By: Jackson Hephner

Waynesboro upset defending champion Tom Sox 3-2

The Charlottesville Tom Sox returned to the diamond Thursday night for the first time since winning the 2022 VBL Championship. However in game one of their title defense, the Tom Sox fell at home to the Waynesboro Generals 3-2.

All five runs were scored in the first two and a half innings. Charlottesville got on the board in the first after Generals pitcher Benito Valle-Vhada hit designated hitter Shane Strossel then threw three straight balls, giving Strossel a run.

Waynesboro bounced back in the second. The Generals loaded the bases with two outs before  a hit-by-pitch from Charlottesville pitcher Logan Forsythe sent right fielder Jeremy Wagner home. With the bases still loaded, first baseman Alexander McCoy hit a two-RBI single to give the Generals a 3-1 lead and end Forsythe’s night.

Strossel scored one more run in the third but it would be the last of the game. Waynesboro had more opportunities to expand its lead but failed to capitalize. Charlottesville’s defense left two runners on base twice and escaped another bases loaded situation in the eighth, but its offense was outhit by Waynesboro 8-3, allowing the Generals to secure the narrow victory.

Next, Charlottesville will travel to Covington to face the Lumberjacks on Friday at 7 p.m. Waynesboro will host its home opener against the Staunton Braves, same time and day.

Lumberjacks run-rule Braves, 14-4

The Covington Lumberjacks started its season with a decisive win, defeating the Staunton Braves 14-4 in just eight innings.

After neither team put up a hit in the first two innings, Covington pitcher Michael Pavelchak hit a single to kickstart the Lumberjacks’ offense. Pavelchak was sent home with a two-RBI triple from left fielder Logan Braunshweig at the next at-bat. Braunschweig then scored off of a wild pitch, and with the bases loaded three at-bats later, David Bell hit a grand slam to give the Lumberjacks a 7-0 lead.

Covington added four more runs across the last five innings, with ten of the Lumberjacks’ 13 batters earning a run. Down but not out, Staunton managed to score four runs of their own to extend the game in eight innings. Left fielder Cooper Clapp led the way with two of the Braves’ four hits and an RBI. But after Staunton scored two runs in the eighth to extend its lead to 14-4, Covington pitcher Jorge A. Garcia III threw three strikeouts in the eighth to trigger the mercy rule.

Next, Covington will host its home opener against the Charlottesville Tom Sox on Friday at 7 p.m. The Braves will travel to Waynesboro to face the Generals, same time and day.