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2020 League Championship Series Preview and Pick

By JJ Eusay, 11/06/20, 10:15AM CST


2020 League Championship Series

Samsel’s Yard Goats vs. Prim’s Muckdogs

Spirit Park-Allen Field 1 (Temps in low 70’s at game time wind 20 mph out of SE)

(Wind will be blowing across the field from right to left carrying most balls to the left side out.  Tough sledding to RF/RCF)

Season Series: Muckdogs won 10-3

The wacky 2020 Spring Shalom season is coming to it’s exciting conclusion as the Championship Series takes place Sunday.  I have gone 8-2 on my playoff predictions of the winners advancing each week, but this one will be a challenge.  Both of these teams look primed to win it all, displayed by their unbeaten run through the playoffs.  One team will walk away the winner and be etched in Shalom League history while the other will have their great run to reflect on.  Regardless, congrats to both teams for making it to this point and my advice would be to enjoy the moment because you don’t know when or if you will be back at this point again.  So now to the game itself.

These two teams met back on August 16 in Allen on Field 2 where the Muckdogs earned a convincing 10-3 victory.  In this contest, the Muckdogs held the dangerous combos of Tyler Samsel and Air Loiben to just one hit.  The Goats were without Tony Martin and Zak Edgerton but sub Matt Martinez was solid in driving in 2 of the 3 runs they scored on two hits.  The Dogs, on the other hand, got bombs from Donald Prim and Miguel Duron to power them to victory.  Duron is on a tear in the playoffs, sporting a .857 avg with an eye popping 9 homers in just six games.  When breaking this one down, I first looked at who exactly the teams beat on their journey through the playoffs.  The Goats defeated the bottom seeded Lugnuts easily, then upset the second seeded Pirates in two and capped it off with taking care of the red hot Bulls in two.  The Muckdogs took care of the fifth seeded Royals with half the team made up of subs, then knocked off the two seed Rangers in easy fashion and finished by taking care of the top seeded Iron Pigs in just two games.  As far as seedings, the Muckdogs run was more impressive, however I feel the teams the Goats beat were paying much hotter softball when they played them.  The Dogs have scored a whopping 115 runs in six games, averaging out to 19 runs per game!  Couple that will only allowing just over 11 runs per game.  Although Prim and Duron are doing the heavy lifting, do not look past the other steady hitters all through this lineup.  The Goats, on the other hand, have scored 86 runs in 6 games which averages to just over 14 runs per.  They have allowed just 48 for an average of 8 runs per.  Two very similar teams that win in almost identical ways defensively and opposite ways offensively.  The Dogs will rely on the long ball more but can also base hit you to death while the Goats will use their speed to stress your defense into mistakes and take advantage.  They manufacture runs and back it up with solid defense.  Something has to give here as neither have list a game and faced elimination.  Will the team that loses game one be able to handle the stress of having their backs against the wall?  This will be a fun one to watch.  What a great way to finish an amazing season.

Keys to Victory:

Goats:  The key here is their top two hitters in the lineup.  They MUST get on base and create havoc.  They will need to take risks early on the bases and get the Muckdogs frustrated and make them chase.  Put pressure on their hitters to keep up and you have a shot.  They can’t allow the Dogs to get a big lead and play catch-up.  They aren’t built for that and it will be playing into the opponent’s hands.  Their pitcher MUST find a way to keep Duron and Prim in the park and to play base to base.  Their bottom has been solid all playoffs but you have to make them beat you. 

Muckdogs:  They MUST resist the urge to swing for the bombs because those will come.  If they can get up by five or so early, it plays to their strength.  We beat them once this year and ONLY because we scored 16 in our first at bat.  THAT is what they have to avoid.  You CANNOT chase their speed on the bases and make the smart play.  Don’t turn singles and doubles into doubles and triples.  They won’t hurt you with the long ball so much so make them earn every run. 

My Pick:  I honestly went back and forth all week on this one.  At the end of the day I have to go with my gut.  Having played the Muckdogs twice, I know how hard it is to beat them once, much less twice.  Although the Goats have played tremendous and are a legit contender, I just feel like the Muckdogs are built for this.  Credit Larry Goldstein for putting the core together and to Brooke Prim for fine tuning it and managing it through the season and playoffs.  I think they take this one and not even give the Goats hope.  MUCKDOGS IN 2.


The 2nd Annual HR Derby sponsored by Apligian Real Estate will take place immediately following the Championship Game.  All proceed will go to the family of Plano umpire Mario Reyes who was injured in a car accident with his wife.  Mario will also throw out the first pitch of the Championship series.  It would be awesome to have as many people out there as possible to say hi to Mario.