The Sugar Land Skeeters are back for an encore.
The Skeeters (72-66 overall), who won the Atlantic League championship last year, ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak and began this week six wins away from repeating as league champions. They began a best-of-five Freedom Division Championship Series against the York Revolution (75-65) on Tuesday, with Game 2 scheduled for Wednesday. The rest of the series will be in York, Pa.
The winner will face the victor of the Liberty Division playoff between the Long Island Ducks and the High Point Rockers.
“I’m always going to say we’re going to win. I put everything on my team,” Skeeters catcher Albert “Coco” Cordero said. “We’ve got a good team. We’ve got a good bullpen and pitchers. They’ve got a good team and we know that, so it’s going to be a really good series, really tight, but hopefully we give everything to win the series.”
The Skeeters are 11-9 against York this year and 100-68 all-time, including the playoffs. The Skeeters have defeated the Revs in the playoffs in 2014 and 2016 and hold a 6-3 playoff edge.
In 2016, the Skeeters swept the Revs and the Long Island Ducks to win the Atlantic League. The Skeeters failed to make the playoffs in 2017, and the Revolution defeated the Ducks for the championship. Last year the Skeeters won their second title and sent the Ducks to their third straight championship series loss.
This year mirrors 2016 in many ways. The Skeeters were 35-35 in the first half of both seasons, only this year it was good enough to win a playoff spot. The Skeeters are once again underdogs to the surging Revs. Should history repeat itself and the Skeeters advance, they are likely to face the Ducks, who were the best team in the league this season with an 86-54 record.
Before the Skeeters can think about defending the championship, they must first take care of business in the divisional playoffs.
“York has a solid team. They’ve been a solid team throughout the year,” Skeeters third base coach Lincoln “Juice” Gumbs said. “I don’t take anything away from them. They won the second half, we won the first half, and we will meet each other in the playoffs, and we’ll do battle. I like our chances against any one of the teams in the playoffs. I like our chances more so against York because we match up well against them. So they have a really good hitting team. It’ll be a good match-up. We’ll be ready to go.”
Skeeters broadcaster Ryan Posner feels the Skeeters are in a prime position to win the series.
“The thing you want that you’re focused on mostly is health. Luckily, we’re in a good spot right now. Rico (Noel) and Juan (Silverio) have been kind of battling their own injuries
and having them both back in the lineup is a huge boost,” he said. “Wyn Bernard and Albert Cordero have absolutely paced us. To go along with that, Anthony Giansanti has been like Anthony Giansanti that last second half of the season.
“So you factor all that in and you’ve got guys like (pitcher) Mike Hauschild who we added late – (manager) Pete (Incaviglia) does that all the time where he gets guys like last year he got Tony Thomas – but this year it’s Mike Hauschild, it’s Wyn Bernard, he’s added these guys late and they’re going to carry us through the postseason.”
To start things off with their “Come and Take It” theme for the playoffs – a tribute to the 1835 Battle of Gonzales, the first military engagement of the Texas Revolution – the
Skeeters are planning to make some noise.
“We’re going to have folks re-enacting the Battle of Gonzales from a standpoint of being there and showing what they wore during that time period,” Skeeters president Christopher Hill said. “We’re going to have a cannon that’s going to shoot off multiple times during the game, so it’s going to be fun and something different.”
Game times throughout the playoffs at Constellation Field will be 6:35 p.m. Should the Skeeters win the divisional round, the first two games of the championship will be on the road. Game 3 and games 4-5, if necessary, will be at Constellation Field on Oct. 4-6.
Skeeter of the Week
Catcher Albert Cordero had a walk-off single on Friday, a home run on Saturday and a three-run double on Sunday to lead the team and earn Skeeter of the Week honors.
Atlantic League Second Half Standings
Wins – Losses – Games back
York Revolution 41-27-0
Sugar Land Skeeters 37-31-3
S. Maryland Blue Crabs 33-37-8
Lancaster Barnstormers 27-43-14
Long Island Ducks 43-27-0
New Britain Bees 37-34-6.5
High Point Rockers 33-36-9.5
Somerset Patriots 27-41-15
Bees 6, Skeeters 5
Patriots 8, Skeeters 6
Skeeters 5, Blue Crabs 4
Skeeters 3, Blue Crabs 2
Skeeters 8, Blue Crabs 5