The Springfield Cardinals Report

Texas League Championship

The Midland RockHounds have triumphed over the Arkansas Travelers to win the Texas League Championship, their first outright title since joining the league in 1972. In 1975 they shared the title with Lafayette in a rain-shortned series.

According to the Texas League's official newsletter:

GAME 1 (09/12/2005): In the first inning Midland scored six runs and cruised to a 7-1 win over Arkansas in front of 3,469 RockHounds fans at Citibank Ballpark.

Daniel Davidson, Arkansas' starting pitcher, retired only one of the first eight batters he faced, in his first outing of the postseason. Davidson allowed six runs (five earned) on three hits and one walk in just 0.1 innings.

Midland starter Shane Komine went seven strong innings and allowed just five hits and an unearned run in picking up the win.

Brian Stavisky led the way offensively for the 'Hounds, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored. Francis Gomez added two hits and two RBI in the contest.

Jason Aspito led Arkansas offensively by going 1-for-3 with a double and the lone Arkansas run scored.

GAME 2 (09/13/2005): Midland catcher Jeremy Brown had a monster game, going 3-for-4 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored as the RockHounds stifled a late Arkansas rally in an 8-7 win.

Midland touched Travelers' starter Steven Shell for seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and two walks. Through the first two games of the series, Arkansas starters allowed 13 runs on 10 hits and three walks in just five innings.

Midland starter Mike Nannini had a rough outing as well, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks in just 3.2 innings. Reliever Shawn Kohn picked up the win in relief of Nannini, allowing one run on four hits over the next three innings.

Midland's Steven Stanley was a homer short of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with a double, a triple and an RBI.

Arkansas' Mike Napoli, who led the TL in homeruns and RBI with 31 and 99, respectively, was 2-for-5 with a homerun, two RBI and two runs scored in the close loss. Howie Kendrick was 3-for-5, while Reggie Willits scored three runs to help pace the Travs' offensive attack.

GAME 3 (09/15/2005): Mike Napoli hit a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth, then threw out a baserunner in the ninth to end the game and help give Arkansas a 4-3 win over Midland that prevented sure elimination for the Travs.

Jason Aspito blasted a two-run homerun in the fifth inning to provide the rest of Arkansas' run production.

For the first time in the series, both Midland and Arkansas starting pitchers had quality starts, but neither figured into the decision. Travs' starter Jered Weaver struck out seven and allowed three runs on six hits through seven innings. RockHounds starter Brad Ziegler gave up two runs on just four hits through six innings, while also striking out seven. Arkansas reliever David Austen picked up the win for the Travs by pitching a perfect eighth inning.

Midland was led offensively, again, by Jeremy Brown, who had a homerun and two RBI, while Daric Barton was 2-for-3 with a solo homerun.

GAME 4 (09/16/2005): Jeremy Brown hit a three-run homerun to highlight a four-run Midland seventh, but it was Francis Gomez's two-out, RBI double in the eighth that plated the winning run for the Hounds in a 6-5 pennant-clinching win over Arkansas.

The win cemented Midland's first-ever outright Texas League title. Arkansas had fought back to tie the game at five with a three-run fifth and a two-run bottom of the seventh before Gomez's game-winning hit.

The Travs liked their chances entering the night knowing Midland would be reaching into their bullpen for a starter. However, Midland spot-starter Matt Lynch allowed just one hit in four innings, while striking out five, to set the tone for the ‘Hounds.

Offensively, the ‘Hounds were led by Daric Barton, Danny Putnam and Mark Kiger, who each had two hits in the clinching victory. Arkansas was led by Kendry Morales, who was 2-for-4 with a homerun and an RBI.

Midland manager Von Hayes told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, as reported by the Texas League Newsletter, "We'll take the championship. Our guys deserve it. We're the best team, both halves, the best team overall and we're the best team in the Texas League."


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