Tom Sox Season Ends With 9-5 Loss to Turks in VBL Championship

After 64 days, the marathon 2023 season came to an end as the Charlottesville Tom Sox (32-20) fell to the Harrisonburg Turks (34-16) in game two of the Valley Baseball League championship series.
Team Linescore
123456789R H E
#1 CHL Charlottesville 0011030005 11 3
Winner #2 HT Harrisonburg 11011113X9 14 3
Casey Smith (3-0)
Davian Garcia (1-2)


HARRISONBURG, Va. – After 64 days, the marathon 2023 season came to an end as the Charlottesville Tom Sox (32-20) fell to the Harrisonburg Turks (34-16) in game two of the Valley Baseball League championship series. The Turks clinched their 13th Valley League Championship and first since 2012, while the Tom Sox finished runner-up for the second time in their eight-season history.


Harrisonburg strong-armed the ‘Sox for the second straight day, as JMU hurler Casey Smith tossed eight complete innings. He allowed ten hits, but only five runs while his offense was able to provide enough support. The Turks offense scored a run in all but the third inning, firing back whenever the Tom Sox seemed to have momentum in the contest. Ultimately, it was a two-run home run by VBL South MVP Micah Morgan in the eighth which sealed the deal for the Turks.


Garrett Spikes, who threw 119 pitches the day prior, was the highlight of the day for Charlottesville’s offense. He collected all four RBI on the day for the ‘Sox, including his first home run of the year – a three-run shot over the right field wall in the sixth inning. Four other ‘Sox had multi-hit days, including Luke Calveric, who reached three times on the night.


Down to just 14 players due to the suspension of Kyle Edwards and departures of other mainstays in the order, the Tom Sox had to get creative with their defense – placing normal outfielder Garrett Spikes at shortstop, catcher Salvy Alvarez at second base, and reliever Luke Calveric at first. Despite the bind, Charlottesville was still able to put five runs and 11 hits on the scoreboard and keep up with the Turks for much of the game.




      • Harrisonburg struck first in the contest in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Jose Perez led off the inning with a single, and he crossed the plate just one batter later courtesy of a single by Miles Hartsfield and a throwing error by Nathan Fink (Florida Southwestern); whose throw sailed over the head of third baseman Henry Ford (Virginia).

      • The Tom Sox threatened for the first time in the second inning as Jacob Ference (Virginia) hit a one-out double to deep left field. However, Casey Smith would induce a flyout and groundout to get out unscathed.

      • The Turks added their second run of the game in the second with a pair of singles, something which became a common trend in their eight offensive innings. 11 of their 14 hits were singles, and four of their nine runs came across courtesy of station-to-station action.

      • The ‘Sox would score their first run in the third. Sergio Rivera (Florida Southwestern) hit his first of two singles on the night in the second, and he was able to steal two bases during Aidan Teel’s at bat to put him in prime position with one out. Garrett Spikes (Georgia) scored him one batter later with a sacrifice fly to left field, making it a one-run game.

      • After recording a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third, Charlottesville was able to tie the game up in the fourth. Three singles in four batters allowed Brady Gumpf (Notre Dame) to reach and later cross the plate on a Rivera single, making it 2-2. The Turks immediately took it back in the bottom half, however, as a double by Tyler Borges scored one to give them a one-run lead once again.

      • The Turks had another cross the plate in the fifth, but Charlottesville was largely able to limit the damage. Cameron Harris led off the inning with a single, and Micah Morgan scored him three batters later with a two-out knock. The next batter, Chris Katz, reached on a booted ball by Ford, putting runners on second and third with two outs.

      • The error marked the end of the day for ‘Sox starter Braden Halladay (High Point), who worked 4.2 innings, throwing 80 pitches and allowing seven hits, four runs, striking out three, and walking none. Davian Garcia (FGCU) was first out of the ‘pen for Charlottesville and kept the game intact, striking out Sean Barnett to strand two in scoring position in the fifth.

      • The biggest knock of the day for the Tom Sox came in the sixth off the bat of Garrett Spikes (Georgia). With two on and two out in the inning, Spikes launched a ball to deep right field for his first home run of the summer and seventh in a Tom Sox uniform. The three-run shot gave the Tom Sox a 5-4 lead, their first of the game.

      • Harrisonburg immediately answered with one run in both the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings. A strike three wild pitch put Borges on base for the third time on the night, and he was soon scored by a Joe Stella single. In the seventh, four-straight singles allowed Chris Katz to cross the plate with the bases still loaded. Garcia was able to get out of the inning only allowing one run, though, avoiding a multi-run inning once again.

      • The Turks put the final touches on their championship run in the eighth, courtesy of VBL South MVP Micah Morgan. After a highlight-reel diving play by Ference to put one away, Morgan launched a two-run home run to a similar spot as Spikes, scoring Perez to give the Turks a three-run advantage. They would pad it on a sacrifice fly by Borges off new ‘Sox reliever Caleb Ketchie (Longwood), who entered the game after a hit-by-pitch in the eighth.

      • Charlottesville had their final chance in the ninth but let it slide, as a leadoff single by Fink did no good. Jason Cheifetz was able to get the final three outs and clinch the championship for the Turks, their first in 11 years.


    On what he’s most proud of: “What I’m most proud of is the guys that were here practically the whole summer. To watch them grow as people and baseball players and make adjustments throughout the season [and] put us in a situation to be able to have the opportunity to bring a championship back to Charlottesville was huge, especially playing seven games in four days and going right into the playoffs. We didn’t have an off day in 15 or 16 days and the guys just gave us everything they had.”

    “Charlottesville’s been great to me and my family, and it was exactly as it was advertised. I was on the other end of this in 2016 & 2017 in Winchester, so to be on the other side and be part of this great organization – obviously we fell short, but being in the championship five of the last six years and another regular season championship is another year of continuing to show that we are one of the best summer collegiate organizations in the entire country.”



    “Since I’ve been a kid, I always clutch up in the playoffs. I don’t know what I did different but I feel confident in myself and what I’m doing.”



    “I told the guys going into the sixth inning that we needed three more runs in this game and that Davian was gonna shut them down the rest of the game. I didn’t expect to hit a bomb but that’s what I did. Unfortunately, Davian shoved but they did a good job putting the ball in play and finding holes.”




        • The Tom Sox end the season with 32 wins, tied for the second-most in team history.

        • The ‘Sox finished their season without a scheduled off day for the final 31 days of the summer.

        • Charlottesville has won all three of their championships at home, while both of their runner-up finishes have ended on the road.

        • Sergio Rivera (14) and Aidan Teel (12) both ended their seasons with double-digit on-base streaks.

        • Henry Ford finished the championship series going 0-for-9 after going 6-for-9 with three home runs in the semifinals.

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