Sandgnats Buzz Out Of Wildcard with Game 5 Win

Updated: February 19, 2018


Sandgnats Buzz Out Of Wildcard with Game 5 Win
Updated: October 12, 2026 – 11:30PM CDT

By Howard Heskin, Staff Writer – Twitter @HowardHeskin1

After limping into the playoffs with a wildcard birth after losing perennial all-star starting pitcher Miguel Cantú to a season ending injury as well as offensive standout CF Jerry Long out to at least 3 weeks, the Sandgnats flew out of Palm Springs winning the deciding game of the 5 game series to face off against rival Aurora in the Divisional Playoffs.

This series would see swings back and forth with Jim ‘Bizarre’ Klein named series MVP. Mr. Bizarre, also known as Mr. October in Crystal Lake, posted stats of 10 hits in 19 at bats, 1 home runs and 5 RBIs for the series. The 31 year old Klein exudes that blue glow of purpose and is the Gnats’ field general. It’s hard to imagine that Klein only has 2 years left on his contract with Crystal Lake. We need to savor these days as we know, nothing lasts forever.

Game One would see the Codgers destroy the Gnats 8-1 to open the series. With the starting pitching line up on the fritz, Enrique Fonseca would get the start, only lasting one inning walking 3 and giving up 3 runs. The rest of the pen would break down giving up 5 more runs and the Gnats never had a chance scoring only one run on a Tony Parker solo home run. The pen would fall apart completely hitting 2 batters with pitches and committing 2 errors along with an error by Parker.

The Gnats would wake up in Game 2 winning 7 to 3. SP Dean McNeil pitched 6 strong innings with 5 strikeouts and no earned runs. Rob Raines would win the battle of the brothers with a grand slam in the 7th inning to place the game out of reach for the Codgers.

The series returned to Crystal Lake for Game 3 with a 7-1 victory. SP Jim ‘Nitro’ MacCowan pitched 6 innings with 10 strikeouts and only 1 earned run. The 6th inning would explode with Parker, Brown, and Uribe all driving in runs on singles to be followed by a 2 run triple by Juan Rincón.

The Codgers sent the game back to Palm Springs for game 5 with a 4-3 victory in game 4. Closer Josh Hall would take the loss unable to hold the game at 3-3 to give the Gnats the chance at a walk off.

Game 5 would see the Gnats take control with a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning and never look back with a 7-1 victory to take the series. Dean McNeil pitched 9 innings for the complete game victory giving up only one run, no walks and one strike out. Parker and Big Brother Raines chipped in each with 2 run, home runs.

“I’m very proud of these guys and the adversity we over came this series. Missing your top offensive and pitching MVPs from last season is no joke, but this team found a way”, stated Manager Joe Matterson. “We have more to go. Back to work.”

The Gnats now hit the road for the Division for a rematch of last season against Aurora.