Storm going to Finals; Missions up by one

Lake Elsinore will join San Antonio in the Championship round after disposing Lancaster in four games. It was an impressive offensive display that got it done. The Missions, meanwhile, took the first game in the Texas League finals over Springfield, riding strong pitching and timely hitting.

San Antonio won 6-2 over Springfield [lead best-of-five, 1-0]

Josh Geer (1-) tied for the minor league lead in victories with 17 and picked up win number 18 on Tuesday, putting the Missions in front 1-0 in the best-of-five Texas League Championship series.

Geer allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out three over seven frames. Geer saw one runner reach scoring position over the first five innings before two runs crossed in the sixth. He has not walked a batter over 14 playoff innings and the San Antonio staff has walked just four over their first four games, holding the opposition to a .206 average.

Three pitchers combined to work two scoreless relief innings. The entire staff has posted a 1.50 ERA during the postseason and the pen has yet to allow a run over 10.1 innings.

Chase Headley reached base five times, going 1-for-1 with two runs scored, four walks and a solo homer. He had reached base three times in the opening series. The third baseman has hit two bombs and owns a .444 on base percentage after Tuesday's performance.

Peter Ciofrone capped a three-run first inning with a two-run blast to right and reached base four times with a pair of walks and two runs scored. He leads the club with five runs scored this postseason, playing three games at first base and one in the outfield. He did commit his first error of the postseason but it did not cost the Missions a run.

Lake Elsinore won 14-7 over Lancaster [win best-of-five, 3-1]

Facing the same team they shutout 30-0 on May 18, the Storm stuck the dagger in with another offensive barrage, advancing to the Championship round where they will face off against San Jose (Giants), winners in four games over Visalia in the North Division finals.

Every regular in the lineup had a hit and every regular also scored a run, as Lake Elsinore pounded out 19 hits with seven players recording multi-hit games. Seven players knocked in a run with four notching two RBIs or more.

The team has scored 60 runs over their first seven postseason games, notching 89 hits, batting .314 as a team. They have also drawn 34 walks for a .388 on base percentage.

"Our routine in batting practice – swinging at good pitches, doing our situational hitting, executing, and doing it right in batting practice so it carries over to the game," hitting coach Max Venable cited as the reason for the success. "Practice with a purpose."

Jose Lobaton went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and three runs scored, doubling his runs scored output since entering the playoffs. Lobaton scored four runs in an August 28 game. Lobaton hit .219 against the Giants during the regular season and had six hits in 24 at bats coming into this game.

David Freese had RBIs in the first two frames, adding a third during a seven-run seventh inning. He came into the game with six hits in 27 at bats this playoff season before going 2-for-5 on Tuesday. Freese tied with Kyle Blanks for the team lead in RBIs against San Jose with 10 with five of his 10 hits going for extra bases.

Jon Schemmel, playing in his first playoff game, got in on the action with two hits in four at bats while drawing a walk and scoring twice. The infielder, who joined the team from Triple-A Portland, has been on base in 10 straight games dating back to the regular season.

Cory Luebke (1-0) was dynamite, allowing all three of his hits in the fourth inning with a solo homer the only blow the opposition connected on. He surrendered the single run over 5.1 innings, walking two and striking out five. Luebke had been wild in his first outing, working from behind while allowing two runs, one earned, over two innings in a no-decision.

Lake Elsinore has won two California League Championships, in 1996 and 2001. The 2001 season was their first season as an affiliate of the Padres – similar to what San Antonio is trying to accomplish this season.


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