LONG ISLAND DUCKS: GAME ONE FINAL
S. Maryland Blue Crabs 3
LONG ISLAND DUCKS 6
Ducks Lead Series 1-0
Best of Five
The Webbed Nine Employ An Old Formula in Tonight's Win Over Southern Maryland.
In one of today's tabloids (Newsday), today's Long Island starter Mike Loree revealed that upon signing his contract with the Pirates organization, he requested he be allowed to pitch with the Ducks during their post-season run. Of course, PITT kindly obliged. Mike said the guys in the Ducks clubhouse were a very tight bunch and that winning a Championship with them would be extremely special. The idea is to excel and graduate from a team like the Ducks; hopefully up into affiliated Baseball. But he wanted very much to be here; now; with the Long Island Ducks; where he pitched masterfully for them for most of the regular season, and now wants to see it all the way through.
Tonight was a step in the right direction. Mike Loree hasn't been quite the same dominant hurler he was prior to leaving the Ducks. Maybe lack of run support was to blame. But it shouldn't be anything to be too concerned about. Tonight, the Ducks had to settle for him just being damn good. He was looking a little hittable early on. Southern Maryland touched him for five hits and two runs over his first three innings pitched. But Long Island didn't leave him pondering a 2-1 deficit on the mound for too long. The Ducks scored five more times for Loree before the fourth inning even began.
In a sense, the game was a welcome return to a proven formula the Ducks relied on all season long. As Mike Loree set down opponents and accumulated scoreless innings pitch, the Long Island offense was busy building up handsome leads. The Blue Crabs actually out-hit the Ducks Wednesday 13-9; but Long Island was able to string theirs together consecutively and clearly more effectively. And Matt Padgett was able to turn up some power for good measure.
In the Ducks' home first and with one out, Ray Navarrete doubled, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. John Rodriguez; back in the clean-up spot; drove him home with a sac-fly to left for the first run of the game. The Blue Crabs followed that up by making Mike Loree sweat through a tough second inning with four hits leading to two earned runs and a Blue Crab lead.
But like I said, the lead was short lived. Long Island went to work against Southern Maryland starter; Virgil Vasquez in the bottom half of the second and effectively ended Vasquez' night. With one out, Matt Padgett blasted the first home run of the series to tie the game at two apiece. Three consecutive singles from Freddy Thon; Kraig Binnick; and Kinard Jones; and a Blue Crab throwing error allowed the Ducks' third run to score. Then Ray Navarrete grounded out but Kraig Binnick scored an unearned run on the play to make it a 4-1 game heading into the third.
John Rodriguez led off the home third with a single. J.R. House followed with another single. A fielder's choice hit into by Matt Esquivel made it first and third with one out. Then, Matt Padgett promptly singled to center driving in Rodriguez from third. Kraig Binnick came up and slapped another Ducks' hit driving in Esquivel for the Ducks' second run of the third inning and a 6-2 lead.
Mike Loree settled down. After the shaky start and striking out only one batter over the first three innings, he struck out three batters over his last three frames while allowing just three more hits and a walk after six completed trips to the mound. He left the game staked to a 6-2 lead as Coach Baez decided to go to his bullpen and put the ball into the hands of Jeremy Hill for the seventh.
Jeremy Hill kept the Blue Crabs quiet over his two innings pitched. Although he gave up three hits, he allowed Southern Maryland nothing more.
In to pitch the Long Island ninth inning came Jon Hunton. It was a strange call in my opinion. He was a late September acquisition who made three regular season appearances prior to the playoffs. He allowed the Blue Crabs to get within 6-3, but then shut down the remaining batters to face him; and striking out the last. A little bump withstanding; it was a good call....I guess. But I do question Coach Baez' trust in Bubbie Buzachero right now.
The Long Island Ducks win Game One of the Liberty Division Championship Series. Game Two of this best of five match-up is scheduled for Thursday evening at Bethpage Park, Long Island.
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September 22, 2011
LIBERTY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Best of Five
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (0-1)
LONG ISLAND DUCKS (1-0)
The Ballpark at Bethpage
LONG ISLAND, N.Y.