2019 CRCBL Pitcher of the Year -- Chase Lee
Date: Aug 13, 2019
By Matt Cohen
GAITHERSBURG – Despite being only five games into the season, Gaithersburg Giants manager Jeff Rabberman knows he has a special group.
“It’s there,” Rabberman said to his team after the game. “I’m telling you it's there.”
After scoring just six runs over the first two games of the season, the Giants lineup continued to upgrade as more of the roster arrived.
In its last three games, the personnel changes have led the Gaithersburg offense as it finds a rhythm, scoring 35 total runs.
“It was up and down the lineup, it was all nine guys,” Rabberman said. “It was long to watch, but it was fun to watch.”
After falling behind early, the offense clicked once again for the Giants on Sunday night at Criswell Field as they came back and stormed past the T-Bolts, winning 13-6.
“This is special,” Rabberman said. “I think the kids see no matter who we put in, everybody is advancing at the same part right now offensively. Where we’ve been the last three games offensively and where we continue to go, it’s a mature approach.”
The Giants found themselves in an early hole as the T-Bolts scored four runs off starting pitcher Max Goron (UMBC) through the first two innings. Though he didn’t get much help from his defense. Shortstop CJ Mervilus (Grambling State) had a wide throw to first and catcher Tommy Crider (Belmont) allowed a passed ball, two plays that each led to a run.
After the three-run top of the second for T-Bolts, the Giants offense immediately began to claw back in the bottom of the inning.
The Giants were up 4-0 Saturday night against the Alexandria Aces before losing the lead, though the Giants would ultimately come back to win the game.
After falling behind 4-0 Sunday night, the Giants again had to come back. But it wasn’t pretty, far from it.
After scoring a run in both the second and third inning, the Giants batted around and rallied for four runs in bottom of the fourth inning. It all came without a single hit.
Brendan Collins (Radford) entered the game for Silver Spring-Takoma and never found his control. In his one inning of work he walked six batters and allowed all four runs, all earned. Two of the runs scored on wild pitches, and the other two on walks with the bases loaded.
The Giants scored for the fourth straight inning when Harris Williams (San Francisco) hit a line drive home run to right field to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. Cade Doughty (LSU) came around to score on a Crider single to increase the lead to 8-4.
Gaithersburg added four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as Doughty had an RBI single to right field, and Jared Johnson (Coastal Carolina) crushed a three-run blast to right field increasing the lead to 12-4.
“I knew, full count it was going to be a fastball coming more than likely,” Johnson said. “So I just sat on that. It was right down the middle, I didn’t miss it.”
Johnson made an immediate impact with his bat in his debut with the Giants. Quite literally, in fact.
On Johnson’s first swing, he flung his brand-new bat beyond the first base bag down the right field line.
But he didn’t let the bat slip again, and after a week since his Coastal Carolina team’s season ended, Johnson went two-for-three in his debut with four RBIs along with three walks. He hit a double and a three-run home run.
Doughty is the CRCBL’s highest rated prospect, getting early second day MLB Draft attention coming out of high school. Though Doughty ultimately chose before the draft began that he would sign with LSU and pass on the MLB for now. That decision ensured he would come to Gaithersburg for the summer before heading to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Doughty has quickly showcased why he was rated so highly, starting his season with a .571 average over his first four games. Against the T-Bolts, Doughty went four-for-four with two walks, an RBI and four runs scored.
“You put him in the three hole, good things are going to happen,” Rabberman said. “He’s a special dude. He’s really good.”
The Giants improved to 4-1 with the win and moved to a tie atop the CRCBL with the D.C. Grays. Silver Spring-Takoma drops to 2-3 with the loss, having been unable to capitalize on the momentum it gained with its win over Bethesda on Thursday night.