Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

2023 Texas League playoffs coverage

Sod Poodles win second crown in five years in grand fashion
September 28, 2023

Championship Series Sept. 27

Championship Series

Sept. 27

Sod Poodles 9, Travelers 1
Amarillo set up shop as a Double-A affiliate five years ago, and the Sod Poodles have scored two Texas League championships in that time.

The second one was secured by D-backs prospects in grand fashion. Behind a bases-loaded homer by Camden Duzenack, the Amarillo Sod Poodles routed the Arkansas Travelers at HODGETOWN to win their first crown since their inaugural season in 2019.

In the waning months of the regular season, Amarillo found its footing and left the rest of the league in the dust. After finishing the first half of the season below .500, the Sod Poodles made a sharp turnaround. With a 43-26 second-half record, they soared to the top of the Texas League standings.

In the decisive Game 3 of the Championship Series, Duzenack opened up the scoring with a grand slam over the right-field fence in the second inning. It was the 28-year-old infielder's second straight game with a home run and his second slam of the year. Full story

Sept. 26

Travelers 6, Sod Poodles 5
In a battle of the bats, Arkansas came out on top to force a winner-take-all Game 3 of the Championship Series.

After the Travelers jumped to a 5-1 lead in the fifth inning, the Sod Poodles slowly rallied with four unanswered runs and tied the game in the eighth. Leo Rivas' roundtripper in the top of the ninth -- the 25-year-old's first career postseason home run -- gave the lead back to Arkansas for good.

The teams combined for six solo home runs. Tyler Locklear (SEA No. 11) and Alberto Rodriguez (SEA No. 17) also went deep for the Travelers, while Camden Duzenack, Juan Centeno and Seth Beer each reached the fences for Amarillo.

Rodriguez also racked up three walks to boost his on-base percentage to .500 and OPS to 1.250.

Prelander Berroa (SEA No. 15) gave up Beer's eighth-inning homer but picked up the win after striking out a pair over the final two frames to close out the game. Box score

Sept. 24

Sod Poodles 3, Travelers 2
With timely hitting and strong pitching, Amarillo moved within a win of the title in the best-of-3 series against Arkansas.

Kristian Robinson, the D-backs' No. 11 prospect, and Deyvison De Los Santos (ARI No. 5) provided the offense with RBI doubles. Robinson -- who also walked, was hit by a pitch and scored a run -- came into the playoffs on a hot streak after playing for the D-backs' Rookie-level Red team in the Arizona Complex League Finals at the end of August. He posted a .982 OPS with two home runs and six RBIs in five contests to end the Sod Poodles' regular season.

Starter Dylan Ray, the No. 19 D-backs prospect, allowed a run on two hits while striking out five over 4⅓ innings. Lefty Jake Rice struck out three, giving up only a walk in 1 2/3 frames, and righty Michel Otanez followed with a perfect seventh. Closer Christian Montes De Oca allowed a run, but struck out two en route to the six-out save.

Tyler Locklear swatted a solo home run in the third inning -- the Travelers' only extra-base hit of the game. The Mariners' No. 11 prospect was an on-base machine during the regular season, posting a .383 on-base percentage in 22 games with Arkansas.

Amarillo, which won the championship in its first year of existence, will look to close out the Championship Series on Tuesday in HODGETOWN. Box score


Sept. 22

Travelers 14, Cardinals 1

Robert Perez Jr., made sure there would be no Cardinals celebration on his team's home field. The 23-year-old swatted two jacks, three hits and a season-high six RBIs. His first long ball opened the scoring in the fourth inning, singled home a pair in the sixth and walloped a three-run shot in the next frame. Perez Jr. left the yard 17 times in the regular season, 16 coming with Arkansas.

The Travelers had three other multihit performers in the contest. Switch-hitting infielder Leo Rivas went 2-for-3 with three walks, two steals and an RBI single, catcher Jake Anchia went 4-for-4 with four RBIs and Jonatan Clase -- the No. 8 Mariners prospect -- went 2-for-4 with two free passes and an RBI double.

Travelers starter Jimmy Joyce -- the No. 28 Mariners prospect -- fanned two in three scoreless innings before giving way to the bullpen.

Springfield starter Tink Hence, St. Louis' No. 2 prospect started strong but labored in the fourth inning when he was tagged for three runs. Mike Antico had two hits for Springfield, including a solo homer. The No. 29 Cardinals prospect belted a career-high 18 roundtrippers during the regular season. Box score

Sod Poodles 6, Missions 3

The Sod Poodles punched their ticket to the Texas League Finals thanks to a jolt of offense in the fourth inning and three knocks from a familiar face.

Deyvison De Los Santos, who crushed a three-run jack in a Game 2 victory, kept the offense rolling. The No. 5 D-backs prospect socked two doubles and a single, including the go-ahead hit during a four-run fourth inning.

De Los Santos has recorded four extra-base hits and four RBIs in three playoff games. The 20-year-old is slashing .538/.538/1.077 this postseason.

Seth Beer and infielder Jancarlos Cintron both recorded two knocks in the game, fueling Amarillo's 11-hit outburst.

The Missions mustered just three hits in the contest. Box score

Sept. 21

Cardinals 6, Travelers 4

With its back against the wall, Springfield came out swinging, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead before holding on to even the best-of-3 semifinals at a game apiece.

Cardinals starter Brandon Komar matched a personal best with nine strikeouts and allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old scattered four hits and a walk in his first career postseason start and finished strong, whiffing four of the final six batters he faced.

Victor Scott II set the table from the leadoff spot for Springfield, collecting a pair of singles, scoring twice and stealing a base. The No. 4 Cardinals prospect swiped 95 bases across two levels this season, tops across all of the Minor Leagues. Mike Antico, the 29th-ranked Cardinals prospect, plated three with a two-run single and a sacrifice fly.

Alberto Rodriguez brought the Travelers within two runs in the eighth with a two-run homer. Seattle's No. 17 prospect established career highs with 14 long balls and 85 RBIs between High-A Everett and Arkansas during the regular season. Box score

Sod Poodles 7, Missions 4

After falling just short in a wild Game 1, Amarillo used strong pitching and power to even its best-of-3 semifinals series with San Antonio.

Deyvison De Los Santos paced the Sod Poodles offense with a pair of hits, including the big blow in the top of the fifth inning. With Amarillo leading, 3-0, Arizona's No. 5 prospect slugged a three-run homer to break things open. He later singled and scored. giving him four hits in nine at-bats through the first two games of the series.

Seth Beer also went deep for the Sod Poodles, which made things easier for starter Yilber Diaz, who held the Missions to a pair of runs in 5 1/3 innings. The No. 20 D-backs prospect scattered seven hits, struck out seven and walked one.

Graham Pauley, the No. 11 Padres prospect, finished with a double, two singles and an RBI for the Missions, who did not go quietly. San Antonio loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth and managed to push two runs across before falling short. Box score

Sept. 19

Missions 12, Sod Poodles 11 (10 innings)

A slugfest broke out in Game 1 of the San Antonio-Amarillo Texas League semifinal series.

The Missions ultimately got the best of the Sod Poodles, despite Amarillo coming back in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. San Antonio put on an offensive clinic and Nathan Martorella was the main attraction. The Padres’ No. 10 prospect led the team with three hits, two of which left the yard, as he collected four RBIs on the night. Martorella drove in 15 runs in 23 regular season games with the Missions.

Homer Bush Jr. belted a homer during a two-hit game in which he scored three times. San Diego's No. 13 prospect hit .325 across three levels after being drafted in the fourth round in July.

Marcos Castañon also went deep, smoking a three-run homer in the 10th. The No. 23 Padres prospect has provided a steady presence all year between the Missions and High-A Fort Wayne, posting an .813 OPS in the regular season.

Amarillo set off its share of fireworks as well, with Caleb Roberts homering twice and plating five runs. Tim Tawa finished a double short of the cycle with three RBIs and two runs scored. Box score

heir share of fireworks in the contest as well, with catcher Caleb Roberts most notably driving in five off of two home runs. Left fielder Tim Tawa finished a double short of the cycle and plated three runs. Box score

Travelers 3, Cardinals 1

Arkansas shined from start to finish on the mound in the opening win of the semifinal series with Springfield.

Starter Kyle Tyler allowed one run on four hits without a walk while striking out six over 4⅔ innings. The bullpen picked up where he left off, with Jorge Benitez, Travis Kuhn (SEA No. 24) and Prelander Berroa (SEA No. 15) closing the door.

Benitez picked up the win after giving up one hit and fanning two in 1 2/3 frames. Kuhn allowed one hit and a walk in one inning, and Berroa ceded one hit while recording a five-out save with two strikeouts.

Tyler Locklear (SEA No. 11 ) and Alberto Rodriguez (SEA No. 17) combined for three extra-base hits, two RBIs and two runs scored. Rodriguez homered and doubled while Locklear doubled. The latter posted a .907 OPS across three levels in 2023.

For the Cardinals, Max Rajcic (STL No. 18) allowed one run on two hits and two walks in three innings of relief and surrendering just two hits. Mike Antico (STL No. 29 prospect) had Springfield's lone extra-base hit of the contest, a double. Box score