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.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – 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 (August 3). Charlottesville has won three of the last five VBL Championships and is seeking to defend their 2022 title.

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.

 

Coverage: The Tom Sox Facebook Page and Tom Sox TV will broadcast games one and three. Game two will be broadcast on the Turks Facebook page. A link to the live stats is available on Pointstreak. The Tom Sox Twitter account (@CvilleTomSox) will provide live updates.

 

Ticket Information – Games 1 & 3: Admission to Tom Sox games is $5 for one person or $10 for a full carload. Parking is included.

 

Ticket Information – Game 2: Admission to Turks games is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors (65+) and college students with valid ID, and free for kids with a paying adult.

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Game 1 – Thursday, Aug. 3, 7 p.m. at CHO Airport Field

Harrisonburg: TBA

Charlottesville: RHP Garrett Spikes – Georgia (4 APP, 1-1, 13.2 IP, 7.24 ERA, 7 BB, 13 K)

 

Games 2 & 3:

Harrisonburg: TBA

Charlottesville: TBA

 

LEADING OFF:

  • The Tom Sox and Turks will face off in a best-of-3 series for the Jim Lineweaver Cup, the Valley League’s Championship trophy.

  • The Tom Sox are making their second-straight championship appearance, and fifth in the last six seasons. Harrisonburg is making their first since they won the 2012 title.

  • The ‘Sox won their semifinal series 2-1 over the 4-seed Strasburg Express, winning the final two games after losing game one at home.

  • Charlottesville shared the regular season championship with Harrisonburg and won the 1-seed by virtue of a better head-to-head record over 3-seed Winchester.

  • The Tom Sox and Turks are the top two hitting teams in the 2023 postseason, separated by just two points.

  • The 2023 ‘Sox are one home run shy of the single-season record, set by last season’s team. They have set single-season records for walks (292), hit-by-pitches (58), and stolen bases (140).

  • Charlottesville will set a new team record on Thursday with their 51st game of the season.

 

POSTSEASON FACTS:

  • The Tom Sox are the reigning Valley League champions after sweeping last season’s postseason.

  • Charlottesville has won three of the last five Valley League championships.

  • The ‘Sox have advanced to the finals in five of their six playoff appearances all-time, including this season.

  • Charlottesville is 25-10 all-time in the playoffs. They are 6-3 in the championship round.

  • Since 2013, teams to win game one of their playoff series win the series 78% of the time (53-for-68). Charlottesville has not won game one in either of their series, while Harrisonburg has gone 4-0 thus far.

 

AWARD WINNERS:

  • Mark Perkins earned the South Pitcher of the Year award after a record-setting season for the ‘Sox, working to a 0.58 regular season ERA while striking out 40. He is Charlottesville’s 3rd pitcher of the year in 8 seasons.

  • Mike Eggert joined Perkins on the All-VBL South team. Eggert sported a 0.86 ERA in 21 regular season innings, striking out 19 batters and allowing only 7 hits.

  • Brice Martinez was named All-VBL Honorable Mention and All-Defense after hitting .319 while committing only 4 errors at second base.

  • Kyle Edwards (.273 BA, 30 R, 20 RBI, 24 SB) and Jordan Little (1.20 ERA, 28 K) were also named honorable mention selections.

 

REGULAR SEASON RECAP:

  • The Tom Sox finished the regular season 28-16 and won the Valley League Regular Season Championship for the second time in three seasons.

  • Charlottesville won five of their last eight games (not including a win in a suspended game over Purcellville) to close the regular season. They finished the regular season playing on seven consecutive days and have had only two off days since July 14.

  • The Tom Sox played 26 of their 44 games in July, including four doubleheaders.

  • Charlottesville’s 28 regular season wins are their third-most all-time. 

  • The Tom Sox won their 300th all-time game on June 18 at Culpeper.

  • The ‘Sox won eight straight games from June 29 to July 8, the second-longest win streak in team history.

  • Charlottesville lost consecutive games only four times, while stringing together at least three wins on five occasions. 

  • The ‘Sox had 13 games either postponed or canceled on the season, including a record five day stretch from June 19-23 in which a game was postponed every day.

 

HENRY’S HOT:

  • Since the July 24 doubleheader against the River Bandits, Henry Ford is hitting .552 (16-for-29) with 13 runs scored, ten RBI, four doubles, and six home runs.

  • He became the Tom Sox’s new single-season home run leader with his seventh of the season last night, surpassing Cris Perez, Kalvin Alexander, and Dom D’Alessandro (6).

  • His ten total bases on August 1 at Strasburg tie the second-most in team history with teammate Aidan Teel. He hit a double and two solo home runs, including one to kickstart the ‘Sox’s three home run ninth.

  • If the season ended today, Ford’s .343 batting average would rank ninth in team history (single season) and his .638 slugging percentage would rank second, behind only Michael Wielansky (.652).

  • Ford is Charlottesville’s leading hitter during the postseason, with a .533 average, eight hits, three doubles, and three home runs.

 

AGAINST HARRISONBURG:

  • The Tom Sox and Turks split their season series 2-2.

  • Despite sharing a division for the Tom Sox’s first seven seasons, the ‘Sox and Turks will meet in the postseason for the first time.

  • Charlottesville and Harrisonburg will meet in Charlottesville for the first time since June 15, where the ‘Sox took home a 7-1 win. The two teams have met once in the last 49 days.

  • The Tom Sox have won 16 of the last 17 games against the Turks at CHO Airport Field. Harrisonburg snapped a 16-game losing streak in the series opener this season.

  • The Turks defeated the Tom Sox 2-1 in their last meeting on July 10, scoring two runs in the eighth inning after the Tom Sox scored one in the first.

 

MR. TOM SOX:

  • Garrett Spikes cemented himself as the ultimate “Mr. Tom Sox” (a figurative award given to the active player who has played the most games) on July 24, surpassing Jack Morris (2016 & 18) for the most games played in Tom Sox history.

      SEASONS GAMES
    1. Garrett Spikes 2021-23 90
    2. Kyle Edwards 2022-23 86
    3. Jack Morris 2016,18 81
    4. Brian Fortier 2015-16 66
    5. Logan Amiss 2021-22 56
  • Spikes is only the second player to play three seasons with the Tom Sox, joining Charlottesville local Jake Allen (2015-17).

  • On July 26, Spikes hit two doubles to surpass Michael Wielansky for the career doubles record and three RBI to pass Dom D’Alessandro on the all-time RBI list.

      SEASONS RBI
    1. Garrett Spikes 2021-23 55
    2. Dom D’Alessandro 2018 48
    3. Michael Wielansky 2017 40
    4. Cole Wagner 2022 37
        Vinnie Pasquantino 2017 37
  • He is only seven runs away from setting the runs scored record, although it is held by current teammate Kyle Edwards (60). He is also 31 at-bats back of Edwards’ current record, and ten starts behind Edwards for the all-time starts lead.

  • He sits tied with two others for third all-time in home runs, currently held by Kalvin Alexander (9).

 

POWER HITTERS:

  • After hitting 12 home runs over their first 31 games, the Tom Sox have hit 18 over their last 17 games.

  • Henry Ford has experienced a late power surge, hitting six home runs in his last nine games. That includes a two-homer game on Tuesday at Strasburg.

  • Aidan Teel has homered four times, including two on Saturday at Front Royal.

  • Jacob Ference homered on the first pitch he saw last Friday at New Market and hit his second home run two days later, at Winchester. He hit a back-to-back solo shot on Tuesday in the ninth inning.

  • Kyle Edwards has hit two during the span, including a game-tying two-run shot in the ninth on Tuesday.

  • Alexander, David Wiley, Chris Arroyo, and Brady Gumpf all have one home run over the last 11 games.

  • The 2023 ‘Sox must hit two more home runs during the playoffs to tie the all-time record (32), set by last season’s team.

 

THE SPEEDY ‘SOX:

  • The 2023 Tom Sox have stolen 140 bases, the most in team history. 

  • The 2023 team has stolen six or more bases six times this season. They had done so six times total over their previous seven seasons (322 games).

  • Kyle Edwards owns the all-time stolen base record with 36 across two seasons (36-for-40). Sergio Rivera is second with 29, while Brice Martinez has the #3 spot with 24.

 

STRONG-ARM STAFF:

  • The Tom Sox are second in the Valley League with a 4.41 ERA and lead the league in strikeouts per nine. They are second in walks per nine and strikeout to walk ratio, both to Harrisonburg.

  • Mark Perkins leads the team with a 1.12 ERA in 40.1 innings, which is the fourth-lowest in Tom Sox history.

  • Mike Eggert is second with a 1.20 ERA in 30 innings, with 27 strikeouts. He is followed by Ryan Lynch who also spots a sub-3 ERA, at 2.01. 

 

2022 PLAYOFF RECAP:

  • The Tom Sox won their third Valley League Championship in 2022 by clean sweeping the field, going 6-0 with wins over Covington, Waynesboro, and Woodstock.

  • The 2022 playoffs were anything but usual. The Tom Sox’s first round game against Covington was postponed twice due to weather and was eventually scheduled as a doubleheader at Harrisonburg’s Veterans Memorial Park, which uses turf. The ‘Sox swept the doubleheader with 13-2 and 6-2 wins.

  • Charlottesville then had to play both of the division championship games in Waynesboro due to field conditions at Charlottesville High School. They won the first game (played as a home game) 5-4 and then dominated game two 13-4.

  • The final matchup was against Woodstock, who the Tom Sox managed with ease; winning the championship with 7-1 and 6-2 wins.

  • Charlottesville’s leader in the postseason was Christian Martin, who went 10-for-24 with eight RBI, five walks, and a 1.142 OPS. Cole Wagner, who set the team’s all-time on-base streak record at 39, went 9-for-25 with four doubles and a .934 OPS, and Carter Cunningham went 7-for-24 with four doubles, a home run, nine RBI, and five walks.

  • All but one of Charlottesville’s regular starters (Kyle Edwards) hit over .275.

  • On the mound, only one pitcher who threw four or more innings finished with an ERA over 2. Four pitchers threw four or more innings without allowing a run.

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