From the desk of: WADDLING THROUGH BROOKLYN
ATLANTIC LEAGUE WEEKEND RECAP; LIBERTY DIVISION RACE:
South Maryland and Lancaster needed extra innings Saturday.
The Ducks had everything under control out in Bethpage Park Saturday making Lancaster versus the Blue Crabs as the game to keep tabs on.
In Lancaster, the Crabs put together three hits back in the second to build a 2-0 lead. Lancaster tied it up at two each in the fourth. In the top of the fifth, the Crabs scored on a passed ball. And in the eighth, the Blue Crabs scored their fourth run on a sacrifice fly to give the Crabs a 4-2 lead.
South Maryland starter Virgil Vasquez was making strides towards a possible complete game. He made it through seven innings, staying out of trouble after allowing Matt Watson of Lancaster to touch him for a two-run home run in the fourth. But Vasquez kept the Barnstormers quiet otherwise. It was decided he'd gone far enough while still owning a 4-2 lead in the eighth. Blue Crab relief pitcher, Steve Palazzolo entered the game in relief of Virgil Vasquez.
And it was Crab's Steve Palazzolo who was the charitable one in relief. He promptly relinquished the Blue Crabs' lead in the eighth inning by allowing Lancaster two runs on two hits; throw in an error by the catcher, and a walk.
They went into the ninth inning tied at four apiece. The Blue Crabs did not score in their top half. Charlie Manning came in to pitch for S. Maryland to end Lancaster's last licks. Manning pitched a scoreless ninth walking one and striking out another.
While the fans in Lancaster were getting treated to extra inning free baseball, the Long Island Ducks were pounding the Somerset Partiots mercilessly in Bethpage Park Saturday night. A Ducks win and a Crab loss would give Long Island sole possession of first place again. But in Lancaster, the tenth inning came and went without incident as did South Maryland's top half of the eleventh inning.
Then finally, in the bottom of Lancaster's home eleventh inning, came the big news the Long Island Ducks wanted to hear. Lancaster scored and defeated the South Maryland Blue Crabs 5-4 Saturday night in eleven innings.
Sunday, South Maryland Kept the Game Close, But Faired No Better.
The final score in Lancaster Sunday evening was Lancaster Barnstormers 3; South Maryland Blue Crabs 2.
But the damage was done the night prior. The Ducks had their taste of first place; liked it; and pounced all over Somerset two nights running. South Maryland meanwhile is realing right now while the Duck have gone full blown Mighty. South Maryland had now dropped down to third place.
LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Webbed Feet Gone Wild!
DUCKS SWEEP PATRIOTS
RAY NAVARRETE TOUCHES ANOTHER MILESTONE
The Long Island Ducks went hog-wild on the Somerset Patriots all weekend long. Between Saturday and Sunday, the Ducks defeated the Patriots twice by a combined score of 31-11.
On Saturday, the Ducks went airborne. In wave after wave, they made it rain runs all game long to the tune of a 20-8 Long Island carpet bombing of the Patriots. Keeping score of the game would have made anyone's scorecard look like the bottom of a bird cage; in other words, a complete mess.
The Ducks smashed five home runs Saturday on their way to scoring twenty runs. Scoring seven runs alone in the first inning should have served as a bad omen for the Somerset Patriots. And as it played out, as suspected, it got quite ugly for the Patriots.
The Ducks enjoyed a very prosperous beginning in Saturday's game against Somerset. There was the seven run first and after two innings of play, the Ducks had an 8-0 lead. The Patriots scored four runs in their half of the fourth, but the Ducks came back with a pair in their half to put them up 10-4. In the seventh inning, both teams exchanged a pair of runs again updating the score to 12-6.
Then the scorecard goes kaplooey. The final was 20-8. But more importantly it gave the Long Island Ducks a firmer hold on first place in the Liberty Division.
Sunday, while South Maryland was losing a close one to Lancaster, the Ducks just picked up where they left off. They completed a three game sweep of Somerset and won their fifth game in a row all at home.
Ducks starter Ruddy Lugo got touched for 10 hits in five innings pitched. But he limited Somerset to 3 earned runs. Down 3-0 early, the Ducks' offense picked up their pitcher Lugo's tough start, tied the score, and gave him four more runs before handing the game over to the bullpen for the final four innings. Somerset's Bill Pulsipher got roughed up for Long Island's seven run answer within his four innings pitched.
Ray Navarrete hit his 6th home run of the season as the Ducks continued their drubbing of the Patriots on their way to another double-digit scoring day. This time they defeated the Patriots 11-3 in front of another packed house in Bethpage Park. Also, Ray Nabarrete just put another dent in the Ducks' record books. After becoming the Long Island Ducks all-time hits leader earlier this season, he ties the same player; Justin Davies; on the Ducks' all-time runs scored list with 426.
Kraig Binick crept up and away from the .400 mark and has his batting average back up to .409 again.
The Ducks indeed got healthy at home after a dismal road trip. They've recaptured first place and are hotter than tube sox in a Fireman's boots right now. They've managed to shake off the South Maryland Blue Crabs for the moment after running neck and neck with them for a week or so. But with them out of the way, the Bridgeport Bluefish have now appeared to occupy second place. They trail Long Island by only half a game as of Monday morning.
The Ducks are heading back on the road now. Hopefully they will have a better go of it this time around.