Thursday, May 24, 2012

L.I. Ducks ~ Next Up; The Bluefish in a Battle for First

From the desk of:   THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

LONG ISLAND DUCKS:   After Dropping Opening Game, Ducks Comeback to Take Series from Lancaster.  Next, the Bluefish Invade The Pond in a Clash For First Place.

The Ferry Cup Series Resumes.

What do you do when the Barnstormers ruin your home winning streak at nine?  You start a new streak by winning the next two.  And so, the Ducks came back to win the final two games in their series against Lancaster.

In Tuesday's game, Randy Keisler, Jeremy Hill, and Dan Meyer, all pitched brilliantly against former major leaguer, John Halama and company.  Randy Keisler tossed seven innings of seven hit, shut-out ball.  He walked one and struck out eight.  After 103 pitches, Randy gave way to Jeremy Hill staked to a 6-0 lead.

In the first inning, Kraig Binick led off the game with a double, and scored on Bryant Nelson's single, and an error by the third baseman.  Reid Gorecki later singled home Bryant Nelson for a 2-0 Ducks' lead.

It stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh inning.  For John Halama's part, he was snake bit by errors over 6.2 innings.  Of the six runs charged to him, only two were earned.  He did surrender nine hits however, and walked three.

After a good seventh inning stretch, the Ducks beefed up their lead with four more runs.  After an E-5, a wild pitch, a walk, and a single by Bryant Nelson to load the bases, John Halama was on the ropes.  After missing some time, Brandon Sing made his return to play in time for this series, and said hello to John Halama with a grand slam home run, for a 6-0 Ducks' lead.  It was Brandon's first home run since returning over the weekend, and his sixth of the season.

The Ducks tacked on one more run in the eighth on Wilberto Ortiz' second home run of the season.

Jeremy Hill pitched a scoreless eighth and struck out two.  And Dan Meyer pitched a scoreless ninth to finish off the win.

On Wednesday, the Ducks picked up where they left off.  Jason Monti hung in and pitched five innings of four hit ball.  He gave up one earned run and struck out three with no walks on the way to recording his third win of the season.  Jason trails Mike Loree by one strikeout (21/22) for the team lead.

By the fourth inning, the Ducks already posted their ten runs.  Brandon Sing seems to be getting his swing in order.  He was 3 for 5, with a double and a run scored.  Along with Sing.., Kraig Binick, Bryant Nelson, Ray Navarrete, and James McOwen, all had multiple hits.  Shawn Williams was the only Duck to homer Wednesday and had three RBI.  Bryant Nelson drove in his team leading 19th RBI.  And Ray Navarrete was 2 for 4 with four RBI and two runs scored.  In all, the Ducks had fifteen hits.

Once Jason Monti was out of the game, the bullpen had some trouble closing out.  Connor Graham, and Eric Niesen, combined to pitch four innings (two each), and surrendered four runs on six hits, and walked four.

So a flaky bullpen and two errors get covered up by ten runs for a day...  Winning can do that.

The Ducks are now 17-8, and remain the only team with single digit losses.  They maintain a 3.5 game lead over the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Liberty Division, who conveniently swim into The Pond Thursday night for a four game series in what is now a battle for first place.  But Bridgeport is 3-7 in their last ten, while the Ducks are just the opposite with a 7-3 record in their last ten games.  The Bluefish were 4-2 losers to Southern Maryland Wednesday.  The Ducks are now 11-1 at home.

The Ferry Cup Series continues.  In the last meeting between these teams, the Bluefish swept a three game series in Bridgeport.


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