2018 “Quack of the Bat” Ducks Team Awards

Victory-High-Fives-9-19-18

What a year 2018 has been for the Long Island Ducks! From a record-setting 27-run performance in the Home Opener to Bethpage Ballpark hosting the Atlantic League All-Star Game for a third time ever, to a 13th postseason berth in team history and a third consecutive Liberty Division Championship, there were an unbelievable amount of memories created this past season. While the year did not have the storybook ending of an Atlantic League Championship as everyone had hoped, there was a lot to be proud of, both on and off the field, in 2018. The organization detailed many of those in its 2018 Season in Review, which can be read by CLICKING HERE.

With the league set to begin handing out its Post-Season Awards during the upcoming week, we also wanted to get in the spirit by unveiling our latest edition of the “Quack of the Bat” Ducks Team Awards. There were many players who had outstanding seasons on the field and were big contributors off it as well in 2018. From key returners to new faces, there were several members of the Flock that surely had seasons to remember in the black and orange. Here are our choices for the “Quack of the Bat” Team Awards:

Player of the Year – Jordany Valdespin
Valdespin-Blog

The unanimous selection for the 2018 Ducks Player of the Year was infielder Jordany Valdespin. He was voted by fans as the Delmonte-Smelson Team MVP and will surely be in the running for Atlantic League Player of the Year as well. The former Major Leaguer finished just .0007 points behind Somerset’s Craig Massey for the league batting title but played in 26 more games than him. Valdespin did lead the Atlantic League in hits (154), runs (94) and triples (7) while ranking second in total bases (222) and on-base percentage (.399), third in stolen base percentage (.857) and fifth in slugging percentage (.487). He did not slow down in the playoffs either, posting a .366 batting average while tying for the league-lead in runs (9) and hits (15). Valdespin was selected to play in the All-Star Game at Bethpage Ballpark in July and posted the league’s longest on-base streak of the 2018 season (32 games, June 4-July 14).

Starting Pitcher of the Year – Jake Fisher
Fisher-Blog

The starting rotation saw its fair share of names come and go due to injuries, personal reasons and performance. The one constant though was Jake Fisher, and that is one of the reasons why this honor goes to him. Fisher’s eight wins on the year ranked second on the team to only John Brownell (9), and his 3.92 ERA was good for eighth in the Atlantic League. He totaled the fourth-most strikeouts (107) and fourth-most innings pitched (133.1) in the league this year while walking just 25 batters in his 21 games started. Fisher was especially dominant against the teams he would go on to face in the postseason, going 1-0 with a 0.56 ERA in two regular season starts against the Somerset Patriots and 3-1 with a 0.67 ERA in four regular season starts vs. the Sugar Land Skeeters. The southpaw stayed dominant in the postseason, going 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA in three starts, allowing three runs or less in all three, and striking out 13 batters in 18.2 innings. Though he took the loss in the decisive Game Five of the Atlantic League Championship Series, there is no denying Fisher’s first full season with the Flock was a successful one.

Relief Pitcher of the Year – Francisco Rodriguez
KRod-Blog

It is not often you see a player with 16 years of Major League experience, six MLB All-Star Game selections and a World Series championship pitching in the Atlantic League. However, Francisco Rodriguez brought his accolades to Long Island in April of 2018, as he sought an opportunity to get back to the big leagues. While that did not happen this season, “K-Rod” stuck with the Ducks all season long and turned in an impressive season out of the bullpen. The right-hander recorded the second-most saves in the Atlantic League this year with 27, second only to Sugar Land’s Felipe Paulino (33). His 44 appearances ranked third among Ducks in 2018, trailing only Dennis O’Grady (52) and Ashur Tolliver (49), and he compiled a 2-1 record with a 2.76 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 42.1 innings of work. Opponents batted just .196 this season against the pitcher with the fourth-most saves in MLB history. Rodriguez’s year was capped off by working around a leadoff double in the ninth inning of Game Five in the Liberty Division Championship Series at Somerset to force extra innings, a game the Ducks would go on to win 3-2 to claim their third consecutive Division Championship.

Gold Glove – Daniel Fields
Fields-Blog

Several Ducks players showcased strong defensive skills during the course of the season. However, we at “Quack of the Bat” are not sure any dazzled quite as often as outfielder Daniel Fields. The first-year Duck played 90 games in the outfield during the 2018 season and committed just three errors all season, good for a .986 fielding percentage. Additionally, his nine assists ranked fourth in the Atlantic League among outfielders, trailing only the Road Warriors Jorge Fernandez-Diaz (16), Lancaster’s Darian Sandford (11) and Sugar Land’s Anthony Giansanti (10). Fields showed outstanding range and a terrific break on the baseball, especially in center field after taking over in that spot every day following the departure of Emilio Bonifacio. While shoulder troubles limited the amount of games Fields could play defensively, he was unquestionably one of the top outfielders when he could take the field.

“Rookie” of the Year – Taylor Ard
Ard-Blog

This award recognizes a Ducks player that great excelled in his first season as a member of the Flock. Taylor Ard was certainly one of the Ducks top acquisitions during the 2018 campaign. Joining the team at the end of May, Long Island was looking for a boost in the lineup. Ard was able to provide that, launching 16 home runs and driving in 61 runs over 95 games played. He recorded a .271 batting average, 98 hits and 20 doubles as well, giving the Flock a big bat in the middle of the order. The 28-year-old then brought his impressive bat to the postseason, as he posted a .409 batting average during the Liberty Division Championship Series, collecting nine hits, two RBIs, four runs and four doubles to lead the Ducks past the Patriots. While he ultimately had to depart prior to the Atlantic League Championship Series for the birth of his child, Ard made a strong impression on the Ducks while with Long Island and was instrumental in their second half/postseason success.

Breakout Player of the Year – Bennett Parry
Parry-Blog

For this honor, we highlight which member of the Ducks opened eyes and impressed the most after joining the team. This year, the honor goes to pitcher Bennett Parry. The left-hander began the season as the sixth starter in Long Island’s rotation, and he got off to a somewhat shaky start by yielding four runs over five innings at Somerset in his first outing of the year. However, from that point on, Parry was stellar. The 27-year-old allowed three runs or less in 12 of his 13 starts from that point on and gave up one run or less in eight of those starts. He was also the true definition of a strikeout artist. Despite not boasting a high-velocity fastball, Parry struck out 116 batters in 85 innings of work with the Flock. To give you some perspective, that total still ranked second-most in the Atlantic League for 2018, despite the fact that Parry made only 14 starts and departed on August 2nd after his contract was purchased by the Chinatrust Brothers in Taiwan. Parry struck out 10 or more batters on six different occasions, including a franchise record-tying 14 on the road in Sugar Land May 30th. Parry was selected to start the Atlantic League All-Star Game for the Liberty Division, and he tossed a 1-2-3 first inning. He finished his inaugural season with the Ducks at 6-1 with a 2.85 ERA.

Community Award – Anthony Vega
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Although everyone on the Ducks roster makes it a point to be active members in the Long Island community, Anthony Vega was selected for this honor by our blog staff. The Patchogue native returned to the Flock following the completion of his collegiate studies at the University of Arizona and made an immediate impact on young ballplayers in the area. Vega was consistently involved with events at the ballpark, including both sessions of the Ducks Kids Clinics, presented by Stop & Shop, and the Ducks Kids Club Day. He also frequently volunteered to sign autographs at the Bethpage Federal Credit Union Autograph Booth prior to Ducks home games and stayed on the field near the dugout after many games to sign for young fans as well. Many youngsters commented during the course of the year how friendly and outgoing Vega was during their interaction with the 27-year-old.

Comeback Player of the Year – Lew Ford
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New for 2018, we are debuting an award that highlights the player who rebounded best during the year, whether from a tough season the year prior or a difficult start to the current season. For this year’s selection, our blog staff has chosen outfielder and hitting coach Lew Ford. 2017 was a disappointing year for the six-year MLB veteran, as injuries limited him to just 76 games, a .269 batting average and 31 RBIs. Entering the season at the age of 41, his ability to stay healthy and be a big contributor to the lineup were certainly questions that needed to be answered. Boy did he answer them! In the year he turned 42, Ford played in 123 games for the Ducks, finishing second in the Atlantic League to only Lancaster’s Blake Gailen who appeared in all 126. Not only was he a consistent fixture in the lineup, but he also performed admirably. The ninth-year Duck led the league in doubles (33), ranked third in RBIs (73), fourth in extra-base hits (44) and at bats (468) and fifth in hits (137). His batting average increased to .293, and he swatted 10 home runs, scored 68 times and even legged out a triple for the first time since 2015. Ford’s success continued into the playoffs, as he tied Valdespin for the league lead with 15 hits and registered a .349 batting average with a homer, seven RBIs, four runs and four doubles in 10 games.

Stay tuned all offseason on “Quack of the Bat” for many other updates from Long Island’s hometown team. We’ll have some feature articles on members of the Flock, news updates, interactive posts and much more as we gear up for the 20th Anniversary Season of Ducks baseball on Long Island!

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ALCS Game Five: Ducks vs. Skeeters

The 2018 Atlantic League Championship will be decided tonight

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

5:05 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, N.Y.)

TODAY’S MATCHUP:

The Ducks have reached the Atlantic League Championship Series for the third straight season, and for the second time in those three years, they will play the Sugar Land Skeeters. The Ducks jumped out to a big lead and held it last night, winning 6-3. Long Island won the 2018 regular season series against the Skeeters by a margin of 10-8, winning five of nine games at home and in Texas. The Ducks won seven of nine second-half games against Sugar Land, including a 4-2 series win to close out the 2018 season. Long Island is coming off a five-game LDCS victory over the Somerset Patriots, while the Skeeters took game five of the FDCS against the Lancaster Barnstormers.

GAME FOUR RECAP:

Two runs in each of the first three innings were all the Ducks needed to force a decisive game five in the Atlantic League Championship Series.

Sugar Land grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out RBI double to right field by Matt Chavez off Ducks starter Dennis O’Grady. Long Island responded right away in the bottom of the inning, as Jordany Valdespin and Daniel Fields scored on wild pitches by Skeeters starter Dallas Beeler.

The Ducks extended their lead to 4-1 in the second with three consecutive two-out hits, including a two-run double to right by Valdespin. Two more runs in the third on a two-out, two-run single to center by Cody Puckett widened Long Island’s advantage to five.

The Skeeters closed to within 6-2 in the seventh on Alvaro Rondon’s RBI single to left. Another run in the ninth on back-to-back two-out doubles by Albert Cordero and Denis Phipps made it a 6-3 ballgame, but pinch-hitter Javier Betancourt then struck out to end the ballgame.

O’Grady earned the win, tossing seven innings of two-run ball, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out four. Beeler suffered the loss, surrendering six runs on seven hits and a walk over two and one-third innings with five strikeouts. Carlos Pimentel and Fernando Abad pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to secure the win.

GAME FOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

In a matchup identical to game one, Jake Fisher will close out the postseason for the Ducks. The 2018 Atlantic League All-Star was 8-7 this season with a 3.91 ERA winning three of his last four starts. In the first game of the series, the lefty allowed just two runs through six and two-thirds innings, giving up just four hits in a no-decision. The Oklahoma native has been great against the Skeeters this season, owning a 3-1 record and 0.67 ERA in four regular-season starts (22 innings) against Sugar Land.

James Russell will man the rubber for the Skeeters in the decisive Game Five. The seven-year major league veteran was 8-4 with a 2.36 ERA after joining Sugar Land in late May, making 20 appearances (18 starts). The southpaw made two appearances against the Flock in the regular season, throwing five scoreless innings and giving up three hits through two appearances (one start). In Game One of the series, the Texan gave up a first-inning three-run home run, but did not give up a run for the next five innings despite allowing nine runs and walking four. Russell has played with the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies, making 394 MLB appearances to the tune of a 4.09 ERA from 2010 to 2015.

FOLLOW ALONG: 

Fans can follow all the action for today’s game, and every Ducks game in 2018, on the Long Island Ducks Broadcast Network. Live streaming HD video and audio via BoxCast will be available on the team’s official Facebook page through Facebook Live, on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel and at LIDucks.com in the Ducks Video Center on the homepage. In addition to updates in this post, fans can follow a pitch-by-pitch account of today’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For today’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE. For the Ducks complete playoff history, please CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#15 Jordany Valdespin – 2B
#28 Daniel Fields – CF
#20 Lew Ford – LF
#38 Ramon Cabrera – DH
#30 David Washington – 1B
#27 Dioner Navarro – C
#5   Miles Williams – RF
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#13 Jake Fisher – LHP

Sugar Land Skeeters
#27 Barrett Barnes – LF
#21 Anthony Giansanti – CF
#33 Derek Norris – C
#19 Juan Silverio – SS
#16 Matt Chavez – 1B
#3   Albert Cordero – 3B
#10 Tony Thomas – RF
#29 Denis Phipps – DH
#20 Javier Betancourt – 2B

#34 James Russell – LHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

TOP 2: A two-out home run by Denis Phipps gives the Skeeters a 1-0 lead.

TOP 3: An Albert Cordero RBI single gives the Skeeters a 2-0 lead.

BOT 5: Dan Lyons gets the Ducks on the board with a solo homer to left! Ducks trail 3-1.

TOP 6: Skeeters put up another, extending their lead to 4-1.

FINAL: The Ducks are unable to comeback, and the Skeeters win the 2018 Atlantic League Championship by a score of 4-1.

ALCS Game Four: Ducks vs. Skeeters

The Ducks look to force a decisive Game Five tonight

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, N.Y.)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP:

The Ducks have reached the Atlantic League Championship Series for the third straight season, and for the second time in those three years, they will play the Sugar Land Skeeters. After a dramatic victory last night, the Ducks extended the series to a fourth game. Long Island won the 2018 regular season series against the Skeeters by a margin of 10-8, winning five of nine games at home and in Texas. The Ducks won seven of nine second-half games against Sugar Land, including a 4-2 series win to close out the 2018 season. Long Island is coming off a five-game LDCS victory over the Somerset Patriots, while the Skeeters took game five of the FDCS against the Lancaster Barnstormers.

GAME THREE RECAP:

The Ducks had their backs against the wall until an eighth-inning comeback, winning 3-2 in what could have been their last game of the season.

The Skeeters took a 1-0 lead in the first inning following a two-out walk by Matt Chavez and an RBI double by Albert Cordero off Ducks starter Lorenzo Barcelo. An unearned run in the third on Tony Thomas’ two-out RBI double, which came three batters after an inning-opening error, extended the lead to two.

Long Island closed to within a run in the bottom of the third on doubles by Jordany Valdespin and Lew Ford off Skeeters starter Lucas Irvine.

Both teams would then trade zeroes until the bottom of the eighth inning. Ramon Cabrera blooped a double down the right-field line with two outs off reliever Dan Runzler. That set the stage for David Washington, who followed with a two-run home run to right-center on a 1-0 pitch.

Neither starter factored into the decision. Barcelo tossed seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out five batters. Irvine pitched four innings, yielding a run on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Carlos Pimentel earned the win with a scoreless eighth inning, yielding a hit while striking out one. Runzler took the loss, conceding two runs on two hits in one inning while striking out two. Fernando Abad pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first save of the playoffs, striking out one.

GAME THREE HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

Game four of the series will see Dennis O’Grady get the start for the Flock. The right-hander went 6-4 this season with a 3.81 ERA in 52 games (four starts), leading the team in appearances. O’Grady starter the decisive Game Five in the Liberty Division Championship Series, taking a no-decision after allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. The Floral Park native gave six earned runs in 17.1 innings in the regular season as a starter, good for a 3.12 ERA. O’Grady faced the Skeeters five times this season, with the last one being a start. As a reliever, he pitched 3.2 scoreless innings against Sugar Land, yielding just one walk while striking out two. In his final start of the season against Sugar Land, the Duke University Alum took a 3-1 loss despite dealing a quality start.

Dallas Beeler will be called upon by the Skeeters in his second stint with the team this year. Overall, Beeler had a brilliant 2.29 ERA this season along with an 8-2 record through 19 appearances (14 starts). The righty had his contract purchased by the Kansas City Royals in July, but had an ERA over 13 in four appearances at the Double-A level. Since returning to the Skeeters, Beeler has a 3.54 ERA and has given up over five hits in six of his nine appearances. Beeler did not play professionally last year and had five Major League starts with the Chicago Cubs in 2014 and 2015.

FOLLOW ALONG: 

Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2018, on the Long Island Ducks Broadcast Network. Live streaming HD video and audio via BoxCast will be available on the team’s official Facebook page through Facebook Live, on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel and at LIDucks.com in the Ducks Video Center on the homepage. In addition to updates in this post, fans can follow a pitch-by-pitch account of tonight’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For tonight’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE. For the Ducks complete playoff history, please CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#15 Jordany Valdespin – 2B
#28 Daniel Fields – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#38 Ramon Cabrera – C
#30 David Washington – 1B
#5   Miles Williams – RF
#23 Rubi Silva – LF
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#17 Dennis O’Grady – RHP

Sugar Land Skeeters
#27 Barrett Barnes – LF
#10 Tony Thomas – RF
#21 Anthony Giansanti – CF
#16 Matt Chavez – 1B
#19 Juan Silverio – SS
#33 Derek Norris – C
#3   Albert Cordero – 3B
#29 Denis Phipps – DH
#7   Alvaro Rondon – SS

#32 Dallas Beeler – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

TOP 1: Skeeters drive in a run with an RBI double by Matt Chavez.

BOT 1: A couple of wild pitches give the Ducks a 2-1 lead!

BOT 2: A two-run double for Jordany Valdespin gives the Ducks a 4-1 lead!

BOT 3: For the third straight inning, the Ducks put a pair of runs on the board! This time it’s a Cody Puckett single doing the damage! 6-1 Ducks!

TOP 6: Dennis O’Grady only needs six pitches to retire the side with the Ducks ahead 6-1!

TOP 7: Skeeters get a run back, but it’s still 6-2 Ducks.

FINAL: We’re heading to Game 5! Ducks win 6-3! #BringItOnHome

ALCS Game Three: Ducks vs. Skeeters

The Ducks try to keep their season alive in Game Three

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, N.Y.)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP:

The Ducks have reached the Atlantic League Championship Series for the third straight season, and for the second time in those three years, they will play the Sugar Land Skeeters. The Ducks are in a 0-2 hole after a blowout victory for the Skeeters in game two. Long Island won the 2018 regular season series against the Skeeters by a margin of 10-8, winning five of nine games at home and in Texas. The Ducks won seven of nine second-half games against Sugar Land, including a 4-2 series win to close out the 2018 season. Long Island is coming off a five-game LDCS victory over the Somerset Patriots, while the Skeeters took game five of the FDCS against the Lancaster Barnstormers.

GAME TWO RECAP:

It was all Sugar Land in Game Two, featuring 10 Skeeter runs and a complete game shutout.

Sugar Land opened up the scoring with a four-run third inning (one earned) against Ducks starter Matt Larkins. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Juan Silverio, an RBI single by Matt Chavez and a two-run double by Tony Thomas did the damage.

Barrett Barnes extended the lead to six with solo home runs to left in the fourth and sixth innings. A two-run homer to left by Tony Thomas in the seventh and a pair of runs in the eighth rounded out the scoring.

Skeeters starter Konner Wade earned the win with a complete game shutout. He allowed just seven hits and no walks while striking out 11 batters. Larkins took the loss, yielding six runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks over five and two-thirds innings with two strikeouts.

ON THE MOUND:

Lorenzo Barcelo will be counted on in the crucial third game of the series. This season, the 41-year-old went 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA in 12 appearances (five starts). Barcelo started Game Four of the LDCS, falling to the Patriots by a score of 5-3 after giving up five runs on nine hits and striking out five over six innings. The Dominican Republic native has played professionally for 18 years, reaching the big leagues from 2000 to 2002 with the Chicago White Sox, tallying 66 innings with a 4.50 ERA.

Lucas Irvine starts for the Skeeters looking for the sweep. The fourth-year Atlantic League veteran was acquired from the American Association on August 17th and was a great addition, going 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA in six starts. The righty earned a win in his lone postseason start against the Barnstormers, allowing two runs on seven hits in five and one-third innings. Irvine was originally drafted by the Rays and is a veteran of the American Association, Canadian-American Association, and the Mexican League.

FOLLOW ALONG: 

Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2018, on the Long Island Ducks Broadcast Network. Live streaming HD video and audio via BoxCast will be available on the team’s official Facebook page through Facebook Live, on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel and at LIDucks.com in the Ducks Video Center on the homepage. In addition to updates in this post, fans can follow a pitch-by-pitch account of tonight’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For tonight’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE. For the Ducks complete playoff history, please CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#15 Jordany Valdespin – 2B
#28 Daniel Fields – CF
#20 Lew Ford – LF
#38 Ramon Cabrera – DH
#30 David Washington – 1B
#27 Dioner Navarro – C
#23 Rubi Silva – RF
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#34 Lorenzo Barcelo – RHP

Sugar Land Skeeters
#21 Anthony Giansanti – CF
#19 Juan Silverio – SS
#16 Matt Chavez – 1B
#3   Albert Cordero – 3B
#10 Tony Thomas – RF
#33 Derek Norris – C
#27 Barrett Barnes – LF
#29 Denis Phipps – DH
#7   Alvaro Rondon – SS

#23 Lucas Irvine – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

TOP 1: Skeeters strike first with an RBI double off the bat of Albert Cordero.

TOP 2: Lorenzo Barcelo works out of a two-one no-out jam to keep the Ducks within one!

TOP 3: Tony Thomas drives in the second run of the ballgame for the Skeeters, they lead 2-0.

BOT 3: Lew Ford gets the Ducks on the board with an RBI double! Ducks trail 2-1.

TOP 4: Lorenzo Barcelo only needed four pitches to get through the frame, keeping the score at 2-1 Skeeters.

TOP 5: Lorenzo Barcelo strikes out the three batters he faces in the fifth! Still 2-1 Skeeters.

BOT 8: DAVID WASHINGTON GIVES THE DUCKS THEIR FIRST LEAD OF THE NIGHT WITH A TWO-RUN HOMER TO RIGHT! IT’S 3-2!

FINAL: Ducks win 3-2 after the huge 8th inning blast by David Washington! Game 4 tomorrow night!

ALCS Game Two: Ducks at Skeeters

Ford-Group-Homer-Celebration-9-25-18

The Ducks look to split the opening two games in Texas before heading home

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

7:50 p.m. CDT/8:50 p.m. EDT at Constellation Field (Sugar Land, Texas)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP:

The Ducks have reached the Atlantic League Championship Series for the third straight season, and for the second time in those three years, they will play the Sugar Land Skeeters. The Ducks are looking to bounce back from a series-opening loss that required extra innings. Long Island won the 2018 regular season series against the Skeeters by a margin of 10-8, winning five of nine games at home and in Texas. The Ducks won seven of nine second-half games against Sugar Land, including a 4-2 series win to close out the 2018 season. Long Island is coming off a five-game LDCS victory over the Somerset Patriots, while the Skeeters took game five of the FDCS against the Lancaster Barnstormers.

GAME ONE RECAP:

The Atlantic League Championship Series began the same way both Division Series ended: in extra innings. The Skeeters were able to walk off in the 13th to take a 1-0 series lead by a score of 5-4.

Lew Ford gave the Ducks an early 3-0 lead with a three-run home run to left field in the opening inning off Skeeters starter James Russell. It stayed that way until the bottom of the fifth when Sugar Land closed to within one on an RBI single by Anthony Giansanti and a sacrifice fly to center by Juan Silverio off Ducks starter Jake Fisher.

The Ducks stretched their lead back up to two in the top of the eighth on a mammoth solo homer to left by Cody Puckett. However, a two-run bottom of the inning for the Skeeters against reliever Jose Cuas tied the game at four. A two-out RBI single to right by Tony Thomas followed by an RBI double to left from Derek Norris did the damage.

Both sides would wiggle into and out of trouble over the next four innings. Long Island threatened to take the lead with back-to-back walks to begin the 13th inning, but they could not push across the go-ahead run. In the bottom of the inning, Sugar Land loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. That set the stage for Javier Betancourt, who ended the game with a sac fly to center that scored Thomas.

Neither starter factored into the decision. Fisher lasted six and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out four. Russell pitched six innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and four walks with five strikeouts. Michael Mariot collected the win after pitching a scoreless 13th inning, working around three walks and striking out two. Hector Silvestre took the loss, giving up the winning run on two hits and three walks over one and two-thirds innings of relief.

GAME ONE HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

Matt Larkins looks to continue his strong postseason and split the series before leaving Texas. The right-hander made two appearances in the LDCS, starting and winning Game One, and converting the series-clinching save in Game Five. In the series-opener, Larkins allowed two runs in six innings in a 9-2 victory. The Idaho native ended the season with a 7-5 record and 4.55 ERA through 19 appearances, including a complete game shutout. Larkins has started against Sugar Land twice this season, dealing eight shutout innings and allowing just four hits.

Konner Wade will be handed the ball in Game Two for the Skeeters. Wade was blown out in his lone postseason start, allowing seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in just two innings of work in Game Three of the series. Wade’s final start of the regular season came against the Ducks, where he gave up four runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk in a 4-2 loss. The Arizona native ended the season with an 8-6 record and a 3.09 ERA that ranked fourth in the Atlantic League. Wade was 1-2 in four starts against the Ducks this season, giving up 19 runs (13 earned) in 22 and one-third innings for a 5.24 ERA.

FOLLOW ALONG: 

Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2018, on the Long Island Ducks Broadcast Network. Live streaming HD video and audio via BoxCast will be available on the team’s official Facebook page through Facebook Live, on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel and at LIDucks.com in the Ducks Video Center on the homepage. In addition to updates in this post, fans can follow a pitch-by-pitch account of tonight’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For tonight’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE. For the Ducks complete playoff history, please CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#15 Jordany Valdespin – 2B
#28 Daniel Fields – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#38 Ramon Cabrera – C
#30 David Washington – 1B
#5   Miles Williams – RF
#23 Rubi Silva – LF
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#44 Matt Larkins – RHP

Sugar Land Skeeters
#21 Anthony Giansanti – CF
#19 Juan Silverio – SS
#16 Matt Chavez – 1B
#3   Albert Cordero – 3B
#10 Tony Thomas – RF
#33 Derek Norris – C
#29 Denis Phipps – DH
#27 Barrett Barnes – LF
#7   Alvaro Rondon – SS

#11 Konner Wade – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

UPDATE: The Skeeters have announced that first pitch for Game Two of the Atlantic League Championship Series is now slated to take place at 7:50 p.m. Our pre-game show will begin at approximately 7:35.

After a 50-minute rain delay, we are underway at Constellation Field in Game Two of the Atlantic League Championship Series!

END 1: Both Konner Wade and Matt Larkins toss a scoreless first inning of the ballgame.

BOT 3: Skeeters collect four hits and take advantage of two errors to take a 4-0 lead after three.

BOT 4: A leadoff solo homer to left-center by Barrett Barnes makes it a 5-0 ballgame.

BOT 6: Another solo homer by Barnes makes it a 6-0 ballgame. However, Thomas Nicoll comes in and strikes out Juan Silverio in his Ducks debut!

BOT 7: A two-run homer to left by Thomas adds to Sugar Land’s lead.

FINAL: Sugar Land takes Game Two over the Ducks. We’ll see you back on Long Island Friday night at Bethpage Ballpark for Game Three!

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