GAITHERSBURG, Md. – In just the seventh year of the Gaithersburg Giants’ existence, coach Jeff Rabberman has formed a pipeline with LSU.
Daniel Cabrera, Saul Garza and Gio DiGiacomo have all played for Gaithersburg, a destination that was easy decision for Cade Doughty.
As Doughty prepared for his final season at Denham Springs High School, his future LSU coaches recommended Rabberman and the Giants. His coaches also gave him the option of playing in the Prospect League, located in Ohio.
But baseball wasn’t the only reason Doughty picked Gaithersburg. Doughty and his brother Braden would get to play on the same team.
“It’s the easiest decision, especially for my parents,” Doughty said. “To come only to Maryland and not have to travel somewhere else if we were playing in different summer leagues.”
Doughty would be the next Tiger in line.
The Giants are one of six teams in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, a college summer league located in Washington D.C. and the surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia.
Doughty is facing college pitchers every game in the Ripken League, something he didn’t have in high school.
“I enjoy facing greater competition that makes me step up,” Doughty said. “I’ve been seeing the ball really well and I hope to continue the success the next half of the season.”
Doughty has quickly made the jump.
In fact, Doughty’s transition has been seamless, finding the success he’s known his whole life.
After his first two games Doughty had a .600 average. His average dropped below .430 for just two days during his first 14 games. It only dropped below .400 once in all of June. He’s spent much of the summer with the league’s second-best batting average.
Throughout the first half of the season Doughty was in contention for the triple-crown. He was in the top three for batting average, home runs and runs batted in – serving as a bright spot for an offense that has struggled throughout the summer with a league worst .235 team batting average.
Through play of July 9, Doughty’s batting .358 for third best in the league. His four home runs are tied for third as well. Doughty has 18 RBIs, the seventh best mark in the league.
“I’ve had some struggles the last couple games, but I’m just trying to keep my head on straight, keep using the barrel to all fields and it’s been working out pretty well,” Doughty said.
His first half performance made him a clear All-Star selection. He was second in the Ripken League MVP race at the midway point of the season.
“That’s definitely the goal always, to be the best person on the field,” Doughty said of being named an All-Star.”
Doughty started as the designated hitter for the Maryland All-Stars in Wednesday’s All-Star game, a collection of the top players from the Giants, Bethesda Big Train and Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. His team won the game 12-3, and in the midst of such a big night at the plate for his team, Doughty stood out.
Doughty had three hits, two RBIs, scored a run and didn’t strike out in five plate appearances.
In the bottom of the first inning Doughty drove in a Giants teammate for the game’s second run. He came to the plate twice as part of a sixth-run third inning and in his second at bat Doughty picked up his second RBI.
When it came time to decide on whether to attend LSU or entertain interest from Major League Baseball, Doughty made up his mind he wanted to forego the draft the night before it began.
As other players packed to head to their new cities, Doughty packed for Gaithersburg. He decided he wasn’t ready for professional baseball and wanted to develop his game in Gaithersburg like many Tigers have before him.
Doughty wanted to attend LSU and play for the Tigers alongside his brother Braden and has played shortstop and third base with the Giants this summer in preparation for an infield competition at LSU.
While Doughty has found success at the plate, his team has struggled with consistency. The Giants are in fourth place at 10-13 overall, though just two games back from a first-round playoff bye.
Doughty’s hopes for the summer, however, are more than just his own development. He wants a team accomplishment as well.
“We’re not done yet,” Doughty said. “Hopefully we can bring back the championship.”