Rich Dauer’s 2013 Missions relied on pitching, clutch hitting

Sixth in a series on Texas League championships won by the San Antonio Missions during the Wolff Stadium era:


Big Picture: The Missions, led by first-year manager Rich Dauer, won the third title in the San Diego Padres’seven-year run as the parent club. It was also the sixth title in the Missions’ era at Wolff Stadium and the 13th overall. Keyvius Sampson, Matt Andriese and Matt Wisler led the league’s best pitching staff and set the stage for an unlikely hero – Johan Limonta – to deliver a big blow in the championship-clincher.

Regular-season record: 78-61

First half: 38-31 Second half: 40-30

Playoffs: 6-4. The Missions ousted the Corpus Christi Hooks and the Arkansas Travelers in a pair of best-of-5 series that went the distance, winning the clincher on the road each time.

Parent club: San Diego Padres

Manager: Rich Dauer, first season with the Missions.

Top players: Ray Fuentes (.316, 29 stolen bases), Tommy Medica (.296, 18, HR 57 RBI); Jake Blackwood (.259, 7 HR, 61 RBI). Keyvius Sampson (10-4, 2.26), Matt Andriese (8-2, 2.37); Matt Wisler (8-5, 3.00), Jeremy McBryde (4-4, 2.35, 15 saves, bullpen), Kevin Quackenbush (2-0, 0.29, 13 saves, bullpen), Leonel Campos (1-0, 0.88, bullpen).

Players who reached MLB: Pitchers — Matt Andriese, Eddie Bonine, Wilfredo Boscan, Leonel Campos, Jose De Paula, Josh Geer, Colt Hynes, Ryan Kelly, Kevin Quackenbush, Chris Rearick, Donn Roach, Keyvius Sampson, Burch Smith, Matt Stites, Matt Wisler, Clay Zavada. Position players – Cody Decker, Ray Fuentes, Rocky Gale, Jedd Gyorko, Austin Hedges, Tommy Medica, Rico Noel, Eddy Rodriguez, Cory Spangenberg.

Key team statistics: First in in the TL in batting average (.256), seventh in runs scored (562), eighth in home runs (85). First in earned in average (3.19), first in WHIP (1.186), third in strikeouts (1,088). Eighth in fielding percentage (.972), eighth in fewest errors (149).

Notable: After the Missions knocked off the Hooks in the first round of the playoffs, the parent-club Padres called up offensive star Tommy Medica to the big leagues. Johan Limonta, who started the season playing in an independent league in Pennsylvania, stepped into the breach and hit a grand slam in the championship series clincher. His fourth-inning blow was the difference in a 5-0 victory at Arkansas.

Quotable: “I mean, it didn’t bother anybody,” Dauer said, shrugging off the impact of Medica’s departure. “That team was consistently changing. But they were consistently pulling for each other … They were perfect for the park we played in. They became a very good defensive team and scored just enough runs (to win). We also had some outstanding pitching — starters and relievers. That always helps.”