Playoff baseball returns to Whitaker Bank Ballpark on Wednesday night for the first time since 2006 when the Lexington Legends take on the Rome (Ga.) Braves.
Game 1 of the best-of-three South Atlantic League Southern Division championship series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office or online at www.lexingtonlegends.com. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) will be played at Rome on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 6.
The Legends, an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, will be making their fourth playoff appearance in the franchise’s 18-year history.
Lexington shared the league championship with the Asheville (N.C.) Tourists in its inaugural season of 2001 when their title series was postponed as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
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The Legends returned to the postseason in 2003 and were swept in two games by the Lake County (Eastlake, Ohio) Captains in the Northern Division championship series.
In 2006, Lexington was eliminated in the Northern Division championship series by the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws in two games.
The Legends earned this year’s playoff berth by winning the second-half title in the Southern Division with a 39-29 record. Lexington closed the season with three consecutive losses but finished a game in front of the Greenville (S.C.) Drive. Rome won the first-half title with a 40-29 record.
For the full season, Lexington finished 76-60, and Rome was 71-65. The Legends won six of the teams’ 10 head-to-head meetings, going 4-3 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
The winner of the Lexington-Rome series will play the winner of the Northern Division series between Lakewood and the Kannapolis (N.C.) Intimidators for the South Atlantic League championship next week.
With the regular season over, here’s a look at the Legends’ 2018 offensive statistical leaders:
Batting average: Brewer Hicklen, .307
Home runs: Seuly Matias, 31
RBI: MJ Melendez, 73
Runs scored: Nick Pratto, 79
Hits: Nick Pratto, 136
Stolen bases: Brewer Hicklen, 29
▪ The Legends finished third in the league in team batting average (.258), first in runs scored (682) and second in home runs (137).
Rome at Lexington
What: Game 1 of South Atlantic League Southern Division championship series
Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark
When: 7:05 p.m.
Tickets: Box office or Legends’ website