By Joe Southern
The Sugar Land Skeeters played a game of brinkmanship with the York Revolution last week with five of six games being decided by a point and four of them being ninth inning turnarounds.
The lone game decided by more than one point was a 6-4 win by the Skeeters to start the series. Even the game before that against the Bridgeport Bluefish was a 6-5 nail-biter for Sugar Land. Highlighting the series was a dramatic, two-out walk-off grand slam by infielder Kevin Ahrens Thursday night to give the Skeeters a 7-6 victory.
“Man, that was really special. It was definitely the top moment in my baseball career. I mean you only dream about this as a kid in wiffle ball – bases loaded, two outs, the bottom of the ninth, down by three and you hit a grand slam – it’s pretty special,” he said. “It was my first walk-off grand slam and second walk-off homer in my career.”
The teams split the six games with the Revolution getting revenge for the grand slam by scoring the go-ahead runs in the top of the ninth in the following games Friday and Saturday. The Skeeters won Sunday 6-5, but not before the Revs rallied with two runs in the ninth.
“We played a really good six games here at home against a really good opponent and we battled for nine innings and hopefully we can take this win into tomorrow and have a good road trip and try to put us into position to make the post-season,” Ahrens said.
Sunday’s game was the last for outfielder Derek Miller, the son of Skeeters General Manager Jay Miller. He is retiring from the game to go to college to pursue a degree in business. The team honored him with a framed jersey after Sunday’s game.
The game was also the last home game for Dickie Thon, who will leave the team after the road trip, also to go to college. As a parting gift, Thon belted his one and only homer for the Skeeters Sunday evening.
Sunday started out rough for the Skeeters when second baseman Josh Prince was thrown out of the game after his second at-bat when he threw his helmet on the ground in disgust after striking out.
“It’s the first time I’ve been ejected for not saying anything,” Prince said.
He did have plenty to say to the umpire before leaving the field, but this is a family newspaper and we will not repeat what he said here.
The Skeeters released catcher Santiago Nessy on Sunday and also placed outfielder Cole Gillespie on the disabled list.
Pitcher Michael Nix leads the Atlantic League with a 2.26 ERA. He is followed by player/coach Jake Hale, who is fourth in the league with a 3.33 ERA. The two are in a seven-way tie for the league lead in wins with 9.
Ahrens and Anthony Giansanti have been the workhorses at the plate the last week. With 27 at-bats, Giansanti is averaging .333 with nine hits, five runs and a homer. Ahrens had 23 plate appearances with 10 hits, nine RBIs and a .435 average.
The Skeeters are on the road this week with four games at Long Island and three over the weekend at Southern Maryland. They return home Monday, Aug. 28, for four games with New Britain and three more with Southern Maryland. That leaves one more road trip and a last stand at home to end the regular season in September.
Upcoming promotional giveaways include a Skeeters lunchbox on Sept. 1 and a camo hat on Sept. 3.
Skeeter of the Week
It’s a rare treat for baseball fans to get to see a walk-off grand slam. In honor of delivering such a spectacle for Skeeters fans last Thursday, infielder Kevin Ahrens earns the Skeeter of the Week honors from the Fort Bend Star.