ADELANTO, Calif. - The Stockton Ports had been in a recent funk without their star shortstop Addison Russell, who'd been sidelined 10 games with a hand injury. After making his official return to the lineup on Sunday, Russell announced his presence in a big way on Tuesday, hitting a pair of home runs and playing stellar defense as the Boys of Banner Island defeated the High Desert Mavericks by a final of 8-2.
Russell got the Ports off to a fast start in the first inning. With one on and nobody out, he hit a two-run homer off Mavericks starter Matt Anderson (2-2) to give the Ports a 2-0 lead.
Ports starter Raul Alcantara (4-2) gave up a one-out single to Nate Melendres in the first and then yielded a two-run homer to Kevin Rivers that tied the game at 2-2. Alcantara, however, would give up only two singles after the first inning and to on to retire the last 10 batters he faced as he earned the win. Alcantara did not allow a walk and struck out eight.
Stockton's offense took charge in the fourth as they broke the 2-2 tie. B.A. Vollmuth worked a leadoff walk and, after Anderson recorded back-to-back strikeouts, Bruce Maxwell lined an RBI double to right to put the Ports back in front 3-2.
Anderson went four innings and allowed three runs on two hits while walking three and striking out five in a losing effort.
Jeremy Dobbs took over for the Mavericks in the fifth and loaded the bases on a single and two walks. With the bases loaded and two outs, Tony Thompson hit a bases-clearing triple to make it a 6-2 Ports lead. Those were the only runs allowed by Dobbs in two innings of relief.
The Ports added another run in the seventh off Seon Gi Kim on a one-out RBI double by Vollmuth to stretch the lead to 7-2. In the ninth, Russell led off with his second home run of the night, this time off Mavericks reliever Grady Wood, to stretch the lead to 8-2.
Russell went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs and three runs scored for Stockton.
The Ports and Mavericks will play the middle game of their three-game set on Wednesday at Mavericks Stadium. Josh Bowman (3-4, 6.79 ERA) will make the start for Stockton, opposed by High Desert right-hander Jordan Pries (6-5, 4.79 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.