Skeeters skid out of first place, keep playoff hopes alive

By Joe Southern
jsouthern@fortbendstar.com

Photo by Joe Southern Jeremy Barfield pops a foul ball during a recent game for the Sugar Land Skeeters. He own three of the team’s single-season records and is on pace to nab a few more before the regular season ends this weekend. Barfield has been named The Fort Bend Star’s Skeeter of the Week.

Photo by Joe Southern
Jeremy Barfield pops a foul ball during a recent game for the Sugar Land Skeeters. He own three of the team’s single-season records and is on pace to nab a few more before the regular season ends this weekend. Barfield has been named The Fort Bend Star’s Skeeter of the Week.

Three weeks ago the Sugar Land Skeeters were leading the Atlantic League in the second half with 28-16 record; holding a comfortable three-game lead over the York Revolution for first place in the Freedom Division and sitting just two games behind the Revs in overall standings at 63-51.

Since then they have gone a dismal 6-14 and have fallen a game and a half behind York and are just a game ahead of the New Britain Bees in the chase for the wild card spot in the playoffs.

On the bright side for the Skeeters, all of their remaining games are at home. The final home stand didn’t start well Monday night as the Skeeters were crushed by the Long Island Ducks 11-3. The last time the Skeeters gave up 11 runs they backed it up with 18 of their own in a wild shoot-out last Friday at the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

The Skeeters play two more against the Ducks and then end the regular season with a four-game series with the Blue Crabs. If the Skeeters make the playoffs, the division round starts Sept. 20.

The Skeeters’ push for the playoffs comes down to two races, one with the Revolution for the second half of the division and the other with the Bees for the wild card spot. York is 5-5 in their last 10 games and the Bees are buzzing at 6-4.

Skeeter of the Week

Jeremy Barfield has been one of the team’s best and most consistent players and now owns three single-season records for the Skeeters and is within shot of owning a few more. Prior to Monday’s game, Barfield had a six-game hitting streak and had hits in 17 of his last 21 games. During that time he was batting .461 with four home runs, three two-base hits, eight RBIs and nine runs.

Over the weekend he belted his 24th homer of the season and passed Koby Clemens for the single-season record. With 257 total bases he passed Ryan Langerhans’ record. He already owns the Skeeters multi-hit game record at 46.

With 150 hits, Barfield is seven away from the record set in 2013 by Adam Godwin. His 31 two-base hits have him four behind Bubba Bell’s 2012 record. He is third all-time behind Godwin in runs with 81 to 88 for Godwin and is third behind Delwyn Young’s 88 RBIs in 2014 with 80.

Barfield’s play and his chase for the record books makes him The Fort Bend Star’s Skeeter of the Week.

Promotions

The Skeeters are closing out the regular season with a bang. Friday night features post-game fireworks and a jersey auction. It is also Health and Wellness night. Saturday is Salute2Fans with Faith and Family Night and a scarf giveaway to the first 2,000 fans. Sunday Funday is Fan Appreciation Day with giveaways galore.

Transactions

The Skeeters placed Aaron Thompson and Josh Prince on the inactive list along with Ricky Hague, who has returned to college and only plays weekends. They also traded players to be named later for infielder Juan Martinez from the Lincoln Saltdogs and pitcher Mark Haynes from the Kansas City T-Bones (both outside the Atlantic League).

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