River drenches Midland with clutch hits

By Pat Turner

River Stevens has been a thorn in Midland’s side in the early part of the season.

Going into the Sunday’s contest, the infielder owned a .467 average with six RBIs against the Missions’ Texas League South Division foe.

The punishment continued as Stevens led a 16-hit assault by driving in five runs during a 2 for 5 plate performance in the Missions’ 14-0 thrashing at Wolff Stadium.

Stevens’ first big hit was a bases-clearing double during a six-run third. He drilled his second home run of the season, a two-run blast, triggered a five-run charge in the sixth.

“I don’t know what’s been happening (against Midland),” said Stevens, who owns a .267 average overall and .417 mark against Midland. “I think it’s just one of those things. I take the same approach against whoever we’re playing. I’ve been fortunate to get the hits against Midland.”

For Stevens, who started the season in a 1-14 slump, the turnaround is feeling good. Even when the hits weren’t falling, he kept believing things would change. With a slight adjustment, everything fell into place.

He hopes to keep that way.

“I was talking to Welly (Missions manager Phillip Wellman) about my approach and hitting stance,” Stevens said. “I was leaning too far on my backside and not coming through. I changed that. Since then I am seeing the ball a little better.”

Stevens wasn’t the only San Antonio player shining. Offensively, recent Texas League Player of the Week, also haunted the RockHounds. The Missions catcher reached base every at-bat, walking once, while also smacking three doubles and a single that accounted for three RBIs.

Stevens and Austin Allen’s effort complemented the pitching of Logan Allen (no relation), who tossed a three-hitter with six strikeouts through seven innings.

Logan Allen (3-1) sent down the first 11 batters, before Tyler Ramirez reached on a two-out infield hit in the fourth.

Allen gave up singles in the next two innings, but his defense ended both threats by turning double plays.

After Allen departed, relievers Dillon Overstreet and Matt Strahm followed suit by keeping the shutout intact.

What made Logan Allen’s outing more comfortable was working with an early lead, thanks to the Missions’ six-run outburst in the third.

Josh Naylor’s two-run double in the third broke the scoreless tie. After a hit batsman and walk loaded the bases, Stevens brought them all home by roping a double to right. An error enabled Stevens to cross the plate.

That meant a great deal to Stevens, who flied out in the second inning with a runner at third.

“Today was good,” Stevens said. “My first at-bat wasn’t good. I was late on my swing, My next at-bat, I told Austin (Allen) if he got on base I was going to score him. It worked out.”

The Missions upped their lead to 8-0 in the fourth with more big hits. Fernando Tatis hammered a double to left and scored on Ty France’s single. Austin Allen belted an RBI double to center, causing Midland to call on Cody Stull to replace starter Corey Walter (1-3).

Another big inning came in the fifth as the Missions pounded Midland for five runs.

Austin Allen delivered a run-scoring double in the sixth, followed by Webster Rivas’ two-run double and Stevens’ two-run homer.

Allen brought home the Missions’ final run in the seventh with his third double.

“That was a great game,” Missions manager Phillip Wellman said. “Logan Allen was dominant. That set the tone. We didn’t execute early. We left a runner at third with less than two outs. We had guys picking it up later. They responded really well. We scored a ton of runs with two outs.”

For images of Mission games log onto https://echosportszone.pixieset.com/missons-rockhounds/

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