Brown proves clutch in Midland's drive

RockHounds catcher hot at right time, takes Double-A Playoff Performer Award

Jeremy Brown batted .419 (13-for-31) with 15 RBIs in nine postseason games in leading Midland to its first Texas League title in 30 years. (Jeannie Millender)

By Tim Leonard / | November 15, 2005 4:29 AM

Jeremy Brown doesn't try to figure it out or make any sense of it. He just got hot. Simple as that.

The Midland RockHounds catcher has no idea why, he's just glad it happened to him and happened when it did. The playoffs are always a good time to start crushing the ball.

Brown did just that in leading the RockHounds to the Texas League title and was named as the winner of the award for Double-A Playoff Performance. Brown batted .419 (13-for-31) with 15 RBIs in nine postseason games. Six of his 13 hits went for extra bases, including three home runs.

The biggest of those home runs was a three-run dinger in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the Texas League Championship Series and gave Midland a 5-3 lead over Arkansas. The Travelers rallied to tie the score in the bottom of the inning, but the momentum had been inalterably shifted. The RockHounds got a run in the top of the eighth inning and held on to finish off the series and win their first title in 30 years.

``I just got hot at the right time, in big situations,'' Brown said matter-of-factly. ``In the playoffs, it seemed like I was coming up at the right time, with men on base.''

The baserunners didn't stay there long once Brown dug in. He went 6-for-15 (.400) and drove in nine runs in the four games it took for Midland to win the best-of-five Championship Series. He also had two home runs and scored five runs. Almost as remarkable is that Brown was behind the plate for all of those nine playoff games.

``You go through stretches like that where you feel like they can't get you out or you'll get them next time. You also go through times when you're clueless,'' said Brown, who batted .261 with 20 home runs and 72 RBIs in 115 games. ``It's a whole lot easier to come play and get better every day when you're winning. When you have something to play for every day, it's exciting to come to the park.''

Brown couldn't have seen this coming. He went 1-for-14 in his last four games in the regular season. But then he opened the postseason with a 2-for-4 performance in a loss to San Antonio. Brown cracked a two-run home run that put Game 3 out of reach as Midland took a 2-1 lead in the series.

His only hitless game of the postseason was an 0-for-3 in Game 4. Midland managed only five singles in the 5-1 loss. The following night, with their season on the line, the RockHounds pounded out 17 hits in a 12-2 victory. Brown went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and finished the series with a .438 batting average (7-for-16) and six RBIs.

And then he really got hot.

``It was fun. The playoffs are a different type of excitement,'' said Brown, a native of Birmingham, Ala. ``You get the jitters that you had early in the year. You don't get that every night when you play 140 or 150 games a year. It seems like every play is big and every game counts.''

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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