The Charlottesville Tom Sox kept battling and came away from Tuesday’s seesaw battle with a 11-8 win in game one of the Valley League finals.
There was mostly order in this game through three innings, thanks to starters Mason Kenney (Strasburg) and Maddison Furman (Charlottesville). The score after nine outs each was Charlottesville 1, Strasburg 0, after a Brock Edge home run blast to left field in the third.
The Sox added a run in the 4th to make it 2-0, but the Express took the lead in the bottom half, thanks to a solo home run by Sonny Dicharia, followed by a two-run blast by Austin Garofalo (after Tyler Johnson had been hit by a pitch- one of four times he was on base).
The Express looked to be gaining more momentum in the 5th, putting up four runs to push the lead to 7-2. Furman walked Dicharia and Johnson, and Garofalo, against reliever Kyle Kingberry, doubled in Dicharia. The big blow in the inning was next, by the only catcher on the Express roster- Holden Fiedler, from Division-III Lynchburg. Holden took a Kingsberry offering deep over the left field wall, much to the delight of the home crowd, including his father (high fives all around!).
The Tom Sox were not to be denied, however, and stormed back with four runs of their own the very next inning. After Kenney retired the first two hitters, Daniel Harwood reached on an error, and the floodgates opened. Parker Nolan reached on a fielder’s choice, Alex Fedje-Johnson walked, and Ramon Garza reached on another error, scoring Harwood and Nolan. Then Edge singled in Fedje-Johnson, and Cal Greenfield drove in Garza with another single, making it 7-6. Devin Dunn relieved Kenney, and got the last out, but four runs had scored- all unearned. 4D Sports guru Joe Deck turned to me and said, “It’s a new ballgame.” Indeed.
The Express scored one more run in the bottom of the seventh, when Johnson walked, moved to third on a Zach Scott single (Scott played amazing defense at third in this game, by the way- making at least two excellent stops for outs), and came home on a Garofalo sacrifice fly to left field.
Charlottesville took the lead for good in the eighth against three Express pitchers. Fedje-Johnson walked to lead off the inning against Dunn, who was then relieved by Nathan Boyle. Garza greeted Boyle with a single, and then when Edge next attempted to bunt both runners over, Fedje-Johnson beat the threw to third, loading the bases with no outs.
Greenfield drove in Fedje-Johnson with a sacrifice fly, and after Paul Giacomazzi was hit by a pitch, Thomas Francisco hit a hard ground ball off reliever Evan Rathburn that was mishandled, allowing both Garza and Edge to score and putting the Tom Sox up, 9-8.
Harwood then made sure the Tom Sox would go home winners by ripping a double, scoring both Francisco and Trey McDyre.
Kingsberry eased through both the eighth and ninth innings, receiving the win, while Boyle got the loss.
Harwood and Garza both had three hits for the Tom Sox, while McDyre, Fedje-Johnson, Edge, and Garza all scored two runs apiece. The Express were led by Garofalo, who scored twice and drove in four runs, and Fiedler, who drove in three with his home run in the fifth inning.
The teams meet in Charlottesville tonight, when the Tom Sox will attempt to win the franchise’s second title in three years, and the Express try to extend the series to a third game. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Remember, if you can’t attend the game, you can watch live on Facebook Live, thanks to our sponsors, Sheetz and Subway!