Summary: Despite losing their three top players to Double-A at mid-season, the Storm found a way to…
The San Antonio Missions completed their stellar season Friday evening with a 10-6 victory over Arkansas to seal their first Texas League championship since 2007. The Missions posted the top record in the full-season minors and finished the year with 15 more regular-season wins than any other Texas League club at 94-46.
After two nights of last-minute heroics, the Missions offense clinched the championship sweep with a seven-run sixth inning, fueled by six singles, a pair of walks and a hit batter. Eight different Missions scored at least one run on the night. The offense was paced by Cody Decker who blasted a two-run homer in the third as part of a 2-for-4 night, and Carlos Sosa's 3-for-5 performance. Decker was strong throughout the playoffs after missing most of the final three months of the regular season. The right-handed slugger hit .310 over the seven post-season contests with three homers and six RBIs.
Simon Castro claimed the victory as part of an impressive rebound over the final two months of the season. The big righty struck out a season-high 10 Travellers hitters over five innings of work. He yielded three runs on seven hits, but did not issue a walk. Although he had only thrown 77 pitches, he did not return after the Missions' long sixth inning. After a disastrous start to the year that included a demotion from Triple-A and a 7.31 ERA in July, Castro regained his mechanics and posted a 2.38 ERA over his final 30 innings of the season and then recorded 15 strikeouts against no walks in his 12 post-season innings. Don't be surprised if he is a late addition to the AFL roster after seeing his workload drop about 20 innings compared to 2010.
Elsinore walks off with 3-2 win
The Storm rode the legs of Jonathan Galvez to a 10th-inning walk-off victory over the Stockton Ports to claim a 3-2 victory Friday night and earn a 2-0 lead in the California League Championship Series. The club now heads to Stockton needing just one victory to claim the league title.
Galvez opened the 10th with an infield single. Ports third baseman Michael Gilmartin tried to rush a throw to get the speedy Galvez and wound up throwing it away, allowing Galvez to advance to second. Galvez advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Danny Payne then scored on a sacrifice fly by Reymond Fuentes.
The Storm offense was led by Edinson Rincon, who knocked a pair of doubles, including an eighth-inning drive that plated the tying run. The 21-year-old slugger, who returned to the club on September 1 after missing two months with injury, entered the game with just a .182 average and no extra-base hits in the playoffs.
Jerry Sullivan was solid on the mound, giving up two runs over 5.1 innings of work on six hits and one walk. The Oral Roberts alum struck out three. But it was the bullpen that set up the Storm victory, working 4.2 scoreless frames. Hayden Beard, Jeff Ibarra, Matt Lollis and Jason Ray allowed just three singles and kept the Ports in check.