NEW BRITAIN - With their home in Texas already facing record flooding related to the remnants of Hurricane Harvey and a forecast calling for a continuing deluge, the Sugar Land Skeeters made an unexpected trip to New Britain this week for a series originally scheduled for their home field.
The Skeeters declined to talk about the situation on Monday, but New Britain’s Jonathon Griffin said his prayers are with them.
“It’s been a lot of rain right now and hopefully Harvey can move out of there,” he said.
Yet his sympathy for the visitors did not stop Griffin from hitting a late two-run homer that propelled the Bees to a 3-2 victory in the opener of the four-game series.
His shot pushed the Bees ahead with one out in the top of the ninth, after they had trailed since the bottom of the sixth inning.
“It always feels good to hit a home run,” Griffin said, “especially that one, just because we were down and it ended up being the game-winning hit, so that always feels good.”
New Britain starting pitcher Casey Coleman threw five innings of two-hit shutout baseball, but Sugar Land’s Anthony Giansanti broke the scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the sixth inning against reliever Brandon Shimo.
Meanwhile, Sugar Land starter Sean Gleason kept the Bees off the board until Yusuke Kajimoto delivered an RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning.
“Both starting pitchers threw a heck of a ball game,” Griffin said.
A single by Jovan Rosa leading off the ninth helped set the stage for Griffin’s home run.
“It was [flying by],” Griffin said. “We really filled out the zone well and then we started to put together something in the ninth. I finally got a pitch that I could do something with.”
While the games were moved to New Britain, the Skeeters are serving as the home team. It’s a change of pace for the Bees.
“It’s very weird being the away team [at New Britain Stadium],” Griffin said. “We all didn’t know the inning and how it was going to play out, but it was very weird, being the visiting team at our home dugout.”
Sugar Land, Texas, is located less than 20 miles southwest of Houston, in an area expected to potentially receive more than four feet of rain from the storm that has remained stationary over the area after coming ashore as a category four hurricane, submerging the city’s roads and forcing thousands of people from their homes.
In lieu of tickets, the Bees are asking any fans that are attending the series to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund.
Chris Knoblock, the Bees’ Director of Media Relations, said there is no specific goal in mind.
“Anything we can raise is a benefit,” he said.
The decision to do donations instead of tickets was suggested by the New Britain Bees’ ownership group. The Bees’ staff will be collecting donations at each game during the series. Fans can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 in support of the American Red Cross’ disaster relief efforts in Houston and the surrounding area in Texas affected by the hurricane.
The Bees will play Sugar Land in a seven inning doubleheader today starting at 12:05 p.m., with Wednesday’s series finale also slated for 12:05 p.m.
Griffin said the Bees will have the same approach going into today’s game and the rest of the series: “Just take it one pitch at a time.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at 860-801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org