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TEXAS VIEW: Congratulations, Sod Poodles, on Texas League crown - Odessa American: Texas Opinion

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TEXAS VIEW: Congratulations, Sod Poodles, on Texas League crown

THE POINT: Congratulations to Wellman, players and staff on this hard-fought and well-deserved championship.

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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2019 2:30 am

The Amarillo Sod Poodles are Texas League champions.

Go ahead and read that again. It has a really nice sound to it. The championship marks the first Texas League title for an Amarillo Major League Baseball-affiliated franchise since 1976, when the Gold Sox captured the crown, also as a Class AA San Diego Padres affiliate.

It has been the most memorable of first years for the Sod Poodles franchise and the “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” mentality for supporting the team throughout its inaugural season.

By the way, it took some doing on a Sunday afternoon in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the Sod Poodles had once again been stretched to the fifth game of a best-of-five series. There were several missed chances along the way, but ultimately, the Sod Poodles broke through with a seven-run ninth inning en route to an 8-3 victory over the Tulsa Drillers that assured the team of the championship.

“We had the fifth with the bases loaded and no outs and we didn’t come through there, but we put ourselves in position to have a chance,” Amarillo manager Phillip Wellman said in a story posted on the Texas League website. “This team has been like that all year — very resilient and they never die. They keep fighting.”

That has certainly been the case in the postseason. The Sod Poodles kept their season alive in the opening round of the playoffs by winning three consecutive road games against Midland, climbing out of a two-game deficit and punching their ticket to the finals.

“We play in a ballpark in Amarillo, when the opposition has a five-run lead, it’s not a big lead. We learn, playing in that ballpark, not to give up until the final out,” Wellman said. “There’s a helluva lot easier ways to do it, but we got it done.”

But why do anything the easy way?

Trailing 3-1 entering the ninth inning and facing a reliable Drillers closer, Taylor Trammell delivered the biggest hit in the history of the young franchise. Trammell, who joined the team following a trade at the July 31 deadline, came to the plate after two walks and a bunt single loaded the bases.

His grand slam over the right-field fence staked the Sod Poodles to a 5-3 lead. Teammate Hudson Potts added a three-run homer later, and, after retiring the Drillers in order in their half of the ninth, Amarillo’s title was secure.

“I’m just overwhelmed right now, I’m so happy,” Trammel said. “I can’t say enough about this team.”

We can’t either. To say professional baseball in Amarillo this season has been a success would be a dramatic understatement. The Sod Poodles played before large crowds throughout, providing the city with a high-quality entertainment option. The regular season merely set the stage for a memorable postseason capped by a memorable rally on the road against a quality opponent. To their credit, the Padres stocked the team with talent, including some who have moved on to the major league club where the next chapter of their professional career is unfolding.

Congratulations to Wellman, players and staff on this hard-fought and well-deserved championship. Sod Poodles fans are already looking forward to another memorable run during the 2020 season, which will be here before we know it.

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