Four the third time in four years the Sugar Land Skeeters are playing for the Atlantic League championship against the Long Island Ducks.
This is the fourth-consecutive championship series for the Ducks, who have lost three in a row – twice to Sugar Land (2016, 2018) and once to the York Revolution (2017).
Sugar Land advanced by defeating the Revolution 3-1 in the best of five divisional series. Long Island advanced by sweeping the High Point Rockers. The championship series begins in Long Island on Tuesday and Wednesday. Game 3 is in Sugar Land on Friday and, if necessary, Game 4 and Game 5 will be played Saturday and Sunday at Constellation Field. Game time is 6:35 p.m.
Manager Pete Incaviglia said Long Island will be tough and feels his team will have to be at their best in order to win.
“We have to play fundamentally sound baseball,” he said. “Playoff baseball’s all about pitching, defense and timely hitting.”
Skeeters outfielder and team captain Anthony Giansanti said Long Island is a formidable foe.
“They are a fundamentally sound team,” he said, adding, “I think if we play our game … it’s really tough to beat us.”
Long Island had the best record in the Atlantic League this season at 86-54. The Skeeters were in the middle of the pack at 72-66.
The Skeeters are playing with a Come and Take It theme, as a nod to the Texas Revolution battle in Gonzales in 1835. Unlike that military victory, the Skeeters got off to a rough start by losing to the Revs 8-1 at home to start the series. The Skeeters rebounded 5-2 to even the series as it moved to York, Pa. There, the Skeeters took care of business by winning the next two.
“I don’t think things could have gone any better for us,” Incaviglia said. “We had great starting pitching out of both of our pitchers.”
“Troy Scribner pitched one of the best games I’ve ever seen,” Giansanti said. “That gave us some momentum.”
Scribner struck out 10 and surrendered an earned run across five innings in Game 3 for the win. Chase De Jong struck out seven across six innings in Game 4, but gave up seven hits. Matt West got the win in relief and Felipe Paulino closed the door for the save.
“York plays us tough,” Giansanti said. “It’s a rivalry with them filled with so much electricity.”
He said they have one of the toughest lineups in the league.
“We were just relentless. Whenever they scored, we came back,” he said.
Should the Skeeters beat the Ducks, it will be the first time they’ve been able to celebrate with the home fans. In 2016 and 2018 they won the title in Long Island.
“All our Champaign parties always seem to be on the road,” Giansanti said.
Freedom Division playoff
Revolution 8, Skeeters 1
Skeeters 5, Revolution 2
Skeeters 9, Revolution 1
Skeeters 5, Revolution 4
Liberty Division playoff
Ducks 8, Rockers 7
Ducks 8, Rockers 1
Ducks 3, Rockers 2