Charlottesville sweeps through Valley League playoffs
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Charlottesville’s regular season form wasn’t compromised when the Valley Baseball League playoffs opened at the end of July.
After ripping through its 42-game schedule with a 32-10 record, the Tom Sox grabbed the league championship by sweeping two games from first-round opponent Staunton, then eliminating second-round victim Waynesboro, and finally stopping championship-round opponent Strasburg by winning two straight times after losing the opener to the North Division winning Express.
In the playoff’s first round, South Division fourth-place finisher Winchester drubbed North Division regular season winner Purcellville by scores of 9-4 and 9-3; Strasburg pushed New Market out of the playoffs with two wins over the Rebels; Waynesboro disposed of Harrisonburg and Charlottesville won two straight over Staunton’s Braves.
The semifinals saw Strasburg stop Winchester, winning twice while not losing to the Royals, and Charlottesville take the measure of Waynesboro in two straight wins over the Generals.
Strasburg defeated Charlottesville in the first game of the final round, but then the Tom Sox won game 2, making it necessary to play a third time for the league championship.
With a crowd of 2,154 looking on in Charlottesville, the teams continually threatened to score, but usually could not get the necessary hit or sacrifice fly to get a run home.
In the bottom of the eighth with the score tied at 1-1, the Tom Sox finally got a crucial RBI hit to go in front, 2-1. When Strasburg couldn’t score in the ninth, leaving the bases loaded, the Tom Sox had the 2017 championship.
Strasburg had been the league champion in both 2015 and 2016.
Charlottesville completed its season with an overall 38-11 record in only its second year in the league.
Purcellville, in its second season in Virginia at Fireman’s Field since leaving Charles Town, had finished ahead of Strasburg, Winchester, New Market, Front Royal and Woodstock in the regular season standings.
The Valley Baseball League now has 11 teams with six in the North Division and five in the South Division.