Tom Sox’s Comeback Effort Falls Short in Game One Loss

After an eighth-inning comeback on Sunday night against Front Royal, the Charlottesville Tom Sox couldn’t capture the same late-inning magic on Monday, falling 8-6 to the Strasburg Express in the first game of a best-of-three series.
Team Linescore
123456789R H E
Winner #4 SE Strasburg 1401101008 10 1
#1 CHL Charlottesville 0001004106 10 3
Gavin Lill (2-1)
Zach Mack (1-1)
Logan Griffith (1)


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – After an eighth-inning comeback on Sunday night against Front Royal, the Charlottesville Tom Sox (30-18) couldn’t capture the same late-inning magic on Monday, falling 8-6 to the Strasburg Express (30-18) in the first game of a best-of-three series. 

In a battle between two of the top teams in the VBL, Strasburg struck first as Mitchell Smith bounced into a fielder’s choice that scored Reece Woody. Starter Zach Mack’s (San Jacinto) early struggles continued in the second on a pick-off move to first that was spiked into the dirt, allowing Anthony LaSala to score from third. 


Mack was removed from the ballgame after his third walk in two innings and replaced by Braden Halladay (High Point). Mack finished the contest getting just four outs, allowing four runs and striking out two. However, the change didn’t help spark the ‘Sox as Halladay surrendered a three-run bomb to Woody, pushing the score to 5-0. 

After a scoreless third, the Express added to their lead in the fourth with an RBI double from Smith. 

The Tom Sox picked up their first hit in the fourth as Nathan Fink (Florida Southwestern) and Aidan Teel (Virginia) singled, and they later loaded the bases for Henry Ford (Virginia) with one out. During Ford’s at-bat, Max Kuhle balked home Fink to put the ‘Sox on the board. However, that was the only run Charlottesville pushed across as Kuhle struck out Ford and Sergio Rivera (Florida Southwestern) to strand the runners on second and third. 

To begin the top of the fifth, head coach Lyndon Coleman went back to his bullpen, bringing Caleb Ketchie (Longwood). Halladay tossed 2.2 innings, and he allowed two runs while striking out three. 

Ketchie struggled on the bump in the fifth, as he allowed an RBI single to Smith, but the left fielder Garrett Spikes (Georgia) cut down the second runner at the plate for the final out of the inning. The single marked the third RBI of the night for Smith. 


He tallied his fourth RBI of the contest in just two innings as he worked a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, prompting Coleman to remove Ketchie from the game. 

Lucas Cash (Wake Tech CC) was brought in to get out of a bases-loaded two-out jam, and he got Victor Castillo to pop up to Ford at third. 

The ‘Sox worked some two-out magic in the seventh as Rivera singled to center and moved up to second on a wild pitch. With Rivera in scoring position, Spikes laced a single into right field that scored Rivera. The rally continued as the next batter, Brice Martinez (Wofford), lined a single into center field that evaded Woody’s diving grasp and allowed Spikes to score. Another run came into score when the second baseman Cade Parker committed a throwing error, which allowed Martinez to come home and Chris Arroyo (Florida) to reach. 

The two-out rally rolled on as Fink singled and drove in Kyle Edwards (Old Dominion) to make it an 8-5 game. 


Ford led off the bottom of the eighth with a double, and he came around to score just one batter later as Rivera also drilled a double to right field – Rivera’s first extra-base hit of the season. However, Edwards flew into a double play to end the rally. 

After a scoreless ninth from Davian Garcia (FGCU), the ‘Sox went 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning as they failed to complete the comeback. 

The ‘Sox will have to win game two of the series Tuesday night in Strasburg to stay alive. The first pitch from First Bank Park is slated for 7 p.m. 


Additional Notes

  • The 11 walks allowed by Tom Sox pitching is tied for the most all-time.

  • 48% of Charlottesville’s runs (13 of 27) this postseason have come in the last three innings. Their opponents have scored 43% of their runs in the first three innings.

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