Skeeters take a beating, keep on leading

By Joe Southern
jsouthern@fortbendstar.com

Outfielder Joe Benson is hit by a pitch Friday night during Sugar Land’s 9-3 loss to the Lancaster Barnstormers.

The contenders came calling and the Skeeters took a beating but at the end of a long home stand, Sugar Land remained atop the Freedom Division standings of the Atlantic League.

The Skeeters just completed a 10-game home stand where they went 7-3, including a 5-1 run against the New Britain Bees and splitting a four-game series with second-place Lancaster Barnstormers. The Skeeters were 14-10 as of Sunday night, a game ahead of the Barnstormers (13-11, two ahead of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (12-12) and 4.5 up on the York Revolution (9-14). In the Liberty Division, the Somerset Patriots lead the league at 16-8, followed by the Bridgeport Bluefish (13-11), the Long Island Ducks (10-14) and the Bees (8-15).

The Skeeters took the first four games against the Bees before falling 7-6 on May 9. The Skeeters rebounded by winning 5-1 over the Bees in the last game of the series and then taking a 5-3 victory to open the series with the Barnstormers. Lancaster came back, however, blasting Sugar Land 9-3 before a packed house Friday night and again 11-9 on Saturday. The Skeeters tied the series Sunday with a 10-4 victory.

On Friday night, the Skeeters filled the stands with multiple promotions, including Memorial Hermann’s Pink in the Park, Girl Scout Night (and camp out), and post-game fireworks. The sideshows, however, were not enough to get the Skeeters a victory as Michael Nix gave up six runs in the first two innings and the Skeeters fell 11-9. During the game, outfielder Anthony Giansanti dove for a fly ball, but missed and fell on the warning track where he injured his right hand with deep cuts in the gravel. He is expected to be out several days. Joe Benson replaced him and was later hit by a pitch, but OK to keep playing.

The Skeeters were off on Monday and were scheduled to play four games in three days at Somerset, including a double-header on Wednesday. The double-headers continue for the Skeeters, as they play a pair of games at home against York on Saturday and again against Somerset on Tuesday. The Skeeters are home against York Friday through Sunday and then play three games against Somerset on Monday and Tuesday. They then get a rare two-day break before taking off to face York and Long Island to wrap up the month.

Transactions

Manager Gary Gaetti released catcher Chase Patterson and re-signed catcher Wilfredo Rodriguez, who was part of last year’s championship team. Pitcher Zech Zincola was placed on injured reserve and Michael Nix was placed on the inactive list. Gaetti signed right-handed pitchers Cameron Stanton and Travis Ballew.

Skeeter of the Week

Prior to getting injured in Friday’s game, Anthony Giansanti has been quietly getting the job done for the Skeeters, leading the team with a .346 batting average.

He has 28 hits and 13 runs in 81 appearances at the plate this season.

In Thursday’s game against the Barnstormers, he went 3-4 with two RBIs and was a double short of hitting the cycle.

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