D-backs' Double-A affiliate slams way to championship

September 28th, 2023

Amarillo set up shop as a Double-A affiliate five years ago, and the Sod Poodles have scored two Texas League championships in that time.

The second one was secured by D-backs prospects in grand fashion Wednesday night. Behind a bases-loaded homer by Camden Duzenack, the Amarillo Sod Poodles routed the Arkansas Travelers, 9-1, at HODGETOWN to win their first crown since their inaugural season in 2019.

In the waning months of the regular season, Amarillo found its footing and left the rest of the league in the dust. After finishing the first half of the season below .500, the Sod Poodles made a sharp turnaround. With a 43-26 second-half record, they soared to the top of the Texas League standings.

In the decisive Game 3 of the Championship Series, Duzenack opened up the scoring with a grand slam over the right-field fence in the second inning. It was the 28-year-old infielder's second straight game with a home run and his second slam of the year.

Everyone in the Amarillo lineup got into the hit column, with Kristian Robinson, the D-backs’ No. 11 prospect, registering the team's only multihit night with a two-run homer, a single and two runs scored.

The key to the Sod Poodles' success in the postseason was the team's slugging. Four players -- Robinson,  Deyvison De Los Santos (ARI No. 5), Seth Beer and Jancarlos Cintron -- posted an OPS over 1.000 in the playoffs.

The Sod Poodles' arms didn't waver either. In Game 3, right-hander Conor Grammes struck out six while allowing one hit over four innings. Lefty Emailin Montilla picked up the win with two scoreless frames and righty Michel Otanez struck out three while giving up a run in two frames. Righty Christian Montes De Oca closed out the game with a perfect ninth.

After taking down the San Antonio Missions in three games in the semifinals, Amarillo opened the Championship Series at Arkansas. A nail-biting 3-2 victory gave the Sod Poodles the series advantage heading back to the friendly confines. The Mariners' affiliate staved off Amarillo for a 6-5 victory in Game 2 to set the stage for the winner-take-all finale.