It might be argued that nobody is having a more enjoyable first half of the season than San Antonio manager Phillip Wellman. Two months after notching his 1,000th win, Wellman guided his team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. With a 6-4 win over Frisco and Midland's
It might be argued that nobody is having a more enjoyable first half of the season than San Antonio manager Phillip Wellman. Two months after notching his 1,000th win, Wellman guided his team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
With a 6-4 win over Frisco and Midland's loss to Corpus Christi, the Missions claimed the Texas League South Division first-half crown Thursday. The Double-A Padres affiliate punched a ticket with its sixth win in a row for and the ninth in the last 11.
Gameday box score
"I sensed that we had something special here a month into the season," Wellman said after the game. "We've had a lot of special moments in the first half. The guys are resilient, they never quit or give up and we've yet to have any prolonged losing streaks. They come to work every day and they got their big reward tonight."
After falling behind in the first inning, 1-0, San Antonio took the lead in the second on Alberth Martinez's two-run blast to center field. Frisco tied the game on a solo homer by Juremi Profar in the fourth, but Nick Torres' three-run shot in the sixth keyed a four-run frame to put the Missions ahead for good.
"We just continually grind and put pressure on the opposition," Wellman added. "I reminded them tonight that there's not a player in there that was popping corks that didn't contribute to this in some way. You just never know where the big play is going to come from with this team. I'm very appreciative of that."
As the game wore on, Wellman and the team couldn't help but scoreboard watch.
"I think the guys could kind of sniff it then and we could see the out-of-town scoreboard. Midland was down big, so the energy was terrific and we finished it off," Wellman said.
The Missions have taken advantage of dominant pitching through the first three months of the season. San Antonio leads the circuit in ERA (3.06), WHIP (1.18) and strikeouts (601). Kyle Lloyd threw the club's first solo no-hitter since 1979 on May 13.
"Obviously, if we didn't have the pitching we do, we wouldn't be where we are right now," Wellman said. "Like with any good team, our starting rotation has done a phenomenal all year in setting the tone and the guys in the bullpen have done a fantastic job. We've got some very reliable guys in that staff."
West Michigan's game against Bowling Green was canceled, but the Whitecaps clinched the Eastern Division first-half title with Dayton's 8-3 loss to Great Lakes. West Michigan leads the circuit with a 2.57 ERA and have two starting pitchers, Austin Sodders and Gregory Soto, with ERAs under 2.00.
Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com.