Mission Complete Comeback, Walk-off in 12 Innings.

by Jose Bouquett

During a 140-game season breaks need to fall your way in order to have a successful season. On another windy Wolff stadium night, the Missions (43-26) took advantage of a massive mistake by the Reno Aces (29-39) and completed a comeback down to win 5-4.

Bubba Derby climbed the mound for the Missions coming off the back of season high six inning outing against the Las Vegas Aviators. Derby’s control failed him in Vegas and came back to bite him on Saturday night.

Derby issued four free passes in the first three innings including hitting the Corpus Christi Calallen Alumni Wyatt Mathisen.

Derby’s control doomed him and cost him one run in three consecutive innings. The first of which set up by a Keston Hiura throwing error that advanced runners to second and third base. Derby almost escaped the inning with a zero but Abraham Almonte’s single began the scoring for the Aces and gave them the early 1-0 lead.

The third inning was punctuated by Travis Snider clanging a ball off the scoreboard in right field to double the Aces lead to 2-0. The final of the three consecutive runs came in the fourth inning after productive outs allowed a leadoff single from Juniel Querecuto to turn into a 3-0 lead for the Aces after a Domingo Leyba single.

The Missions offense struck back and cut the Aces lead by two runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning. After being hit with a pitch, Cory Spangenberg began the Missions one out rally and advanced to second after Tyler Saladino’s single that followed. With two men on, David Freitas proved that he is a hitter manager Rick Sweet can rely on in a pressure situation.

“Quality at-bats,” Sweet said about his stud catcher. “He very seldom doesn’t have a quality at-bat… It doesn’t matter if the guy is throwing 98 or 78, does not matter. These guys know it too, if you get a runner on third and he’s up there hitting, probably going to score him.”

After four innings of offense, Derby and Aces starting pitcher Braden Shipley settled in and dominated for the rest of their outings. Shipley went seven innings, six hits, and only two runs allowed. Derby matched his outing with six strong innings, six hits, and three runs, two of which were earned.

Each bullpen traded zeros on the board until the ninth inning came for the Missions and they needed to build some kind of offense. Down to their final out, Troy Stokes Jr came to the plate and was hit by a pitch. Putting speed on base for San Antonio was vital as Stokes stole second base to put himself in scoring position for Lucas Erceg. Erceg hit a routine line drive that with the wind cut away from Aces right fielder Travis Snider.

“Mistakes happen,” Sweet said. “You don’t see that. That’s the first time we’ve seen that all year.”

Snider ranged over towards the ball seemingly about to make the routine play but he closed his glove early and the ball bounced away from him scoring Stokes from second and somehow tying the ballgame at three after nine innings.

The postgame fireworks scheduled for after the game made their presence during the game after a silent 10th and 11th inning.

Leyba finally broke the deadlock between the two teams in the 12th inning by leading off with a double that one-hopped the center field wall and scored the prepositioned Almonte from second base.

The packed crowd at the Wolff did not seem deterred as a large population filled the stands and asked for one more miracle in the home half of the 12th inning. Said miracle came in the form of two hits and a productive out. Jake Hager ripped a single through first and second base to move Stokes from second to third and put the tying run 90-feet away. Mauricio Dubon completed his three-hit night by singling again and tying the game back at 4-4. This brought up Nate Orf who, had the same opportunity to win the game in the 10th inning.

“Same mind set as I had a couple innings before,” Orf said. “Keep it simple, barrel up a ball. A couple innings before I just missed it, I got a pitch to handle and I just missed it. Take the same mindset and try to barrel up a ball.”

Barrel up a ball is exactly what Orf did as his deep flyball into left field proved to be the different as Dubon came around to score to game winning run and claim game one 5-4 in walk-off fashion.

“I’m going to tell you right now, I’ve been bored for the last 14 days,” Sweet said. “Doing American league baseball, anybody can do manage American League Baseball, Anybody… It was so fun, tonight’s the most fun I’ve had in two weeks.”

The 12-inning affair became the longest game via time and innings played for the Missions all year. This was also the first Missions walk-off win they have had since May 16 when Tyler Saladino hit a ground rule double to beat the Memphis Redbirds.

The Missions are back in action Sunday at 2:05 for a Father’s Day special in game two of four against the Reno Aces.

Final Score: 5-4 Missions

Game Notes:

  • Prior to Saturday’s game, David was hitting .486 with RISP and extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Longest hitting streak for him and the Missions this year.
  • The Aces defense was amazing throughout the whole game and their ability to track balls down in the outfield was outrageous, until the 9th inning.
  • The Aces tried to put five-men in the infield to try to stop Nate Orf from hitting a walk-off. It did not work.
  • Jake Lamb took part in the game in his sixth rehab game as he tries to return to the Diamondbacks.
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