WEEK IN REVIEW: GENERALS REMAIN IN MIDDLE OF VBL STANDINGS
WAYNESBORO, Va. – Week two of the 2023 Valley League season for the Waynesboro Generals followed a similar path to their opening week, as the team picked up another pair of victories to stay right in the thick of the VBL standings.
GAME FIVE (6/6): COVINGTON – 4, WAYNESBORO – 2
Steve Proko gave the Generalss a good outing in his summer debut, keeping Lumberjack hitters off balance through five innings of two-run ball. But Covington’s Jacob Havern was equally sharp, limiting Waynesboro batters to only three hits across five frames. Wesley Parker’s two-out solo home run in the top of the sixth proved to be the difference, giving the ‘Jacks a lead they would not relinquish.
Key Pitching Performance: Steve Proko – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K (ND)
Key Hitting Performance: Alex McCoy – 2/4, R, K, SB
Waynesboro Record (Streak): 2-3 (L1)
GAME SIX (6/7): PURCELLVILLE – 12, WAYNESBORO – 9 (F/10)
The visiting Cannons entered the night tied with the Woodstock River Bandits for first place in the VBL, building a 4-1 record behind a dynamic offensive attack paced by Joseph Eichelberger. Purcellville lived up to the hype early, plating the first four runs of the game and carrying that 4-0 lead through three innings.
Waynesboro began its comeback in the bottom of the fourth, cutting the deficit in half on Julian Uejima’s two-run homer to left. After scoring on a SAC Fly in the fifth, Jason Brown drove in Uejima on a single in the sixth to move the Gens in front 5-4.
Brown then added what appeared to be an insurance run with a solo shot in the eighth, staking the Generals to a 6-4 advantage. But a costly error on a possible game-ending grounder extended the top of the ninth, allowing Purcellville to tie things up just one pitch later.
Waynesboro did a good job containing Eichelberger – who came into the game leading the league in HR and RBI – through regulation, limiting him to a lone walk in five plate appearances. But the Paul D. Camp product busted the contest open in the tenth by swatting a three-run blast to left that ultimately decided the game.
Key Pitching Performance: Jackson Kent – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 6 K (ND)
Key Hitting Performance(s): Julian Uejima – 3/5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, K, SB; Jason Brown – 2/4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K, HBP, 2 SB
Waynesboro Record (Streak): 2-4 (L2)
**GAME SEVEN (6/9): WAYNESBORO – 7, FRONT ROYAL – 2
The Generals’ offense and pitching were both on point in this one. Five different players in the Waynesboro lineup reached base at least three times, including three who tallied three hits. Benito Valle-Jhanda notched both the first quality start of the year for a Gens’ starting pitcher and his first win by tossing six strong frames.
Key Pitching Performance: Benito Valle-Jhanda – 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 6 K (W)
Key Hitting Performance(s): Alex McCoy – 3/5, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 2 K, SB
Waynesboro Record (Streak) 3-4 (W1)
GAME EIGHT (6/10): WAYNESBORO – 13, CULPEPER – 12
Talk about a shootout!
It was clear from the very first pitch that this game would be a high-scoring affair. The Generals put up three runs and sent all nine hitters to the plate in the opening half-inning but did not take the lead into inning No. 2 after the Cavaliers pushed across four runs in the bottom of the first.
Parker Stroh’s towering three-run home run highlighted a five-run fifth that moved the Gens ahead 12-5 at the time, and his RBI single in the eighth provided the winning margin as a late Culpeper rally ended with the potential tying run on second base.
Key Pitching Performance*: Conor Hensley – 5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 10 K (W)
Key Hitting Performance*: Parker Stroh – 2/4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, K
Waynesboro Record (Streak): 4-4 (W2)
GAME NINE (6/11): STRASBURG – 10, WAYNESBORO – 0 (F/8)
An early pitcher’s duel saw the Generals (3) and Express (1) combine for four hits through three innings. The tide turned in the fourth, when Strasburg had some softly struck balls find holes to spark the heart of its order. The Gens, meanwhile, grounded into four double plays, the last of which erased a bases-loaded, one-out scoring opportunity in the sixth.
Key Pitching Performance: Tommy Putnam – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K (ND)
Key Hitting Performance: Angel Murray – 2/2, HBP
Waynesboro Record (Streak): 4-5 (L1)
*Statistics from the Culpeper game are currently being corrected. The numbers above are what Pointstreak shows at the time of publishing, prior to corrections taking place.
**The Valley League postponed all games on Thursday, June 8 – including the scheduled Waynesboro @ New Market matchup – due to poor air quality in the region. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on July 14.
LEAVING RUNS ON THE TABLE?
Waynesboro sits at or near the top of the VBL in multiple offensive categories, such as on-base percentage* (.416; 1st), batting average* (.293; 2nd), hits* (90; 2nd) and runs (60; 3rd). Despite this, the consensus around the clubhouse is that the team could be more consistent with runners in scoring position.
They may be right. The Generals have driven in only 35* of their 60 runs, putting them in a tie for tenth in the VBL in RBI. The squad they’re tied with (Harrisonburg) slots in at last place in both runs scored (39) and OBP (.352).
In total, Waynesboro left 90 runners on base through its first nine games, 51 of whom were stranded in scoring position. If the bats begin to thump more frequently with men on base, the Generals could quickly rise in many more offensive categories and the VBL standings.
*Statistics are as stated on Pointstreak at the time of publishing, prior to the necessary corrections from the Culpeper game taking effect.
WHO NEEDS A HATFIELD?
The Gens’ team success in the batter’s box wouldn’t exist without contributions from up and down the lineup. But the mainstay to this point has been 1B Alex McCoy, who leads Waynesboro in hits (17), RBI (7) and stolen bases (9). McCoy has reached base twice in eight of nine games this summer, with at least one hit in all nine outings.
Converge Signs Plus Pitcher of the Week: Benito Valle-Jhanda – 1 APP. (1 S), 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 6 K; 1-0, 1.50 ERA
Sabre Cats Bats Hitter of the Week: Alex McCoy – 5 G (5 S), 10/21 (.476 AVG), 3 2B, 4 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, HBP, 3 SB (0 CS)
With a record of 4-5 through two weeks of play, Waynesboro is one of five teams tied for sixth in the VBL (Covington, Front Royal, New Market and Winchester are the other four). There is not much separation between teams two through twelve; Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Strasburg and Woodstock are tied for second (5-4), while Culpeper and Staunton are tied for eleventh (3-6).
Purcellville (8-1) is alone atop the standings after a 5-0 week.
WEEK THREE SCHEDULE
6/13: vs. Harrisonburg Turks
6/14: vs. Charlottesville TomSox
6/15: vs. Woodstock River Bandits
6/16: @ Staunton Braves
6/17: vs. Purcellville Cannons
6/18: vs. Covington Lumberjacks
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