August 13- If the fences at The Snake Pit in Coppell, Texas were 337 feet, Generals 1B Mike Davis (Lambuth) would’ve given Victoria a 7-5 lead with a grand slam in the top of the 9th. Fortunately for the Copperheads, the fences measured up to 340 feet, giving Copperheads CF James Foster (Wofford) just enough room to make the final out of the game, preserving a 5-3 victory in the first game of the best-of-three Championship Series.
For the first time in seven tries this season, Coppell secured a home victory against the Victoria Generals. Copperheads starting pitcher Terrance Jackson (Seminole State) and reliever Jared Stafford (Dallas Baptist) held the potent Victoria offense in check for 8 innings of Thursday night.
Jackson allowed only 2 runs in his 4 innings of work, while Stafford pitched 4 solid innings of relief work before giving way to Teddy Nowell (Navarro) in the 9th. Jason Stover (SW Oklahoma State) continued to dominate opposing hitters after Assistant Coach Barry Rose handed him the ball with the game on the line.
With only 1 out and the bases loaded in the top of the 9th, Stover faced off against the TCL’s Player of the Year, Mark Hudson (Sam Houston State). It didn’t take Stover long to get Hudson to swing at the 3rd strike. After that, Davis hit his towering 2-2 pitch to the warning track where Foster called off LF Andy Pratt (Arkansas) to make the final out of the game.
Coppell got the offense rolling early. Foster’s single in the 1st inning scored leadoff hitter Adam de la Garza (Sam Houston State) to give the Copperheads a 1-0 lead. Foster scored two batters later on a fielding error by Victoria LF James Hipp (Liberty).
Victoria tied the game at 2 with a solo home run by Davis, but de la Garza answered quickly, leading off the next inning with a solo home run of his own. From there, it was all Copperheads. Coppell added runs in the 7th and 8th, while the Generals added their own on a sacrifice fly by Andy Russell (Lehigh).
Adam de la Garza and Jason Stover were the picks for Co-Players of the Game. De la Garza finished the night hitting 2-3 with 2 runs and 2 RBI, including his first home run of the season. Stover picked up the save after entering the game with the bases loaded and only 1 out in the top of the 9th, retiring two members of the All-League team to preserve the victory.
The 5-3 win gives Coppell a 1-0 lead in the TCL Championship Series. The final games of the Championship will be played in Victoria on Friday night and Saturday night (if necessary). Victoria is in their inaugural season of play in the TCL, while Coppell is a two-time TCL Championship franchise, winning in 2004 and 2007.