August 14th– For the 3rd time in their six year history, the Coppell Copperheads were crowned Texas Collegiate League Champions on Friday night. With a one game lead in the best-of-three championship series, the Copperheads traveled to Victoria where they defeated the league’s number one seed, 13-11, to clinch the 2009 Championship.
Reaching the top was no easy road for the Copperheads. After a dismal 2-11 start to the season, Coppell had to fight an uphill battle to finish 3rd in the league standings and receive a playoff berth. Thanks to 8 wins in the final 12 games and a perfect 4-0 playoff record against the #1 and #2 seeds, the Copperheads wrote their own Cinderella story to end the summer, sweeping a team that had defeated Coppell 11 of the 12 times they faced during the regular season.
Friday night’s game started out close. With Victoria taking a 3-1 lead in the 2nd inning, Coppell needed to work some of their late season magic to take the lead. After RBI singles by RF Adam De Le Garza (Sam Houston State) and 3B Heath Johnson (Penn State) to tie the game in the 3rd, C Austin Goolsby (Embry-Riddle) hit a grand slam off Victoria starter Michael Oros (San Jacinto) to give the Copperheads a 7-3 lead.
Goolsby’s big hit started a fire under the Coppell offense. With 2 outs in the 4th inning, 1B Matt Curry (TCU) hit a 3-run home run off reliever Trevor Lundgrin (Northeastern JC) to increase the lead to 10-3. Victoria answered back with a run of their own off Coppell starter Kendal Carrillo (Texas) before Curry hit his 2nd home run of the game, and 3rd of the playoffs, to build a 12-4 lead after 6 innings.
Coppell increased their lead to 13-4 before Victoria made an effort to catch up. With Mason Thompson (UT-Dallas) on the mound, Victoria loaded the bases with 1 out. After an RBI single by Bryson Miles (Weatherford) and a walk to Mike Davis (Lambuth) scored a run, pinch hitter Andrew Moore (Yale) matched Austin Goolsby’s early feat with a grand slam of his own to bring the Generals within 2 runs of the Copperheads.
Coppell Head Coach J.T. Blair decided he had seen enough. Emulating Thursday night’s game, Blair called on reliever Jared Stafford (Dallas Baptist) to finish off Victoria. Like Thursday night, Stafford did exactly that, retiring 5 of the final 7 batters to pick up a save and the championship.
Carrillo picked up the win for Coppell while Oros was credited with the loss. Matt Curry finished the game 3-5 with 3 runs, 5 RBI and 2 home runs. Heath Johnson hit 4 singles in 5 at bats, scoring twice and picking up an RBI. Austin Goolsby was 3-4 with 1 run, 5 RBI and a grand slam. Carrillo allowed 4 runs in 7 innings of work, giving up 7 hits and striking out 5.
Curry and Goolsby were selected as Copperheads Co-Players of the Game.