Saturday, October 01, 2011

L.I. Ducks ~ Facing Elimination in Game Four

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

LONG ISLAND DUCKS:  York Revolution Use Long Ball to Remind Ducks they are a Long Way from Home.

The bullpen had gotten pretty taxed in Thursday night's game.  So, Bob Zimmerman was forced to fight through getting smacked around to the tune of a five run deficit after just four innings on Friday.  And for the Ducks' line-up, the zeroes kept mounting.  They were up to nineteen innings since the last time they scored after all their efforts to get themselves into the Championship Series.  Long Island hadn't scored a run since the third inning of Game One.  And with one hit through the first four innings of Game Three, the Ducks upped their tally of hits to eleven in twenty two innings played to this point in the series.

But after Matt Padgett led off the fifth with a single, a Matt Esquivel home run finally plated the Ducks a pair of runs and seemingly changed the whole complexion of the ballgame.  Suddenly, the Ducks found their stroke again.  Javier Colina's RBI single, and John Rodriguez' two RBI double tied the game at five apiece.

The Ducks now had a new ballgame on their hands.  And after getting taken off the losing side of the ledger, Bob Zimmermann responded in kind.  In the bottom half of the fifth inning, he was finally able to retire the Revolution in order for the first time all game.

Game Three was now a four inning affair.  The Ducks turned confidently to their bullpen, which has been a season long strength of theirs, to keep them in the game and buy the line-up more time to complete the comeback.

Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.  Every pitcher out of the bullpen in Game Three surrendered runs.  The first man out of the Ducks' pen was Jason Monti.  He promptly surrendered a run to York in the sixth inning to put Long Island behind again.  Then in the bottom of the seventh, Game Three started to slip away from Long Island.  With Jeremy Hill on the mound, York added two more runs to increase their lead to 8-5.

The Ducks' awakening from their offensive slumber turned out to be just a fleeting disturbance in the night.  Matt DeSalvo put Long Island's bats right back to sleep; returning their line-up into a stream of hitless at-bats and scoreboard zeroes.  And so much for Long Island not facing Matt DeSalvo this series.  In my last post I wrote he last pitched on Sept. 25th.  On York's roster prior to the start of this series, his name was x'd out, as if deactivated.  The Ducks could only wish now.  DeSalvo was called upon in the sixth inning and became the single biggest deciding factor of this game.

In the sixth; seventh; and eighth innings; he faced the minimum number of batters, striking out four Long Islanders along the way to include the last batter he faced.  That's what he does best.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Revolution picked up another run against Long Island's third reliever of the night; Tyler Walker; making it a 9-5 game and leaving the Ducks faced with their last three outs in the ninth.

Matt DeSalvo steadied York's revolution after the Ducks mounted a fierce comeback back in the fifth.  And to Long Island's relief, he was replaced with R.J. Rodriguez for the ninth inning.

The Ducks got to work right away.  Two errors by York's new pitcher led to a Ducks run and a 9-6 game.  A chance to tie the game had presented itself yet again for what would be the second dramatic comeback of the game.  Long Island had runners on first and third with one out and Ray Navarrete coming up.

Like most Ducks, Long Island's second baseman was 0 for 11 in the series.  But this was a situation with Ray's name written all over it.  The team needed a hero and what a great story it could be if the all-time Ducks' leader in most things, added to his Duck's story with a clutch hit at this moment.

Instead, it will continue to be written, Long Island's overall offensive woes rule this series. 

Ray Navarrete struck out.  And Javier Colina's grounder ended the game with a force out at second.

The final 9-6 score is one for the books.  York wins.  They now lead this best of five series two games to one.  The visiting Long Island Nine face elimination with another loss.  Nothing short of two straight road wins in Games Four and Five will secure a championship for the Long Island Ducks now.

The Ducks have been outscored 18-7 in three games.  And after Mike Loree's shut-out in Game One, the York Revolution have blitzed Long Island pitching with five home runs in the series; three in Game Two; two more in Game Three.  Meanwhile, Matt Esquivel's blast in Game Three represents the lone Ducks home run and first show of power of the series.


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