Saturday, September 28, 2013

L.I. Ducks: Game Three Turns Into The Cory Aldridge Show

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Ducks Lead Series 2-1
I - Ducks 4; Patriots 3
II - Ducks 3; Patriots 2
III - Patriots 5; Ducks 4*
IV - Saturday @ Somerset
 * extra innings

LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Series On!  The Somerset Patriots Launched A Major Offensive Against Long Island Invaders; Fire Off Over 1,750 Feet Worth Of Baseballs Over TD Bank Ballpark Walls.

What Reggie Jackson did in the 1977 World Series stands alone.  I watched on TV as a ten year old.  Most recently Kung-Fu Panda accomplished the feat for the San Francisco Giants.

In Atlantic League history, I was there when Jose Herrera did it for the Newark Bears during the 2007 Atlantic League championship clinching game, albeit his didn't come on the first pitch of each at-bat.  All these guys need to mover over one seat now and make room at the table of folklore for Somerset Patriots right fielder Corey Aldridge.

In fact, the Somerset Patriots hit five solo home runs against Long Island pitching to stay alive in the 2013Atlantic League championship series.  Three blasts came off the bat of Cory Aldridge, with none bigger than his tenth inning clout to stave off elimination and force a Game Four in the best of five series.

The Ducks took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Ramon Castro's sac-fly scored Bill Hall.  Back in the second inning, consecutive doubles by Bill Hall and Adam Bailey, and a follow-up single by Ramon Castro plated the Ducks first two runs.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Cory Aldridge hit his first home run of the night.  With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Cory Aldridge hit his second.  The Ducks got a run back in the top of the seventh on Josh Barfield's RBI single, to make it a 4-2 game.  But in the bottom of the frame, number nine hitter, catcher Adam Donachie homered to make it a 4-3 game.  In the bottom of the eighth, Somerset number eight hitter, shortstop Yunesky Sanchez homered to tie the game at four.  That set up Friday night's tenth inning heroics.  With two outs, Cory Aldrdge clubbed his third solo home run of the game to win it for the Patriots.

Bob Zimmermann started for the Ducks, and lasted 5.1 innings before being lifted in favor of Josh Lansford.  Zimmermann allowed two earned runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four, but was taken deep twice by Aldridge.  Lansford was victimized by Donachie's long ball in the seventh, while Jared Lansford gave up Sanchez' blast in the eighth.  Reliever Erik Threets surrendered Cory Aldridge's game winner in the tenth.

I guess Coach Baez didn't learn his lesson regarding Threets, who struggled mightily in clutch situations coming down the Liberty Division stretch drive.  While suffering through a seven game losing streak down the stretch and then three more losses before finally clinching the division flag, Threets factored in four straight defeats and personally lost three straight games before Coach Baez ceased to summon him in big spots.  In all fairness, Leo Rosales appeared unavailable, as he appeared in two straight games back in Long Island and earned saves in each.

The Ducks twice escaped big trouble, as they were bailed out with huge inning ending double-plays in the sixth and eighth innings.  The bullpen meanwhile, failed to keep the bottom of Somerset's line-up quiet, as the eighth and ninth hitters delivered crippling blows.  At least Cory Aldridge's performance is explainable.  He now has six playoff home runs and ten RBI in six games, after a regular season in which he hit twelve home runs in 331 trips to the plate.

Somerset Patriots
TD Bank Ballpark
New Jersey
A packed house of almost 7,000 Patriots fans no doubt went home happy, and relish an opportunity to see their team even the series tomorrow at two.  Game Four is scheduled for Saturday at 7:05pm, from Somerset's TD Bank Ballpark.  Bobby Blevins will start for Long Island, and will be opposed by lefty Graham Taylor.

Ducks GM Michael Pfaff reacquired Bobby Blevins from the CanAm League Rockland Boulders.  He managed just two starts for Long Island before the regular season ended, going 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA.  In twenty starts for Rockland, he posted a 9-10 record with a 4.24 ERA.  Graham Taylor was the Marlins tenth round pick of the 2006 draft, and spent six years in their organization.  He made twenty-seven starts for the Patriots this season and posted a 10-6 record with a 3.40 ERA.


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