By Pat Turner
The Missions were looking to begin their trip down the road to redemption during Tuesday’s second half opener.
Instead, the nightmare the Missions encountered after seeing their Texas League South Division first-half title hopes fizzle during the final four games, carried over in a 9-6 zapping from Corpus Christi at Wolff Stadium.
In winning their sixth straight, the Hooks, who captured the title after winning Monday and Tuesday’s contests, added salt to the wound by braving through two rain delays, while overcoming four-run and two-run deficits with late offensive heroics and a little help from the Missions.
Corpus Christi got another big lift from Taylor Jones, whose solo home run in the seventh broke a 6-6 tie and put the Hooks in the lead for good. In addition, Yordan Alvarez, who is 7 for 15 in the series with five RBIs and two home runs, caused more grief for the Missions with a 3 for 5 outing that included an RBI.
The Hooks got another bonus when Randy Cesar extended his hitting streak to 36 games with an infield single in the ninth. If Cesar follows with a hit in Wednesday’s finale with the Missions, he’ll tie the Texas League record belonging to Bobby Trevino of El Paso set in 1969.
The Missions, whose five-game losing streak began with setbacks to Frisco, had enough offense to pull off the victory as they equaled the Hooks’ hit total (12). However, the pitching had its issues and the defense struggled with three errors, two leading to Corpus Christi’s insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
The outlook for the Missions appeared favorable in the first. Cal Quantrill had a three-up-three-down frame and the Missions pushed across three during their time at the plate.
The Missions loaded the bases with a walk and hit batsman, along with Webster Rivas’ single.
Kyle Overstreet lined a two-run single to center and Michael Gettys added an RBI single.
Doubles by Peter Van Gansen and Taylor Kohlwey provided San Antonio a run in the third for a 4-0 lead.
Then came the first rain delay that halted the game 17 minutes. When play resumed, Corpus Christi loaded the bases in the fourth with a chance to do serious damage. But the only run crossing the plate came on a sacrifice fly.
That Hooks were more proficient in the fifth. Doubles from Lorenzo Quintana, Chas McCormick and Stephen Wrenn led to two runs, before Alvarez tied things up with a single up the middle.
The Missions regained the lead with two runs in the fifth. Singles by Overstreet, Van Gansen and Gettys loaded the bases.
Kohlwey then sent a liner deep to right-center. Wrenn caught the ball on the track, but it was good enough to send Overstreet home. A key move came from Van Gansen and Gettys, who moved to second and third on the play.
Van Gansen then scored on a groundout to improve the Missions advantage to 6-4.
This lead disappeared like the previous one as the Hooks tied the score with Anibal Sierra’s two-run double in the sixth.
The second rain delay occurred in the bottom of the sixth. When play resumed, the Hooks came back strong again, taking a 7-6 lead Jones’ towering home run off Erik Johnson.