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Green, RockHounds headed to Finals09/12/2010 12:15 AM ET
By John Parker / Special to MLB.com
Midland's newest player helped the RockHounds advance to the Texas League Championship Series.
Grant Green crushed an opposite-field homer on the first Double-A pitch he saw Saturday as the RockHounds cruised to a 9-4 win over the visiting Frisco RoughRiders.
Midland won the best-of-5 South Division Finals, 3-1, for the second straight season. The defending champions will face Springfield or Northwest Arkansas for the Texas League title, starting Tuesday.
A 22-year-old shortstop out of the University of Southern California, Green spent the regular season with Stockton in the Class A Advanced California League. He batted .318 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs in 131 games for the Ports, who were knocked out of the California League playoffs on Thursday.
"I wasn't really expecting to be called up, but obviously it's something everyone hopes for," Green said. "It's an honor to be asked to come in and help this team in the playoffs."
Manager Darren Bush penciled Green into the second spot in the lineup as the RockHounds' designated hitter in Game 4. Coming up with a runner on first in the first inning, the former first-round pick faced a familiar foe: Frisco left-hander Robbie Ross, who also was making his Double-A debut.
Green had faced Ross last Sunday in Stockton's 13-9 loss at Bakersfield, grounding out and striking out in two at-bats against the former second-round pick.
"Honestly, when they said who Frisco's starter was, it didn't ring a bell right away," Green said. "I was just looking for a good pitch to hit and was able to drive that first one down the line."
Wasting no time, Green sent the first pitch of the rematch over the right-field wall to give the RockHounds a 2-0 lead. He nearly took Ross deep again in the third, sending a 2-1 pitch to the warning track in left.
"I thought I hit it pretty well, but when I looked down I noticed my bat was broken," Green said.
Although Frisco bounced back with a run in the third and two in the fourth, Midland plated five runs in the bottom of the fourth and never looked back. Alex Valdez delivered a three-run shot and Green drove in his third run of the game with a sacrifice fly.
Valdez is 8-for-18 (.444) with a league-leading seven RBIs in the postseason. The RockHounds also got big games from Josh Horton, who doubled twice, singled and drove in a run, and Petey Paramore, who was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Midland starter Carlos Hernandez (1-0) allowed three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits over six innings, striking out three and walking one. After Daniel Sattler gave up a run on one hit and a pair of walks in the seventh, Mickey Storey and Neil Walker closed out the game with a perfect frame apiece.
The RockHounds defense did its part, turning five double plays.
Ross (0-1) suffered the loss after yielding seven runs on seven hits, including two homers, over three innings.
The win gave Midland back-to-back South Division titles for the first time in the franchise's 39-year history. Green and the 'Hounds will have a chance to add to that history in next week's Championship Series.
In other Texas League action:
Springfield Cardinals 13, Northwest Arkansas Naturals 9