Coppell (31-17) downed McKinney 8-3 to nail down first place and home field advantage in the Texas Collegiate League's division playoff series for the Tris Speaker Division.
The Speaker Division postseason best 2-of-3 series for the loop title and the chance to meet the Rogers Hornsby Division champion starts Monday at 7:05 p.m. (CDT) at the CISD Sports Complex/Copperhead Field as the Copperheads have a two- or three-game set against rival McKinney (30-18), which finished second in the Speaker Division. It was the closet race for the top two positions in a division race in the three-year history of the TCL.
Denton (28-20 to finish the regular season) hosts Graham at 7:30 p.m. (CDT) Monday at Denton Ryan High School Field in another rematch of regular-season finales. Graham (21-27 overall) eked past Mineral Wells (20-28) and Weatherford (20-28) by one game in the Rogers Hornsby Division standings in the tightest contention ever for the Nos. 2-4 places in division standings. All three teams were in contention for the No. 2 seed in Hornsby Division playoffs prior to Sunday's 6-5 win by Graham at Denton and Weatherford's 8-3 triumph over Mineral Wells at Roger Williams Ballpark.
The Outlaws blitzed to four wins in five postseason games to capture the 2005 TCL crown after sweeping Weatherford in two straight and then topping Speaker Division winner McKinney twice in three outings last August. Denton topped McKinney 3-1 in the grand finale at Gabe Nesbitt Field to take home the '05 TCL trophy.
This marks the third consecutive year that Coppell and McKinney have faced off for the Speaker Division crown. McKinney had the best regular-season mark in 2004 at 33-17 (in a scheduled 56-game slate reduced by a week of rainouts to begin '04) while Coppell was runner-up at 30-21. Last season Coppell closed 31-17 to McKinney's 28-20 mark for
the Nos. 1-2 positions in the playoffs.
Weatherford finished second in the 2005 TCL Hornsby Division playoffs by virtue of defeating Graham in head-to-head series before falling to Denton.
Graham edged Weatherford 2-1 in 2004 Hornsby postseason contests before falling to Coppell by the same margin in the championship playoffs.
Division Playoff Schedules
Monday, Aug. 7
McKinney at Coppell, 7:05 p.m. (Speaker Division)
Graham at Denton, 7:30 p.m. (Hornsby Division)
Tuesday, Aug. 8
Coppell at McKinney, 7:05 p.m.
Denton at Graham, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 9 (if necessary)
McKinney at Coppell, 7:05 p.m.
Graham at Denton, 7:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday/Sunday (if necessary), Aug. 11-13
TCL Championship Playoffs, Sites, Teams, Times TBD
Note: Coppell righthander Jess Todd (Navarro) has broken the league's season strikeout record. He had 85 whiffs in 61 innings pitched during '06 to top the TCL mark of 72 by Coppell's Drew Johnson (Texas) in 2004 and the second-highest mark of 69 Ks by Austin Creps of Texas A&M in '05. Todd and Creps have the co-highest strikeout totals in single games in regular-season and postseason with 15. Todd's 15 punchouts occurred against Weatherford in 2006 while Creps fanned 15 Denton batsmen in the 2005 TCL championship bout.