Fifth in a series of stories on championships won by the San Antonio Missions during the Wolff Stadium era:
Big picture: Led by prodigious home-run hitters, talented pitching a lock-down defense, the Missions secured the TL title in record-breaking fashion, winning a minor league, season-best and franchise-record 100 games. The Missions hit 159 home runs, won both halves in the regular season and two rounds in the playoffs to finish with a 100-47 record for a winning percentage of .680.
Regular-season record: 94-46.
First-half: 49-21. Second half: 45-25.
Playoff record: 6-1. The Missions surge through two best-of-5 playoff series, downing Frisco 3-1 for the South Division title and then sweeping Arkansas 3-0 to win the championship.
Parent club: San Diego Padres.
Manager: Doug Dascenzo, second season with the Missions.
Top players: 3B James Darnell (.333, 17 HR, 62 RBI), CF Blake Tekotte (.285, 19, 67), RF Sawyer Carroll (.267, 18, 71), OF Jaff Decker (.236, 19, 92). P Casey Kelly (11-6, ERA 3.98), P Juan Oramas (10-5, 3.10), Jorge Reyes (10-3, 3.12), Brad Brach (23 saves, 2.25).
Players who reached MLB: Pitchers – Anthony Bass, Brad Brach, Matt Buschmann, Simon Castro, Robbie Erlin, Erik Hamren, Pedro Hernandez, Colt Hynes, Casey Kelly, Eddie Kunz, Miles Mikolas, Josh Spence, Nick Vincent, Joe Wieland. Position players – Dean Anna, Vincent Belnome, Kyle Blanks, James Darnell, Cody Decker, Jaff Decker, Rocky Gale, Jedd Gyorko, Nick Hundley, Bobby Kielty, Andy Parrino, Kyle Phillips, Daniel Robertson, Eddy Rodriguez, Ali Solis, Blake Tekotte.
Key team statistics: Second in batting average (.269), first in runs scored (801) and third in home runs (159). First in earned run average (3.43), first in WHIP (1.272) and first in strikeouts (1,087). First in fielding percentage (.980) and first in fewest errors (108).
Notable: The Missions opened the championship series at home against the Arkansas Travelers with two of the most dramatic victories in the team’s playoff history. In Game 1, they scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 5-4. In Game 2, they won 5-4 again. But this time, it took 20 innings – the longest playoff game in Texas League history. The Missions clinched the title with a 10-6 victory at North Little Rock.
Quotable: “It felt a lot like being in college. There was a lot of chemistry on this team. We had some new guys at mid-season after the call-ups, and they all fit right in. We didn’t have a bunch of superstars, just really good players who didn’t want to let their teammates down.” – Infielder Daniel Robertson told Express-News reporter John Whisler after the title-clinching victory.
Sources: samissions.com, expressnews.com, baseball-reference.com