4 of the last 5 seasons.

  • Six Tom Sox players were named All-Valley League performers on Monday – John ArmstrongCarter CunninghamChristian MartinSatchell NormanCole Wagner, and Trey Yesavage.

  • Woodstock will have home field advantage in the series thanks to a better regular season record.

 

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 four of their five appearances.

  • They have won the 2017 & 2019 VBL championships.

  • Charlottesville is 19-8 all-time in the playoffs. They are 4-3 all-time in the championship round.

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

 

SERIES vs WOODSTOCK

  • The Tom Sox and River Bandits will face off at Central High School for the first time this season after Woodstock defeated Charlottesville in both meetings at Charlottesville High School.

  • Charlottesville and Woodstock will face off in the playoffs for the first time.

  • The Bandits swept the season series against the ‘Sox for the first time since 2015.

  • Woodstock won both games against Charlottesville by shutout, the only opponent in ‘Sox history to allow no runs in the season series.

  • They won the first matchup on July 16 in an all-out pitcher’s duel, 1-0. Max Galvin had the lone RBI for the Bandits, a third inning sacrifice fly.

  • The second inning was not as close, as Woodstock jumped out to a 2-0 lead through two and continued pouring it on from there, winning 7-0. Emmett Bice allowed all seven runs for the ‘Sox.

 

STRAIGHT MASH, HOMIE

  • The Tom Sox have become quite the powerful team lately, hitting 14 home runs in their last 11 games.

  • The ‘Sox have hit 30 home runs in 46 games, the most in team history.

  • Six of those long balls have come off the bat of Kalvin Alexander, the team leader. His six homers are tied for the team record.

  • All of Alexander’s home runs have come in the last 11 games.

  • Cole Wagner has added two over the last 11, 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 July 24 against Waynesboro, launching a ball over the right field wall in the fifth inning.

 

COLE’S WORLD

  • Cole Wagner has been on a tear this season.

  • Wagner finished the regular season leading the league with 34 RBI, 12 doubles, and a .580 slugging percentage.

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

  • He has reached base in all 36 games he has played in, surpassing Michael Wielansky for the team record.

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

  • He would be fifth in team history in batting average (.368), fourth in slugging percentage (.588), fourth in on-base percentage (.467), second in doubles (16), fifth in home runs (4), tied for third in RBI (37), and third in total bases (80).

  • He leads the team with 19 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI games, including the team’s only 5-RBI game in the regular season finale.

 

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 .408 with 34 runs, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers, 22 RBI, and 17 walks.

  • He has multiple hits in nine of his last 13 games, a stretch where he’s hitting .423 with nine RBI, four doubles, two triples,and 17 runs.

  • He has served as the leadoff hitter in 22 of the 27 games he’s played this season.

 

CARTER CAN’T STOP

  • Carter Cunningham did nothing but mash the ball when the calendar turned to July.

  • Cunningham had a .438 batting average in the month while contributing 28 runs, 11 doubles, three home runs, 26 RBI, and a 1.158 OPS – all of which rank second on the team to Martin.

  • He has struck out only 11 times in 102 at bats this season, including only two over his last seven games.

  • In his last three games of the regular season, he had 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 – has been one of the ‘Sox’s top starters since his arrival in late June. In five starts (23.0 IP), Yesavage has a 1.57 ERA and 27 strikeouts. On the season, he leads the team with 32 K’s.

  • 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 six relief appearances (out of eight total), Lunsford-Shenkman has a 1.35 ERA in 13.1 innings with 19 strikeouts.

 

HISTORICALLY GREAT DEBUTS

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

 

SCOUTING THE RIVER BANDITS

  • Woodstock has advanced to their first VBL Championship in team history after sweeping both the first round and semifinals.

  • The Bandits clinched the #1 overall seed after finishing the regular season with a 27-15 record, one game better than the Tom Sox.

  • They dispatched Front Royal in the first round via sweep, then swept the Cannons in the semifinal series. The second game of that series was forfeited in the eighth inning after storms hit Purcellville – the Bandits scored seven runs over the final three innings to take the lead.

  • Woodstock is managed by VBL Hall of Famer Mike Bocock, who is seeking his eighth VBL Championship in his 27th season.

  • Jose Hernandez led the Bandits in batting average during the regular season at .316.

  • Tomas Sanchez led the VBL with 10 home runs.

  • The pitching staff is the star of the show for Woodstock, the only staff in the VBL with a sub-4 ERA (3.17) across the regular season & playoffs. Kelan Hoover was named the North Pitcher of the Year with a 1.33 ERA in 33.2 IP and 42 K.

Related Stories

Tom Sox Face Turks for 2023 Valley Baseball League Championship

The 1-seed Charlottesville Tom Sox (32-18) will face the 2-seed Harrisonburg Turks (32-16) in a best-of-three series for the Valley Baseball League Championship beginning Thursday. Games one and three (if necessary) will be played at CHO Airport Field at 7 p.m., while game two will take place at Harrisonburg’s Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Tom Sox Set to Face Express in Playoff Semifinals

The 1-seed Charlottesville Tom Sox will face the 4-seed Strasburg Express in a best-of-3 semifinal series. The winner of this series will face either 2-seed Harrisonburg or 3-seed Winchester in the VBL Finals. Games one and three (if necessary) will be played at CHO Airport Field, while game two will take place at First Bank Park in Strasburg. First pitch for all games is set for 7 p.m.

Tom Sox to Face Cardinals in First Round of 2023 Playoffs

The Charlottesville Tom Sox (28-16) will face the Front Royal Cardinals (21-23) in the first round of the Valley Baseball League Playoffs. Games one and three (if necessary) will be played Thursday and Saturday at CHO Airport Field, while game two will be played Friday at Bing Crosby Stadium. First pitch for all three games is set for 7 p.m.