The RockHounds meet the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in a best-of-5 series this week for the 2009 Texas League Championship Series. The clubs meet in game 3 on Friday night at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Arkansas. Both clubs advanced to the TL Championship Series after winning their respective second half division titles and defeating the first half champions (see capsules below).
The Naturals swept the Springfield Cardinals in the North Division Series.
Northwest Arkansas has reached the playoffs in each of its first two seasons. The franchise moved to Springdale, Arkansas in 2008 from Wichita, Kansas, and has been the AA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals since 1995. The franchise won two TL titles in Wichita (1987 and 1992), and the Wranglers also reached the championship series in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2006.
This is the franchise's eighth appearance in the Texas League Playoffs ... and the third in the last five seasons.
The Midland Cubs shared the TL championship with the Lafayette (LA) Drillers in 1975 when rain wiped away the deciding game. The Angels fell to the Shreveport Captains (4-1) in the 1995 title series and the 2005 RockHounds captured the only outright title to date, defeating Arkansas, 3-1, in 2005. The 2006 RockHounds also reached the playoffs, the franchise's only back-to-back post-season appearances.
TEXAS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES PITCHING PROBABLES
Game 1 - Tuesday, September 15th
Naturals 11 RockHounds 5
Game 2 - Wednesday, September 16th
Naturals 6 RockHounds 7
Game 3 - Friday, September 18th (7:15 PM)
Kyle Middleton (5-2, 2.69) vs. Blake Johnson (8-8, 4.57)
Game 4 - Saturday, September 19th (1:05 PM)
Tyson Ross (5-4, 3.96) vs. Everett Teaford (3-7, 5.11)
Game 5 - Sunday, September 20th (6:00 PM)
Arnold Leon vs. Anthony Lerew
Games 1 and 2 are in Midland. Games 3-5 are scheduled in Northwest Arkansas.