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.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 1-seed Charlottesville Tom Sox (30-17) will face the 4-seed Strasburg Express (29-18) 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.

 

Coverage: Viewers can head to the Tom Sox Facebook Page or Tom Sox TV to watch games one and three. Game two will be available on the Express Facebook Page and YouTube Channel. The Tom Sox Twitter account (@CvilleTomSox) will provide live updates for all three games.

 

Ticket Information – Games 1 & 3: Admission to all Tom Sox games is $5 for one person and $10 for a carload. Parking is included in the ticket price.

 

Ticket Information – Game 2: Admission to Express games is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors (65+) and kids (12 and under), and free for Little Leaguers wearing a jersey.

 

PROBABLE STARTERS 

Game 1 – Monday, July 31, 7 p.m. at CHO Airport Field

Strasburg: RHP Gavin Lill – Pitt (1 GS, 1-1, 6.2 IP, 8.10 ERA, 7 BB, 8 K)

Charlottesville: RHP Zach Mack – San Jacinto (2 GS, 1-0, 7.2 IP, 4.70 ERA, 5 BB, 11 K)

 

Games 2 & 3

Strasburg: TBA

Charlottesville: TBA

 

LEADING OFF:

  • The Tom Sox and Express will add another chapter to their storied postseason history, meeting in a best-of-3 semifinal series to determine a finals berth.

  • The Tom Sox and Express have combined to win seven of the last eight Valley League Championships.

  • The Tom Sox defeated the Cardinals 2-1 in their first round series to advance. They won the last two games after getting blown out in game one.

  • The ‘Sox are hitting .307 in their three playoff games. After allowing a team-record 17 runs in game one, they allowed only three between games two and three.

  • Charlottesville finished the regular season second in the league in ERA, first in strikeouts per nine, and second in walks per nine.

  • Charlottesville’s 188 wins since 2017 are the most in the Valley League.

 

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 four of their previous five playoff appearances.

  • Charlottesville is 23-9 all-time in the playoffs. They are 5-1 all-time in the semifinals, the lone loss to Staunton in game one of the 2019 semifinals.

  • Since 2013, teams to win game one of their playoff series win the series 79% of the time (52-for-66). Neither Charlottesville nor Strasburg won game one of their series, while both Harrisonburg and Winchester swept their respective series on the other side of the bracket.

 

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.

 

PLAYER NOTES:

  • Connor Hincks and Brice Martinez are both riding 16-game on-base streaks, Charlottesville’s longest this season.

  • Henry Ford is hiting .500 over his last six games with 10 hits, eight runs, seven RBI, two doubles, and three home runs.

  • Over his last eight games, Chris Arroyo is hitting .433 with 13 hits, seven runs, eight RBI, two doubles, and a home run.

  • Salvy Alvarez is riding a 5-game hit streak, the longest on the team. He is 7-for-14 during the streak with four runs, three RBI, and four walks.

  • Brice Martinez is hitting .317 in home games this season, 91 points higher than the next-best qualified player (Hincks, .226).

  • Mark Perkins’ 0.51 ERA in 35 innings is currently the lowest in Tom Sox history. It would lead the VBL if he qualified for the league leaderboard. His 44 strikeouts are the seventh-most in a single season.

 

AGAINST STRASBURG:

  • The Tom Sox have a 5-game edge in the all-time series, much of it thanks to a 7-game win streak in the series from July 2019-July 2022. 

  • The Express are the only team with a winning series record on the season against Charlottesville, going 3-1.

  • Charlottesville defeated Strasburg to win each of their first two Valley League titles, in 2017 & 2019. 

  • At least one of the teams has appeared in every Valley League Championship since 2015, a streak that is guaranteed to be extended this season.

  • The Express and Tom Sox have both won three Valley League titles since 2015; the Express in 2015, 2016, and 2021 and the Tom Sox in 2017, 2019, and 2022.

 

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 87
    2. Kyle Edwards 2022-23 83
    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 Wednesday, 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 52
    2. Dom D’Alessandro 2018 48
    3. Michael Wielansky 2017 40
    4. Cole Wagner 2022 37
        Vinnie Pasquantino 2017 37
  • He is only six runs away from setting the runs scored record, although it is held by current teammate Kyle Edwards (56). He is also 29 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 second 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 13 over their last 14 games.

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

  • Henry Ford leads the team over that span with his three homers, all of which came last week.

  • 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.

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

  • The 2023 ‘Sox must hit six 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 132 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 26, while Brice Martinez has the #3 spot with 22.

 

STRONG-ARM STAFF:

  • The Tom Sox are second in the Valley League with a 4.31 ERA and lead the league in strikeouts per nine and strikeout to walk ratio. They are second, just by a hair, in walks per nine.

  • Mark Perkins leads the team with a 0.51 ERA in 35 innings, which would be the lowest in Tom Sox history if the season ended today.

  • 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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