Take Me Out to the Tom Sox

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By David Wagner

Valley League baseball has made its debut at Charlottesville High School as the Charlottesville Tom Sox inaugural season has launched. The Valley League is a summer league for college baseball players, consisting of 12 teams in Virginia and West Virginia. The league features many Division I baseball players from the eastern half of the country and plays from early June to early August. The League is split into two divisions (North and South) with four teams from each division qualifying for the post-season. Learn more about the league at Valley Leaguebaseball.com.

The Tom Sox play all of their home games at Charlottesville High School. Start time for all games (except Saturday, July 4th) is 7 p.m. The regular season started June 4 and runs through July 25 with each team in the playing 42 games (21 home, 21 away). The Tom Sox are in the South Division with New Market, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro and Covington. The North Division includes teams in Strasburg, Aldie, Front Royal, Winchester, Woodstock and Charles Town. Each team plays everyone in their division six times (three home, three away) and two games each against the teams from the other division.

Former U.Va. and Colorado Rockies first baseman Joe Koshansky is the General Manager for the Tom Sox (a non-profit organization) and has done a superb job getting things rolling. Along with Jeff Burton (also a former Cavalier), and the cooperation of VBL Commissioner Don Lemish, the organization has put a good team on the field.

Admission to all home games is done by the carload to encourage attendance. One car, one person, $5. One car and two or more people is $10. Walk-ins are admitted for $2. You can park on the street (Melbourne) next to the stadium and get in the gate for two bucks.

There are ample bleacher seats and plenty more vantage points to take in the game. Don’t want to sit in the stands? Bring a folding chair and relax in the grass down the third base line or set up camp on top of the hill in the outfield for an elevated seat. The outfield hill is perfect for families with small children and pets. The PR department also provides entertainment throughout the game with mascot races, kids’ activities and just plain old ballpark fun. You can bring in a picnic meal or enjoy ballpark fare from the concession stand or go a little more upscale with the food truck.

Ball players from Florida to Texas and Indiana to New York compete in the Valley League. Last Sunday night Ryan Larson from the University of Florida made his debut for the Tom Sox and by the end of the week outfielder Christian Lowry and pitcher Jack Roberts will be joining the team fresh off of their College World Series experience and National Championship run for the Cavaliers in Omaha. The league is littered with Division I players from BCS conference schools. Kevin Conway of Wake Forest was leading the team with a .444 batting average. Seth Lancaster from Coastal Carolina was leading the team in hits at the start of the week with 19 and Kyle Davis from the West Virginia University topped the team with 10 RBI. Reliever Daniel Johnson from Charleston Southern is leading the team with a 0.71 ERA in 12 2/3 innings. And starting pitcher Drew Scott from Yale has a 2-0 record with a 1.98 ERA, 11 strikeouts and allowing only 11 hits in 13 2/3 innings.

After a tough 0-4 start, the Tom Sox have played at a .650 winning percentage since then and they hover now around .500.

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