Tom Sox belt six home runs, rout Express

STRASBURG – The Charlottesville Tom Sox may want to schedule another trip to First Bank Park in the future.

In their first and only trip to Strasburg this season on Wednesday night, the Tom Sox erupted for six home runs and 24 hits while mashing their way to a 19-6 rout of the Express in Valley League action.

“We catered our lineup a little bit to the park today,” Charlottesville manager Mike Goldberg said. “And also, we’ve been playing well lately. We’ve won four of the last six maybe now. We’re playing better. We’ve got guys who are coming around and you saw that tonight with – there’s just too many guys to mention offensively tonight – but we’ve got some guys who have been close and they got there tonight and some guys who were hot already just continue to be hot.”

Second baseman Billy Cooke (four RBIs) and catcher Chris Perez (three RBIs), who hit seventh and ninth in Charlottesville’s batting order, respectively, led the power surge with two home runs apiece in the win. Leadoff man Colton Konvicka and No. 8 hitter Brian Fortier also hit solo shots for the Tom Sox (7-10). Charlottesville, which scored at least one run in each of the first seven innings, hit back-to-back homers in both the fourth and fifth innings.

“They were throwing a lefty, we threw all our right-handed power bats in there,” Goldberg said. “We were missing a few guys tonight. With the personnel we had, we said we’re just going to throw all our right-handed power out there against left-handed pitching and see what happens. It paid off.”

Charlottesville heated up quickly against Strasburg (10-6) starting pitcher Casey O’Donnell, who exited the game in the second inning and allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits, four walks and three strikeouts while surrendering the first of Charlottesville’s six homers.

Express reliever Tyler Hott, a Strasburg High School graduate and current pitcher for Shenandoah University, didn’t fare any better. The Tom Sox roughed up Hott for eight runs (seven earned) on 11 hits in only 2 1/3 innings. Of those 11 hits, six went for extra bases, including back-to-back homers in the fourth inning by Perez and Konvicka.

Forrest Kirsch, the third Express reliever of the night, surrendered two more home runs in the fifth inning as Charlottesville combined to score 15 runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth frames.

Defensively the Express committed four errors, and one of the lone bright spots came from Danny Rafferty, who belted a pair of homers and had four of Strasburg’s six RBIs. Rafferty, listed as a pitcher, hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and a solo shot in the ninth that cleared the scoreboard in right-center.

For the Tom Sox, starting pitcher Robert White went six innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits, two walks and six strikeouts, while Kevin Conway, who entered the game batting .400, went 4-for-7 to lead Charlottesville in hits.

“I think our guys enjoyed our time here,” Goldberg said. “We just need to make sure we maintain a good approach. … We need to make sure that we don’t get too home run happy, although it was fun. It was nice to see our guys enjoy themselves and hit the ball out of the ballpark.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com