CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Defense of the first Valley League championship in Tom Sox history will begin with a bus ride to Staunton on Friday, June 1.
That game is one of five on the opening night schedule for the Valley League's 2018 season. The Sox are back on the road on June 2 to visit Waynesboro followed by an off day, before the team hosts New Market in Charlottesville's home opener on Monday, June 4.
A month later, the Tom Sox will once again host Waynesboro as part of Charlottesville's 4th of July festivities.
That first full week of the season also includes a June 7 matchup in Charlottesville between the Tom Sox and Strasburg, the two teams that met in last summer's VBL Finals. The two teams meet twice in July, with both games in Strasburg -- on July 11 and again a week later.
The Tom Sox beat the Express 2-1 in last August's best-of-three-games finals series to end the best season in the franchise's short history with its first-ever VBL championship. Including playoffs, the Sox finished last summer 38-11.
The Sox have announced that several players from last year's team plan to return to Charlottesville this summer, including 2017 Valley League MVP Michael Wielansky, catcher/infielder Eric Jones and pitcher Justin Sorokowski.
A pair of local products -- catcher Jake Allen and outfielder Jack Morris -- are also expected back this summer. A Miller School alum, Morris led the Sox in hitting during the 2016 season. Allen, a STAB graduate, spent that entire 2016 season with the Sox as well, and rejoined the team for last summer's playoff run.
The Sox have also announced the additions of two UVA sophomores for this summer -- outfielder Jalen Harrison, another STAB graduate, and utility player Will Allocca.