In spite of being no hit by Coppell Copperhead pitchers Randy Boone (six innings) and James Russell (two innings), the McKinney Marshals captured their second Tris Speaker Division Texas Collegiate League title by edging Coppell 2-0 Wednesday night at Gabe Nesbitt Field.
It also marked back-to-back upsets in the division playoff series by the second-seeded Marshals, who downed Coppell 2-0 in games in the 2005 Tris Speaker Division playoffs.
The win was not in typical fashion as McKinney scratched for an unearned run on a pair of Copperheads' errors in the third inning and scored again without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the sixth frame when Michael Richard (Prairie View A&M) stole home. Richard led the TCL with 28 base thefts in 48 regular-season games.
The Copperheads slapped five hits - four singles and a double - but were guilty of four errors while the Marshals backed complete-game winner Randall Taylor (Dallas Baptist) with faultless fielding. Taylor worked all nine innings while striking out nine and walking a pair of Coppell batsmen. He pitched his way out of a major one-out jam in the top of the seventh inning after a walk and a double. Taylor then retired the next two hitters on a strikeout and pop out to stop the late-inning threat.
Losing pitcher Randy Boone (four strikeouts, one walk in six IP) was on the tough end of the 2:06 contest in McKinney and was ejected in the top of the seventh. Russell, a fellow Longhorn for the 2007 campaign as a transfer, worked the final two frames with a pair of whiffs and no safeties allowed.
This sets up the second rematch in TCL history after Denton and McKinney met in the 2005 championship round. Interestingly, both teams swept divisional playoffs' foes (Denton over Weatherford and McKinney vs. Coppell) en route to the championship playoffs.
Blessed with the playoff home field advantage in 2005 as well, the Marshals fell to the Outlaws 5-4 at Gabe Nesbitt Field, won 2-1 at Denton and then lost to the Outlaws 3-1 in the finale at McKinney.
The Marshals host Denton at 7:05 p.m. (CDT) Friday before the series moves to Denton Ryan High School Baseball Field on Saturday at 7:35 p.m. If a third game is needed to decide the title outcome, it will be played in McKinney at 7:05 p.m. Sunday. The first two TCL championship series both went the full three contests as Coppell downed Graham 2-1 in games in '04.
McKinney seeks its first league crown while the Outlaws try to become the first TCL entry to win two championships. Denton has lost just once (in the middle game of the championship round last year to McKinney) in seven total postseason clashes since becoming part of the Texas Collegiate League in 2005.