It hasn’t been easy, but the Sugar Land Skeeters continue to notch wins and stay atop the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
The Skeeters started last week on the road, taking two of three games from the Somerset Patriots before returning home and doing the same with the New Britain Bees. At Somerset, the Skeeters got things rolling with a 5-1 victory. Konner Wade earned the win and Albert “Coco” Cordero was 3-4 at the plate with a double and an RBI.
James Russell got the win the next night as the Skeeters took down the Patriots 9-7. Derek Norris added the firepower by going 3-5 with a double and two RBIs. Felipe Paulino notched his league-leading 27th save of the season. The Patriots avoided the sweep on Thursday by defeating the Skeeters 11-9. Derrick Loop took the loss despite Denis Phipps going 3-5 and getting a home run and two RBIs.
On Friday night the Skeeters returned home to face some angry Bees. The Skeeters came into the series 10-2 against the Bees this season, going 6-0 at Constellation Field to start the season and 4-2 at New Britain Stadium. The Bees stung the Skeeters 8-3, handing Yasutomo Kubo his first loss. Matt Chavez was 2-4 at the plate and accounted for the three runs-batted-in.
The next night the Bees took the Skeeters through 10 innings before Phipps hit a walk-off homer. Skeeters manager Pete Incaviglia even brought in pitchers Wade and Russell to pinch-hit during the game. Vicente Campos got the win, giving Sugar Land its 70th victory of the season.
Wade outdueled New Britain’s Devin Burke, scattering five hits across eight scoreless innings to get the win. Both pitchers were scoreless before Daniel Robertson scored in the eighth to give the Skeeters the 1-0 win.
The Sugar Land Skeeters announced that they will host the Lancaster Barnstormers for a doubleheader on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Constellation Field. The doubleheader will make up for a rainout of the Skeeters’ series finale at Lancaster on Aug. 19.
Game 1 of the doubleheader will begin at 5:05 p.m., with gates opening at 4 p.m. Both games of the double-header will last seven innings, with Game 2 starting approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of Game 1. Entry to both games is included with the purchase of a ticket to Game 1.
The first 1,000 fans at Constellation Field on Sept. 1 will receive a Skeeters team card set, courtesy of Memorial Hermann Ironman. It will also be First Responders Night. Fans with valid first responders ID will receive two free tickets to the game and tickets can be picked up at the TDECU Ticket Office at Constellation Field.
This week the Skeeters play the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at home for three games and then host the Lancaster Barnstormers for four games. They hit the road next week for three games with the Blue Crabs and three with the Bees. After that they return home for the final home stand of the regular season with seven games against the Long Island Ducks.
By virtue of winning the first half of play in the Freedom Division, the Skeeters earned a playoff spot. Their first two divisional playoff games will be held on the road Sept. 18-19. The will Skeeters will host the third game Friday, Sept. 21, and the fourth and fifth games if necessary on Sept. 22-23.
The Atlantic League Championship will be played the following week between the Freedom and Liberty division winners. Should Sugar Land win the Freedom Division, they would host the first two championship games on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26. The last three games will be held at the home field of the Liberty Division champion.
The Skeeters welcomed back pitcher Derrick Loop on Aug. 21. Loop played for Sugar Land in 2015-2016. He set the team’s single-season saves record with 32 in 2016, not including four saves in the 2016 postseason as the Skeeters went on to win the Atlantic League title. Loop’s gone a combined 4-3 with a 1.66 ERA in 47 career appearances with the Skeeters. His 47 saves also stand as the Skeeters’ all-time record.
On Aug. 24, the Skeeters signed former Major League pitcher Michael Mariot. The 29-year-old spent the 2018 season thus far at the Double-A and Triple-A levels with the Kansas City Royals and Triple-A level with the San Diego Padres, going a combined 2-3 with a 5.47 ERA in 35 games (three starts). He made his Major League debut on April 11, 2014, with the Kansas City Royals and also appeared at the MLB level with the Royals in 2015 and Philadelphia Phillies in 2016.
Skeeter of the Week
Konner Wade (8-4) picked up two wins for the Skeeters this week, including pitching an eight-inning scoreless gem on Sunday against the Bees and pinch-hitting on Saturday to earn him the honors as the Fort Bend Star’s Skeeter of the Week.
2nd Half Standings
Sugar Land Skeeters 30-14-0
Lancaster Barnstormers 22-19-6.5
York Revolution 23-21-7
S. Maryland Blue Crabs 16-27-13.5
Long Island Ducks 29-15-0
Somerset Patriots 25-20-4.5
New Britain Bees 22-22-7
Road Warriors 8-37-21.5