Offseason Updates from Around the Globe

Although baseball season has come to a close here in the United States, there is still plenty of news and action on the diamond around the world. Several Ducks alumni have been featured and spotlighted in various other leagues throughout the Far East and the Caribbean. Regular seasons have recently wrapped up over in Korea and Taiwan, while winter leagues are getting underway in countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Let’s catch up on what some former Ducks players have been up to in recent weeks:

KERN WINS THE CROWN
Kern-Lamigo

Long Island native Bruce Kern spent the 2018 season in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, marking his second full season and third year overall in Taiwan. The right-handed pitcher turned in outstanding numbers with the Flock in 2015 and 2016, combining to go 13-7 with a 3.02 ERA in 58 appearances (24 starts). In 170 innings of work, he struck out 163 batters and walked just 49. That performance earned him the opportunity to pitch in Taiwan with Brothers Baseball Club. He struggled initially in two starts at the end of 2016 and then battled injury in 2017 to go 8-5 with a 5.16 ERA. He returned to Long Island late last year but was limited to just one and two-thirds innings due to arm troubles.

Looking to bounce back in a big way during the 2018 season, Kern was signed by the Lamigo Monkeys, a club that has been home to several Ducks alumni in recent years. The Yaphank native did not disappoint, making 25 starts during the regular season and putting together a dazzling 13-3 record, ranking second in the league in wins, with a 3.28 ERA, good for third in the league. In 156.1 innings of work, a career-high, he struck out 110 batters. Kern’s efforts helped lead Lamigo all the way to the CPBL title, earning a 4-2 series victory over the Uni-President Lions. The championship marked Lamigo’s second title in a row and fourth in the past five years.

He also played some stellar defense:

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#athlete

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Kern pitched Game One of the Taiwan Series against the Uni-President Lions, with his team leading 1-0 from the get-go after they won both halves of the regular season. Lamigo earned a 15-6 victory in a high-scoring series opener, with Kern tossing the first four innings of the game, yielding three earned runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts. The Lions were able to even up the series, thanks in part to two scoreless innings in Game Two by former New Britain Bees pitcher Andy Van Hekken. One of Kern’s teammates was former Sugar Land Skeeters pitcher Michael Nix, who threw six scoreless innings in Game Two but could not get the win. Lamigo would go on to win the series with victories in Games Four and Five, with Nix giving up just two runs (one earned) in five and two-thirds innings, picking up the win. Van Hekken contributed to the Lions’ loss, surrendering four runs in one-third of an inning out of the bullpen.

Here was Bruce addressing the fans after Lamigo’s win:

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#克恩三世 ✌🏻 Taiwan

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Congratulations to Bruce and the rest of the Lamigo Monkeys! Included in the group was former Duck Darin Downs, who made 10 starts with the club earlier in the season but struggled, going 4-3 with a 7.08 ERA. However…


DOWNS AND STRUCK CLAIM MEXICAN TITLE
Downs-Struck-Monterrey

Downs would come away with a title of his own after he signed south of the border with Sultanes de Monterrey in the Mexican League. The southpaw joined the team during the second half of their season and turned in a 3.42 ERA along with one save in 12 appearances (five starts). He pitched 26.1 innings, striking out 28 batters while walking seven. He was reunited on the team with another former Ducks pitcher in right-hander Nick Struck. The two hurlers were teammates together with the Flock in 2015 and 2016 and now had the opportunity to pitch together once again in Mexico. Struck posted a phenomenal season in 2018, making 41 appearances out of the bullpen for Monterrey. The righty compiled a miniscule 1.50 ERA, striking out 45 batters in 42 innings, walking just 14 and conceding only seven earned runs.

Despite a strong first half of the season, Monterrey would lose the first half championship to Leones de Yucatan in a thrilling seven-game series. However, Monterrey came back with a 4-2 series victory in the second half championship over Guerreros de Oaxaca. After dropping the series opener, the pair of Downs and Struck helped even the series in Game Two. Downs pitched two and one-third innings of one-run ball in relief, while Struck tossed back-to-back scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth innings. Struck threw another scoreless inning in the eighth of Game Three along with an inning and two-thirds of scoreless baseball in Game Four to put Monterrey up 3-1 in the series. The pair dazzled again in Game Five, with Downs pitching two and two-thirds hitless and scoreless innings before Struck threw two more innings of shutout ball, but Monterrey would drop the game in 10 innings. The series ended one game later with a walk-off victory at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey.


VALDESPIN TAKES MOUND IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Valdespin-Pitching

After an MVP season and a Liberty Division Championship in his first year with the Flock, Jordany Valdespin is not taking any time to sit back and catch his breath. The infielder is right back on the baseball diamond in his native country of the Dominican Republic, playing with Toros del Este in the Caribbean Winter Leagues. His bat remains hot, as Valdespin has posted a .333 batting average through 19 games. After leading the Atlantic League in hits (154) and runs scored (94) during the 2018 regular season, he is doing the same in winter ball, collecting 25 hits and 15 runs thus far to go along with a homer, eight RBIs, eight stolen bases and a .405 on-base percentage.

However, one of his more bizarre moments came early on in the winter season. In the team’s fourth game, they played an epic 19-inning contest against Tigres del Licey that saw Licey come away with a 7-5 victory. The game, which lasted eight hours and seven minutes, saw neither team score from the eighth inning through the 18th inning. Valdespin started the game in right field and went 2-for-5 at the plate with a double, an RBI and two walks. However, after his club had used 12 pitchers without being able to secure the win, Valdespin took the mound for the start of the 15th inning. Having pitched just one before in his professional career, allowing a run in two-thirds of an inning with Triple-A Toledo in 2016, no one knew what to expect.

All the right-hander would do was toss four scoreless innings out of the bullpen to keep the ballgame tied. He surrendered four hits and two walks while hitting a batter in that span but struck out three and failed to concede the go-ahead run. Unfortunately, his offense was unable to get him a victory, and Ruben Sosa allowed two runs in the 19th inning to give Licey the win. 2018 Ducks teammate Fernando Abad also pitched in the game for Toros del Este, throwing one and two-thirds perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts. Former Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia started the game for Toros and pitched three innings of two-run ball. Current Met Dominic Smith is also on the team and was 0-for-8 with a walk in the game.


MIKE LOREE RE-UPS IN TAIWAN
Loree-Fubon

Heading back over to the far east, we also wanted to give a quick shout-out to former Duck starting pitcher Mike Loree. The righty, who was selected by fans to the 15th Anniversary Ducks team in 2014, has become a staple while pitching in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. He just signed another contract with the Fubon Guardians for the 2019 season, which will be his seventh in the CPBL.

After his Triple Crown year of 2011 with the Ducks, in which he led the Atlantic League in wins (14), ERA (1.98) and strikeouts (131), Loree departed Long Island for Taiwan during the 2012 season. He has since pitched two seasons with the Lamigo Monkeys, two with the EDA Rhinos and two with Fubon. In his six seasons combined, he has accrued a 72-41 record, a 3.26 ERA, 797 strikeouts and just 189 walks over 970.2 innings of work. He has made 154 appearances (150 starts) in that span, winning a championship in 2016 with the Rhinos and 2012 with Lamigo. His only break from the CPBL was in 2014 when he spent the season with KT Wiz of the Korean Baseball Organization.

This past season, Loree helped Fubon to the semifinals of the postseason before they were defeated. During the regular season, he led the Chinese Professional Baseball League in strikeouts with 157. His 3.47 ERA was good for fourth in the league, while his 10 wins ranked fifth. Loree was 10-8 overall in 26 starts and walked only 16 batters in 161 innings of work according to the league site. That stat might be the most impressive of all.

Congratulations to all of those who claimed championships during the 2018 season, and best of luck to those currently playing winter baseball around the world!

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2019 Schedule Features Many Mouthwatering Matchups

20th-Anniversary-Field-Behind

It’s been a busy past couple of weeks at Bethpage Ballpark! With the Atlantic League awards season now wrapped up, the focus has shifted primarily towards the 2019 season. In recent days, the league’s schedule has been announced for next season, featuring the addition of the High Point Rockers to the eight-team circuit. The North Carolina-based club, which will replace the Road Warriors in the Liberty Division. The league-operated Road Warriors bridged the one-year gap between the end of the Bridgeport Bluefish lease and the completion of construction of the new High Point ballpark, which is slated to open on May 2, 2019. With a schedule now in place, the Ducks also debuted the team’s official logo for the 20th Anniversary Season (pictured above), which will be celebrated in 2019. The logo will be featured on promotional items, merchandise and marketing platforms leading up to and throughout next year.

With the addition of the Rockers to the league, the schedule returns to a 140-game regular season after being trimmed to 126 in 2018. The Ducks will play 70 home games at Bethpage Ballpark along with 70 road games, and the first and second half will be separated by the Atlantic League All-Star Game, which will be played at PeoplesBank Park in York, Pa. on July 10th. The schedule is not completely balanced though, as the Ducks do not play each team 20 times nor have an even home/road or first/second half split with each opponent. This chart helps break down their matchups against league opponents:

OPPONENT

OVERALL GAMES

HOME GAMES

ROAD GAMES

FIRST HALF

SECOND HALF

High Point Rockers

19

9 10 10

9

Lancaster Barnstormers

21

10 11 11

10

New Britain Bees

21

11 10 11

10

Somerset Patriots

19

10

9

9

10

So. Maryland Blue Crabs

21

10

11

10

11

Sugar Land Skeeters

19

10

9

10

9

York Revolution

20

10

10

9

11

Let’s take a look at some of the most notable games/series on the schedule for the 2019 season:

OPENERS

Two games that are always circled on the calendar of every baseball fan are Opening Day and the Home Opener for their favorite team. Sometimes, they end up being on the same date. However, for the Ducks, it has almost always proven to be on separate dates. 2019 will mark the ninth consecutive season in which Long Island begins the season on the road, as they will open against the York Revolution in Pennsylvania. The Ducks and Revs will play a three-game series to kick off the season, with the opener taking place on Friday, April 26th at PeoplesBank Park. The Ducks last opened the season in York on April 24, 2015, coming away with a 5-2 victory. Meanwhile, the Ducks will return home following a week-long trip in Pa. for the Home Opener, which will take place on Friday, May 3rd. Coincidentally, that game will also be against the Revolution, who will be in town for a three-game weekend series. The last time the Ducks played their Home Opener against York was in 2014, when the Flock fell 6-1 on May 2nd.

CHAMPIONSHIP REMATCH

After a thrilling Atlantic League Championship Series in 2018 that saw the Ducks and Skeeters need a decisive Game Five to determine a league champion, Ducks fans will surely be wondering when the two sides will collide again. Long Island will face Sugar Land, looking to exact a measure of revenge after this past season’s tough series loss, in Texas from May 10th-12th. Constellation Field was the site of that memorable Game One between the sides that took 13 innings and a total of four hours, 57 minutes. The Ducks will host the Skeeters for the first time in 2019 on Memorial Day Weekend, May 24th-26th, which will mark Sugar Land’s first visit since celebrating the 2018 championship at Bethpage Ballpark.

CAROLINA CLASH

As we detailed earlier, the High Point Rockers will be making their debut in the Atlantic League this season. There is always excitement around a new club when it enters the league, and this should be no different. The team will be playing their home games in a brand new, state-of-the-art ballpark and for a fan base that has shown tremendous support in anticipation of the team’s arrival. The Ducks are slated to get their first look at the Rockers and BB&T Point Ballpark when they make the trek to High Point, N.C. for a three-game set May 21st-23rd. Meanwhile, the Rockers will make their first visit to Long Island for a three-game weekend series June 7th-9th.

DIVISIONAL BATTLE

2018 saw the Ducks and Patriots both clinch postseason berths and meet in the Liberty Division Championship Series for a fourth consecutive year. In what has become an annual installment between the two teams, fans around the Atlantic League often expect the two sides to be in close division races down to the wire during each half. Last year, the two teams played all of their meetings in each half early, with clubs wrapping up their nine first half games against one another by May 27th and their second half meetings by August 8th. That prevented the teams from playing some tense, dramatic games late in the halves. This year will be a different story. Long Island and Somerset will meet nine times in the first half, all during the month of June. During the 20-day span between June 11th and 30th, Long Island will host Somerset for three games and visit the Patriots twice, including a three-game set at TD Bank Ballpark June 28th-30th after which there are just seven games left in the half. These matchups could very well decide the first half Liberty Division champion. Should the Ducks be battling another team for the first half title, June will still be an important month. Of Long Island’s 28 games in June, 23 are against Liberty Division opponents. The Ducks and Patriots will also face off in two important series against Somerset late in the second half, hosting Somerset for four games August 19th-22nd and three more games August 30th-September 1st.

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION

The Ducks and the Fourth of July have almost become synonymous with one another on Long Island. Fans have frequently been able to enjoy celebrating the holiday at Bethpage Ballpark in recent years, with the team often having home games on and around the holiday. However, 2018 represented a rare instance when that was not the case, as the team played a three-game set in New Britain July 3rd-5th. That marked just the second time since 2011 the Ducks did not have a home game on July 4th, with 2016 being the other as the team played in Lancaster. However, Long Island hosted home games July 1st-3rd. This year, the Ducks will be back home for a seven-game homestand during the first seven days of July. Long Island will host a four-game series against the Skeeters July 1st-4th to begin the month before welcoming in the Blue Crabs for a three-game set to wrap up the first half. While fireworks dates have yet to be announced, fans can expect to enjoy the best fireworks show on Long Island July 4th! Stay tuned for the announcement of additional fireworks shows, as well as the full promotional schedule.

HOME FINISH

It has not been often that the Ducks have finished the regular season at home in recent years. During each of the past two seasons, the Ducks have ended their year in Texas against the Skeeters, needing road wins to clinch a playoff berth in each season. In fact, you must go all the way back to 2014 to find the last time the Ducks ended their regular season at home. That year, Long Island ended their season with a six-game homestand, including three against the Barnstormers and three against the Blue Crabs. Now, five years later, the Ducks will end the 2019 season with three home games. The Rockers will come to town for the series the weekend of September 20th-22nd. Though the Ducks hope to have a postseason spot clinched prior to that point, it is typically a bit more comfortable for a team to be playing in its home ballpark for games with added importance.

Which games are you most looking forward to in 2019? Let us know in the comments section of this post!

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
Vega-Fan-Blog

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
Ford-Blog

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!

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

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