Generals ready for playoffs (w/video)
Aug. 8, 2017 at 10:21 p.m.
Updated Aug. 8, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.
Victoria East graduate Zac Leigh still carries a handful of memories on the mound at Riverside Stadium.
One in particular was the adrenaline rush he felt when he came out of the bullpen to close out games for the Titans.
"I loved being in front of the hometown crowd in the seventh inning," said Leigh, who pitched at Riverside Stadium with Titans from 2014-16. "I love to come in knowing I have to get three outs to win the game."
After two semesters as a reliever at Texas State University, Leigh finds himself with a chance to add another memory to his list when the No. 2 seed Victoria Generals host a one-game playoff against the No. 3 seed Acadiana Cane Cutters at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at Riverside Stadium.
Leigh was told he'd be the starter last week by Generals head coach Michael Oros.
The Victoria native finished the season at 3-1 with 43 strikeouts and a 2.49 ERA.
"He (Oros) told me last week that I'd be the starter," Leigh said. "It's going to be awesome, and I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people at the game since it's free admission. It's going to be a little different because I'm going to be starting, but I've been doing it all summer. I'm excited to see what happens."
The Generals (34-22) finished the season in second place in the Texas Collegiate League standings behind the Brazos Valley Bombers.
A win against the Cane Cutters and a Bombers win against the Texarkana Twins would set up a best-of-three championship series with the Bombers on Thursday at Riverside Stadium. Games 2 and 3 would be played in Bryan.
If the Generals win and the Bombers lose, the team would travel to Texarkana to play the Twins on Thursday.
Games 2 and 3 will be played in Victoria.
The Generals won the TCL championship in 2010.
"The doubleheader against the Marshals at the end of the season didn't go as planned," Oros said. "But the greatest part is that we have been able to win games with different lineups."
The Generals head into the postseason playing their best baseball after winning 12 of their final 16 games.
"It's been a great second half," Oros said. "A lot of those wins came on the road, and that's good to have if you want to be a championship team."
The Generals split the season series with the Cane Cutters (28-23) at 7-7.
"I think the best thing is that we're lined up to have a good playoff run," said general manager Mike Yokum. "This year, we're a lot deeper going into the playoffs and that should help us for tomorrow's game."
The Generals will rely on seasoned players, Darian Simms, Gabriel Segura and Jack Kenley, who all received awards during the final game of the season.
Segura was named Pitcher of the Year, Kenley earned General of the Year, while Simms was named Player of the Year.
"Kenley is an all-around great guy on and off the field, and Darien Simms has been the anchor in the outfield for us by making plays and doing a remarkable job of reaching base," Yokum said. "Gabriel has continued to get guys out and has one the best earned run averages in the league."
Simms, who is going to be a junior at Sam Houston State, wants to continue to keep his approach at the plate simple.
"The three off days helped us get our legs under us," said Simms, who hit .305 on the season. "We're definitely prepared mentally for the playoffs. We have some really good guys on our team, and I'm just trying to get on base so they can drive me in."
"I give a lot of credit to our players that have stuck out through all of our games," Oros said. "They're sending the message to the new guys that this is what it's all about."
Wednesday's one-game playoff against the Cane Cutters will be free to the public.
"It's always been our goal to a win a championship for this city," Simms added. "The fans deserve it more than us because they always come out to support us."