#1 on the list: Bocock did his best job of all in 2013
Mike Bocock came into the 2013 season, his first as head coach in Waynesboro, with seven Valley League championships to his credit, and a reputation as a man who can get his teams to win in crunch time.
His 2013 Generals faced more crunch time than most of his first 24 teams at stops in New Market, Staunton and Luray. An 0-2 start put the team behind the eight-ball, and at the midway point in the season, Waynesboro was 9-14 and in the midst of a 30-inning scoreless streak.
“The first three games I was here, we didn’t score a run. After that, we had a meeting, and he said, We’re going to be playing on the final day, you guys just have to battle. We did, and we’re playing on the final day, and we’re the champions,” said Patrick Mazeika (freshman, Stetson), a midseason addition whose presence (.382 batting average, .552 on base percentage, .566 slugging percentage) helped turn things around.
But even with Mazeika in the lineup, Waynesboro never could get over the .500 mark in the 2013 regular season, finishing at 22-22, 10 games behind South Division regular-season champion Harrisonburg, which swept the six-game season series with the Generals.
As the #4 seed in the playoffs, Waynesboro was paired with Harrisonburg, which had outscored the Generals 44-14 in the regular-season sweep, in the first round of the playoffs. Waynesboro shocked the VBL with an 11-2 win in Harrisonburg in Game 1, then took Game 2 in dramatic fashion, getting a two-out, two-run, walkoff single by Kevin Fagan to best the Turks, 4-3.
Round two was no easier. Waynesboro blew a late lead in Game 1 at New Market and lost, 6-5, in 10 innings, before rebounding to win Game 2, 12-3, and then take Game 3 back in New Market behind an epic effort by Corey Armentrout (sophomore, Bridgewater) in a 3-0 finale.
The Valley League Championship Series started off the same way the semifinal series did, with Strasburg taking Game 1, 6-0. Waynesboro battled back to win Game 2 in Waynesboro by a 5-1 final, taking the series back to Strasburg for the clincher. Armentrout, on two days’ rest, got the win with five gutsy innings in a 6-3 win for the ages.
“We’re very humbled to be able to be in this Valley League and win this thing,” Bocock said. “These players got better all through the season. Our coaching staff worked hard and did a great job
“That was the mark of this team. Very resilient. We kept coming back. Things wouldn’t go our way, but we just kept plugging. And because it was so tough in the South, we had to go and fight, everything we had to do, that made us really tough at the end of the season,” Bocock said.
The veteran coach said the championship ranks as his most memorable, given the battle that his team had to put up, one, and two, that his starting shortstop is also his son, Tyler, a sophomore at Stetson.
“This one will always be special because of Tyler,” Bocock said.
It will be just as special for Tyler Bocock, if not more so.
“It’s one of the greatest feelings that I’ve ever had in the world. He said at the beginning of the year that we were going to have a good year, and it’s just good to see it all come together,” said the younger Bocock, the team’s lone representative on the All-Valley League team, after hitting .311 with a home run and a team-leading 23 RBIs.
“We fought like brothers, but we stuck together like brothers. We overcame a lot of adversity. That was what made up this championship team,” Bocock said.
More online at www.WaynesboroGenerals.net.