CHAMPS AGAIN! Waynesboro Generals rally, top Charles Town, 7-6, to capture Valley League title

champsMike Marcinko hit a 1-0 pitch down the left-field line to knock in pinch-runner Dan Neff with two outs in the ninth inning, completing a Waynesboro Generals rally to a 7-6 win over the Charles Town Cannons in the deciding Game 3 of the Valley League championship series.

Marcinko had committed two of Waynesboro’s six errors in a four-run Cannons first, and Charles Town led 5-0 with nobody out in the top of the second a night after whitewashing the Generals 8-0 in a dominating Game 2 win. Jeff Schank came in at that point to relieve starter Micah Gorman, and was lights out, giving up an unearned run in six innings, allowing five hits and two walks while racking up six strikeouts.

With Schank settling things down in the top of innings, the offense had time to come alive in the bottoms, getting two in the third on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch to Mike McClellan and a sacrifice-fly RBI by Eugene Vasquez, then adding four more in the fourth on a trio of two-out RBI hits by Tyler Orris, Cole Gruber and a two-run single by Vasquez that knotted the game at 6-6.

And then from there, the zeroes made their appearance, with the next big scoring threat of the game coming in the top of the eighth, when Steve Kerr, who went 5-for-6 on the night, greeted reliever Will Lowman with a double to left-center to lead off the eighth, then reached third on a wild pitch to the next hitter, Charlie Pal. That brought the Waynesboro infield in all the way around, and Pal grounded sharply to Marcinko, who threw home to nab Kerr at the plate with a big first out of the inning.

Lowman then had to get out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam later in the eighth, getting the final out on a fielder’s choice by Austin Bream.

Garrett Russini grounded to second with two runners on to end a Generals rally in the bottom of the eight, and then Lowman got back into another jam in the ninth, walking Will Endris with two outs and then giving up a single to Kerr to put runners on the corners.

Griffin Krieg, the Game 1 starter and winner, came in to face Pal, and after Kerr took second on a defensive indifference play, induced an inning-ending grounder to Marcinko at short to get out of the threat.

Kyle Pitts led off the bottom of the ninth with a grounder in the hole between first and second, which Pal was able to get to, but the second baseman had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, allowing Pitts to reach on an error. Neff came in to pinch-run, and reached second on a sacrifice by Kevin Krupp, and then advanced to third on a grounder to second by Travis Naraine.

That set up the heroics from Marcinko, who took the 1-0 pitch from Jacob Anthony down the line in left for the walkoff.

Anthony (3-3) took the loss despite putting in a solid effort, giving up a run on four hits in four innings of relief.

Krieg (5-0) got the win for Waynesboro, which posted its first back-to-back Valley League championship seasons in the team’s 62-year history in VBL play.

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