Sometimes great matchups live up to the hype. That was not the case in week 5 of regular season play in the ISWB league.
MVP frontrunner Brendan Dudas and first-year sensation Drake Capps dominated at the plate and on the mound to lead the Sand Gants (13-2) in a 3-game sweep of the Skeeters (9-7). The Gnats outscored their opponent 22-4, never trailing in the most dominant performance by any team this season.
The showdown was billed as a battle for control of the one seed in playoff positioning and a potential championship preview. Each player on both teams qualified for the All-Star game and close friendships between the two teams seemed destined to create three games worth of competitive thrillers. The Sand Gnats, it should be noted, were missing leadoff hitter Keegan Caughey, which took away slightly from the series.
Caughey is currently celebrating his 21st birthday with an alcohol-fueled gambling binge in Las Vegas. A few sources, although not entirely conclusive, say he plans to carry on his charade in Jamaica before returning for the ISWB All-Star game July 10.
Reporters attempted to contact Caughey, but he declined to comment, stating that he needed to focus on his hand in blackjack.
The Gnats took game 1 in the most heated battle of the day 11-3. Skeeter ace Dillon Douthitt struggled with control, walking 12 batters. The Sand Gnats took advantage quickly, Dudas and Capps each had 5 RBIs and Dudas regulated the Skeeter’s top ranked offense, never giving them a chance to rally.
Capps threw a gem in game 2, striking out 11 and allowing one earned run in a 6-1 victory. Dudas contributed another 5 RBIs in the victory.
After the win, Capps seemed more excited about other things.
“Honestly, I’m happy we won, but I’m pretty pumped about selling my Xbox,” he said.
After Capps’ sensational game 2 performance, Dudas followed it with a no-hitter en route to a 6-0 game 3 victory. The Sand Gnats other player, the slightly productive and often ridiculed Josh Hart was a non-factor in the first two games, looking as shaky as he did on his first day of high school at the plate. But after a discounted home run in game 2 due to a batting order error, he woke up for the last game, hitting a 2-run homer to top off a 3-hit game.
The day can be summarized in one play for each team during game 2. With good contact, a deep flyball from the Skeeters headed toward the fence, Hart went for the catch, only for it to drop off his hands, right into the outstretched arms of Dudas for an easy snag.
Dudas was enthusiastic with the play of his team.
“I thought this was the best ball our team has played all year. Both teams were playing really hard and competitively, but we came together even without Keegan in our lineup. Really, we’re just two plays away from being undefeated, but we need to stay level. The playoffs are coming and that’s what truly matters,” he said.
Skeeter stud, MVP canidate, and resident Abercrombie and Fitch model Blake Voris expressed frustration on the day.
“This might be the most painful day of my life in terms of losing something I wanted. Except for maybe losing prom king senior year, this might be at the top,” he said.
The Sand Gnats left The Dirtyard Thursday feeling great about their performance; however, a looming rematch remains in the postseason, one that likely promises more powerful offense and competition from the Skeeters.
Regular season wins only mean so much, and in the playoffs, anything can happen.