Gens Sweep Three Game Set With Second Place Charlottesville
Waynesboro opened up a lead in the South division over the second place Tom Sox with three wins in five days. Two wins on the road and another at home has the Gens leading the South division by four games.
The first game of the three game set was the annual Independence Day clash between the Gens and the Tom Sox.
Waynesboro got off to a hot start with two runs in their first frame in front of a crowd announced at over 2,000 people. Connor Norby (East Carolina) worked his way on to start the inning. He got moved to third two batters later on a single by Kobe Lopez (Florida International). After stolen bases by both Norby and Lopez on separate pitches, Norby came in to score on a balk by Charlottesville’s starting pitcher. Kobe Lopez scored on the single by Jack Murphy (St. Mary’s) to give the Gens an early 2-0 lead.
Charlottesville wouldn’t allow the home fans to worry long. They put up six unanswered runs over the next three innings, including a four run first. A walk by Kirby McMullen got things started in the first inning. Thomas Francisco continued his hot hitting with a triple to left center field to drive in McMullen. Trey McDyre ripped a single to drive in Francisco. Finally, Christian Hlinka provided the big blow in the inning with a two-run homer deep to right field.
The Tom Sox added a run in the second on a two-out RBI single by Thomas Francisco to make the score 5-2. In the third it was Christian Hlinka picking up another base hit, this time just a leadoff single. Dan Harwood came up with a double two batters later to drive in Hlinka for what turned out to be the last run the Tom Sox would be able to muster. The score after three complete was 6-2 in favor of the Tom Sox.
The Generals, however, have had the uncanny ability to pull themselves back into ball games this year, and Thursday night was no different. They added runs in the fifth, sixth, eighth, and ninth innings to get themselves back into the game. After Connor Norby homered Wednesday at home vs. Front Royal, he made it back-to-back nights with a homer with his solo blast in the top of the fifth to make the score 6-3. In the sixth, Jack Murphy (St. Mary’s) doubled to lead things off. Jackson Tate (Alabama) walked to put runners at first and second with nobody out. After a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, Jackson Greene (Florida State) laid down a safety squeeze to pick up another run. The score now read 6-4. In the eighth, the Gens pulled a bit closer. It was Jackson Tate working a one out walk, moving to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a groundout. Jackson Greene came up big again with a single to center field with two outs in the inning. However, the Generals would strand Greene and would head to the ninth still down by one.
In the ninth, the leadoff hitter Connor Norby singled through the left side. After a deep fly out and a slow roller to shortstop, the Gens would have Norby at second but with two outs. The Generals called on Brad Burckel (Houston) in a pinch hitting opportunity to get the runner in from second. Burckel was coming off the previous night where he picked up three hits, three RBI, and was named “Valley League Hitter of the Night” by AllThingsValleyLeague. Burckel continued his hot hitting in this key situation with a single up the middle that tied the game. After the game-tying single, Charlottesville’s pitcher became a bit rattled. He gave up a four pitch walk to Jack Murphy and hit Jackson Tate with a pitch. After a pitching change, Gunner Peterson (Illinois State) came up with the go-ahead run on another four pitch walk. The Gens took their one run lead into the bottom of the ninth with Christian Edwards (Jacksonville State) on to try and record the save.
With it being the fourth of July and the game getting started a bit late due to rain, the fireworks display that is set up for Charlottesville High School started while in between innings. So Christian Edwards would have to try to work through the ninth inning only up one run with +2,000 fans, a good part of the lineup for the Tom Sox, and fireworks going off so close to the field that Coach Cole was quoted as saying they could feel the concussion from the field. Edwards managed to do so beautifully. He got a ground out to third, a strikeout, and after a two-out walk, another strikeout to shut the door for his second save of the summer.
Key Performers for Charlottesville in Game One:
Thomas Francisco: 3-5, 2B, 3B, RBI, R
Christian Hlinka: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Dan Harwood: 2-4, 2B, RBI
Key Performers for Waynesboro in Game One:
Connor Norby (East Carolina): 2-4, HR (2), RBI, 3 R
McLain Harris (Young Harris College), Jan Figueroa (Florida International), and Deven Judy (Gannon U): Combined for 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K to hold the Tom Sox down.
Christian Edwards (Jacksonville State): SV (2), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Brad Burckel (Houston): 1-1, Game-tying RBI single
The Generals moved their record to 18-8 and would have a night off Friday before taking on the Tom Sox again Saturday night at home.
Charlottesville entered game two having made a huge comeback over South division foe Staunton in the ninth inning on Friday night. The Generals were well rested after having their first true day off in over two weeks. The Generals defended their home territory and made it known quickly that they were ready for the second game with Charlottesville.
In the bottom of the first, Connor Norby started things with a chopper over the pitcher’s head for an infield single. Wes Clarke (South Carolina) walked to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Kobe Lopez hit a grounder to third and the Tom Sox third baseman delivered a throw that was a bit high to the second baseman that ended up bounding out into right field to allow Norby to score from second base. The Gens were out to a 1-0 lead after one complete inning.
The Generals got right back on the board in the second inning. Joey Kinker (Florida Gulf Coast) singled to right field with one out. Two batters later, Wes Clarke drilled a double to the warning track in right center field. It brought Kinker all the way around to score. The Gens made it 2-0 after two innings.
The game fell into a bit of a lull. Tyler Shuck (Florida Gulf Coast) worked through five shutout innings while scattering nine base runners. He allowed five hits and four walks, but picked up some key double plays as well as three strikeouts to work through danger. He left the game with a 2-0 lead and Jan Figueroa (Florida International) came in for relief. Jan tossed two more shut out innings while the General offense provided some breathing room.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jack Murphy got a ball to drop in perfectly down the left field line and hustled his way into second for a double. Two batters later, his host brother Jackson Tate ripped a single into left to allow Murphy to score. In the seventh, the Generals provided the pitching staff with more breathing room after another shutout inning by Figueroa. Back-to-back singles from Norby and Clarke had runners at first and second. Kobe Lopez dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt to put both runners into scoring position. Jack Murphy took advantage with a single up the middle to score Norby and move Clarke to third. Eli Quiceno (Gannon U) followed things up with an RBI infield single to bring in another run and push the score to 5-0.
The Generals turned to Christian Dearman (Florida International) for the top of the eighth. As he’s done all year, he threw up yet another zero for the opposing team. He tossed a scoreless top half while allowing just one hit. As teams were switching from offense to defense and vice versa, the skies opened up with some of the hardest rain and wind that the area had seen in awhile. This soaked the field beyond its playing point and the Generals walked away with a 5-0 win in eight innings.
Key Performers for Charlottesville in Game Two:
Cayman Richardson: 2-4
Cal Greenfield: 1-2, BB
Kirby McMullen: 1-1, BB
Key Performers for Waynesboro in Game Two:
Connor Norby (East Carolina): 2-4, 2 R
Wes Clarke (South Carolina): 2-3, 2B, RBI, R
Jack Murphy (St. Mary’s): 2-4, 2B, RBI, R
Tyler Shuck (Florida Gulf Coast): W (2-0), 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K
Jan Figueroa (Florida International): 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Christian Dearman (Florida International): 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
The Generals moved their record to 19-8 the night before the Valley League All-Star Game. They knew they would have to face Charlottesville one more time this week on Monday. First pitch at C-Ville Weekly Ballpark was set for 7 pm for a makeup game from a previous rain-out.
The Generals had a three game lead going into Monday night with an opportunity to sweep the three game set with Charlottesville and take a four game lead over the Tom Sox.
The Tom Sox opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first with two quick runs. A single by Cayman Richardson and a double by Thomas Francisco had runners at second and third with just one out. Trey McDyre had an RBI groundout and Christian Hlinka sharply singled to right to bring in both runners. The Gens had once again fallen victim to those first inning runs.
But as they do so often, they responded quickly with a run in the top of the second. A fielder’s choice on Jackson Tate put him on first. Ethan Cady (East Tennessee State) singled through the right side to put runners at first and second. A walk to Joey Kinker loaded the bases for Brad Burckel. Burckel was able to bring in the run on a fielder’s choice to second base. The score was 2-1 after two innings of play.
The Generals tied the game up with another run in the third inning. Connor Norby singled to get things started. However after two outs, the Tom Sox looked like they had things under control. Gunner Peterson singled to center and brought Norby to third. A couple pitches into the next at-bat, the catcher mishandled a ball at the plate and with heads up base running, Norby was able to slide in safely at home. The score was tied at 2.
The Tom Sox bounced back to with a run in the bottom of the third to retake the lead. Cayman Richardson started things out with another single. Kirby McMullen followed up with a single to put runners at first and second. Thomas Francisco singled through the right side that brought Richardson around to score. The Tom Sox held their lead until the top of the fifth.
The fifth is when the Generals would bust out with five runs to take the lead. After three straight walks loaded the bases to begin the inning, Gunner Peterson ripped a single to right field. The ball scooted under the glove of McMullen and ran a good bit past him. This allowed all three runs to score as well as getting Peterson to third base. Jackson Tate doubled to right to bring in the fourth run of the inning. Tate wasn’t content with second base, so he decided to steal third with still nobody out in the inning. Ethan Cady came up with an RBI ground out to put the score at 7-3 in favor of the Generals.
This put Zach Kirby (East Tennessee State) in line for the win if he could work through the fifth inning. Kirby seized his opportunity with a three up-three down inning in the fifth. He allowed six hits and three earned runs over his five innings, but held the Tom Sox down for the most part. He also scattered six strikeouts over his five innings to pick up his first win of the summer.
The Gens blew the game open in the seventh inning with four more runs to suck the life out of the sparse already sparse crowd at C-Ville Weekly Ballpark. After a couple of walks and a single by Jackson Tate, the bases were loaded with nobody out in the inning. After a pitching change, Joey Kinker ripped a two RBI single to right field to drive in Peterson and Tate. Ethan Cady later came into score on a wild pitch and Kinker was brought home on a sacrifice fly to center by Kobe Lopez. This got the score to 11-3.
The Tom Sox would add a couple of runs in the bottom of the eighth, but the game was well in hand for the Gens. They took home the win with a final score of 11-5.
Key Performers for Charlottesville in Game Three:
Thomas Francisco: 2-3, 2B, RBI, R
Cayman Richardson: 2-4, 2 R
Christian Hlinka: 2-4, RBI
Key Performers for Waynesboro in Game Three:
Gunner Peterson (Illinois State): 3-4, 2 RBI, 2 R
Jackson Tate (Alabama): 3-5, 2B, RBI, 3 R
Ethan Cady (East Tennessee State): 2-4, 2B, RBI, R
Joey Kinker (Florida Gulf Coast): 2-3, RBI, R
Zach Kirby (East Tennessee State): W (1-2), 5 IP, 6 K, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Christian Edwards (Jacksonville State): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K
The Generals moved their record to 20-8 after the three game sweep of the Charlottesville Tom Sox over the last five days. Overall, the Gens have won 11 out of their last 12 games and five games in a row. They hold a four game lead over the rest of the division and will host the Winchester Royals on Tuesday night at Integrity Home Mortgage Park at Kate Collins Field. First pitch is set for 7 pm.