Finals Game Three: Charlottesville 2, Strasburg 1

Many were expecting an easy Tom Sox coronation this evening, as the Strasburg Express were down to three available pitchers, but the announced crowd of 2,154 fans (incredible!) were treated to a nip-and-tuck game that could have gone either way.

Tied 1-1 since the 4th inning, and even though both teams had baserunners on almost every inning, it wasn’t until 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th, when Michael DeRenzi’s chopper up the middle eluded the grasp of shortstop Sean Scales, scoring league MVP Michael Wielansky, that the Tom Sox grabbed the lead for good.

Tom Sox’s Rick Spiers, who came in the game with the bases loaded in the 7th with Brandon Quaranta due up, pitched out of the initial jam (with a nifty play on a comebacker), and then pitched out of more trouble in the 9th, finally getting Jeffrey Butler to ground back to the mound to end it and send the Tom Sox faithful home happy.

The Express initially grabbed the lead with a run in the 3rd inning when Turner Buis reached on an error, went to third on another error, this time on a Quaranta batted ball, and scored on a Jake Perry single.

The Tom Sox answered back in the 4th, when Kyle Battle hit a one-out double, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on an error. That score stood, with tons of drama, until the 8th.

Spiers is the winning pitcher, while Quaranta, the last remaining pitcher for the Express, was saddled with the loss. The Tom Sox mustered just 6 hits, but walked 9 times. The Express were led by Tyler Halas’s and Turner Buis’s 2 hits apiece.

In their third year of existence, the Tom Sox won their first ever Jim Lineweaver trophy in a season that saw the team lead the rest of the league almost from day one. The team finished 32-10 in the regular season, and then went 6-1 in the playoffs. The team changed the title of their Facebook page very quickly after the game from “Charlottesville Tom Sox” to “2017 Valley Baseball League Champion Charlottesville Tom Sox.” Indeed they are.

Manager of the year Corey Hunt said after the game, “I’m just proud of my guys. From the first day they got here to the last out, they’ve worked hard, and come together as a group. It means a lot to them, coming here, away from home, playing 40-some odd games with some guys that you may not know… for me, selfishly, it’s been a great ride.”



Waynesboro Wins 2014 Valley League Title!

Credit: Norman Carter from the News Virginian

Credit: Norman Carter from the News Virginian

The Waynesboro Generals have won the 2014 Jim Lineweaver Cup for the second season in a row!

Down big early (5-0 after 2 innings, and 6-2 midway through the 4th inning), the Generals came roaring back to tie the game with 4 runs in the 4th innings. The game remained tied at 6 until the bottom of the 9th inning, when Mike Marcinko singled with 2 outs to score Dan Neff with the winning run- and the celebration began.

Jeff Schank did yeoman’s work for the Generals on the mound, throwing 6 innings of excellent relief. Griffin Krieg got the win after pitching the last 1/3 of the 9th inning in relief of Will Lowman. Jacob Anthony threw 4 excellent innings for the Cannons, but received the loss after giving up the unearned run in the 9th inning.

Stephen Kerr had an amazing 5 hits for Charles Town, while Justin Esquerra added 2. Four Generals had 2 hits in the contest: Mike Marcinko, Tyler Orris, Michael McClellan, and Travis Naraine.

This is the first back-to-back achievement since the Winchester Royals won the title in 2003 and 2004.

The News Virginian was present: click here to read Doug Layman’s account of the final game!

Charles Town Turns Tables, Whacks Waynesboro

In a negative image of game one, the Charles Town Cannons hammered the Waynesboro Generals in game two, sending the series to a final game tonight in Waynesboro.

In the 3rd inning, Andrew Yacyk drove in a run with a fielder’s choice, which turned out to be enough for Steven Ridings, who shut down the Generals for 7 shutout innings, only allowing 3 hits and one walk while striking out 6. The Cannons didn’t stop with one, though, as Justin Esquerra followed Yacyk with a 3-run home run. The rout was on. The Cannons ended up winning with a final score of 8-0.

Stephen Kerr and Charlie Pal each had 3 hits, and Esquerra had five RBIs. Jacob Anthony finished off the final two innings without allowing a hit.

The series moves to a concluding game tonight- the two teams play for all the marbles!

Waynesboro Whacks Charles Town in Game One

The Waynesboro Generals scored three times in the first inning last night in game one of the Jim Lineweaver Championship Series, and that turned out to be enough, although they went on to score 8 more times in a blowout.

Thanks to a very strong outing by starting pitcher Griffin Krieg, the Generals are one win away from a second championship in a row. Krieg allowed 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, and struck out 9 in his 7 innings of work. Benjamin Peters mopped up the last two innings.

The Generals benefited from 10 walks in the contest, along with Mike Marcinko’s 3 RBIs. Michael McClellan and Travis Naraine added two hits each for the victors.

Tonight, Zach Williamsen will try to close things out for the Generals on the mound, while the Cannons send Steven Ridings to try to stave off elimination. The game will be held in Charles Town at 7 PM!

Charles Town On to Finals; Covington Stays Alive

One series ended last night, while one is now tied one game to one. The Cannons are through, while the Lumberjacks and Generals will play an elimination game three tonight in Waynesboro!

  • Charles Town 8, Strasburg 2: The Cannons broke open a close game (3-2) with 5 runs in the 8th to book their first ever trip to the finals (admittedly, though, this is only their second year in existence). The Cannons’ lineup came through with 4 home runs in the contest, hit by Stephen Kerr, Justin Esquerra, Andrew Yacyk, and Charlie Pal. Kerr had 3 hits, scored a run, and drove in 2, and Pal scored twice and also drove in 2 in the winning effort. The Cannons received a complete game from starter Stephen Solomon, who allowed only 4 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, and struck out 5. All the Express scoring came on a first inning Joe Camp home run. The Express ended their regular season at 21-22, and then went 2-3 in the playoffs in what was a very unsettled year, thanks to the storm that rendered their home field unplayable for a stretch of time.
  • Covington 9, Waynesboro 0: The Lumberjacks received a complete game shutout from starter Charles Cooper, as the Jacks forced a game 3 with the Generals. Covington got 3 hits from Brent James (including a double and triple), and 2 each from Shane Castro and Demetrius Moorer. Matt O’Neil also hit his first home run of the playoffs. (It’s hard to get a game story from just a boxscore- Covington’s submissions have only been a boxscore all year, while other teams include an inning-by-inning summary…) Anyway, game three is in Waynesboro tonight! Weather permitting, the finals will start on Monday evening at either Waynesboro or Charles Town!


Semifinals, Day One

Even with rain threatening the Valley, both games were played last night! The higher seeds held court, both Charles Town and Waynesboro winning at home. Game two in both series will be tonight- in Strasburg and Covington.

  • Charles Town 6, Strasburg 5: The Cannons overcame 3 errors and 2 Express home runs to win game 1. Stephen Kerr and Justin Esquerra did most of the damage with the bat. Kerr went 3-5 and scored 3 runs, while Esquerra went 2-3, with 2 walks, a run, and 2 RBIs. Zachary Zyburt got the win for Charles Town after throwing 3 shutout innings in relief, while Jack Charleston threw the 9th to earn a save. Strasburg got home runs from Sky Overton and Joe Camp in the losing cause.
  • Waynesboro 6, Covington 4: The highest remaining seed, #2 Waynesboro, used a 5-run 5th inning to grab the early advantage in the semi-finals series with 8th seeded Covington. Michael McClellan had a double and 3 RBIs, Cole Gruber scored 2 runs, and Travis Naraine had 2 hits for the Generals. Micah Gorman earned the win with a solid start, and Phillip Taylor saved the game with a clean 1 1/3 innings. Demetrius Moorer went 3-3, Blake Edwards had 2 hits, and Grant McKown knocked in 2 runs for the Jacks, while Chris Walkerow was saddled with the loss.

Again, game 2 in each series will be played tonight- in Covington and Strasburg!

The Lower Seeds Rise Up: Elimination Day, Quarterfinals

Three elimination games last night, three lower seeds win on the road!

  • Strasburg 3, Front Royal 2: In the top of the 10th inning, Strasburg’s Brandon Harvell hit his first home run of the summer off excellent closer Kevin Becker-Menditto, sending the Express to the semifinals against Charles Town. The Cardinals’ Hunter Newman drove in both runs for Front Royal with a home run and RBI single, and Mike Elwood threw 6 1/3 shutout innings, but it wasn’t enough for the Cards. The Express got an excellent start from Thomas Durkin, and three innings of shutout relief from Sean Stephenson, who earned the win. Sky Overton, who is batting .357 in the playoffs, rapped 3 hits for teh Express in the winning cause.
  • Charles Town 6, Staunton 5: Charlie Pal hit a huge 3-run home run in the 5th inning, and the Cannons held on, thanks to 2 2/3 shutout relief innings from Austin Ray, who earned the save. Chris Townsend and Pal both scored two runs, and Jared Jordan got the win in relief. The Braves got 3 more hits from Gunnar McNeill, but 4th seeded Staunton was eliminated.
  • Covington 3, Harrisonburg 1: In the biggest upset of the evening, the 8th seeded Lumberjacks ended the Turks’ season with a 3-1 win in game three. Grant McKown hit a double and scored 2 runs, and Hayden Platt had 3 hits for the winners. The big story for the Jacks, though, was their pitching, as they got 7 2/3 innings from Philip Stokes, who allowed only 1 unearned run, and then 1 1/3 cleans innings from Cody Strayer, who earned the save. (Really, though, the top seed losing in the playoffs seems to be a long-standing Valley League tradition. The last time the team with the best regular season record won the championship was in 2008, when Luray went 30-14 and then won the championship series. In the last 14 years, the top seed has won only 4 times (2008 Luray, 2007 Waynesboro, and Winchester in 2003 and 2001.) The Jacks will travel to Waynesboro for game 1 of the semifinals tonight!