Lexington Legends

The Legends are about to play for a championship. See how they got there on Friday.

Lexington Legends catcher Sebastian Rivero (3) connected with the ball during the first game of the South Atlantic League Southern Division championship series against the Rome Braves Wednesday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. On Friday, the Legends beat Rome 6-0 to sweep the two-game series.
Lexington Legends catcher Sebastian Rivero (3) connected with the ball during the first game of the South Atlantic League Southern Division championship series against the Rome Braves Wednesday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. On Friday, the Legends beat Rome 6-0 to sweep the two-game series. aslitz@herald-leader.com

The Lexington Legends have been outspoken lately about their desire to bring home a title, and now they’re one step away from doing just that. After a 17-year drought, the Legends are finally headed back to the South Atlantic League championship series.

Winners of the SAL Southern Division second half, the Legends knocked off the first-half champion Rome Braves 6-0 on the road on Friday to complete a two-game sweep and punch their ticket to the best-of-five championship series that will begin next week at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

After Cal Jones homered in the top of the third for a 1-0 Lexington lead, Brewer Hicklen scored on a throwing error to push the advantage to 2-0 in the fourth. The Legends added four more runs in an eighth inning that included a one-out triple by Kyle Isbel and a two-run triple by Brewer Hicklen. MJ Melendez and Manny Olloque also each had an RBI in the inning.

Lexington, the Class-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, will face the Lakewood BlueClaws, whose parent team is the Philadelphia Phillies. The BlueClaws edged the Kannapolis Intimidators 1-0 on Friday to sweep that series.

Lexington will host the first two games on Monday, Sept. 10 and Tuesday, Sept. 11, both beginning at 7:05 p.m. Lakewood will host the third and, if necessary, fourth and fifth games.

The Legends’ only other appearance in the SAL championship series came during the club’s inaugural season in Lexington in 2001. That year, the Legends won the first two games over Asheville and were declared champions when the rest of the series was canceled in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. They returned to the playoffs in 2003 and 2006 but lost in the first round each time.

The Lexington Legends' coaches and staff say that 19-year-old Seuly Matias has the potential to be an MLB All-Star. Matias leads all of minor league baseball in home runs and was recently named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team.

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