Photo by Chris Lockard / OaklandClubhouse.com

Midland RockHounds take Game One of Texas League finals

In a back-and-forth game, the Midland RockHounds outlasted the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to take a 1-0 series lead in the Texas League finals.

The Midland RockHounds are two wins away from history. Midland scored twice in the sixth to break a 3-3 tie and held on for a 5-4 win over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in Game One of the Texas League finals. The RockHounds are looking to become the first team in nearly 100 years to win three straight Texas League championships.

The game looked like it would be high-scoring initially, as both teams scored twice in the first and, after the Naturals scored once in the bottom of the second, the RockHounds answered right back to tie the game at three in the third. The game would remain tied until the sixth, as Midland starter Joel Seddon and Naturals' starter Yendel Caramo settled down after rough beginnings.

Midland would finally get to Caramo in the sixth. Semi-final series hero Viosergy Rosa started the inning off with a single. He moved to third when Andy Paz reached on a throwing error by Naturals' third baseman Mauricio RamosJ.P. Sportman broke the 3-3 tie with a single to center. After a Richie Martin force out, Brett Vertigan singled home Paz to give Midland an insurance run they would later need.

Seddon allowed three runs in the first two innings, but he found his footing after allowing a solo homer to start off the second inning. Seddon would allow just one more hit and two more base-runners the rest of the way. He finished the game having allowed three runs on four hits over six innings. Seddon struck-out six and didn't walk any.

Trey Cochran-Gill took over for Seddon in the seventh and he was solid over two innings. He worked around a double in the seventh and an infield single in the eighth to keep the game at 5-3 going into the ninth. Jake Sanchez came on in the ninth. He allowed a one-out double and a run-scoring two-out single, but he struck-out Cam Gallagher to record the save. Sanchez had two strike-outs in the ninth.

Tyler Marincov led the Midland offense with three hits. He scored a run and drove home one. Yairo Munoz got the RockHounds on the board in the first inning with a two-run double. Vertigan and Sportman had the other two RBI. Beau Taylor had two hits and he threw out a runner attempting to steal.

The RockHounds will take on the Naturals again on Wednesday. Corey Walter is scheduled to take on Eric Skoglund, one of the Royals' top starting pitching prospects. Games 3, 4 and 5 have been moved to Thursday through Saturday (they were originally scheduled for Friday through Sunday) because of inclement weather in the Midland forecast for later this weekend. 

Before the game, the A's placed starter Ben Bracewell on the DL and added lefty Evan Manarino to the Midland roster from Stockton.


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