One Last Chance to Celebrate

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Opening Night at Bethpage Ballpark has officially arrived. Since the Ducks took down the Somerset Patriots in Game Five of the Atlantic League Championship Series on September 29, 2013, players, coaches, staff members and fans have been counting down the days until tonight. The offseason has come and gone, spring training is complete, the first road trip of the season is in the books, and the time has come to take the field at the Duck Pond.

Tonight is a special night not just because it’s the first home game of 2014, the 15th Anniversary Season of Ducks baseball on Long Island. It’s even more meaningful because the organization will be celebrating its third Atlantic League championship. From the first 1,500 fans in attendance receiving replica championship rings, courtesy of P.C. Richard and Son, to members of last year’s team receiving their official championship rings on the field, and to the banner being raised, tonight is about celebrating history.

Gates will open at 6:05 for tonight’s ballgame, and fans should be in their seats by 6:30 to enjoy all of the pre-game festivities taking place. The championship ring and banner raising ceremony will take place first, with Atlantic League executive director Joe Klein, Ducks founder and CEO Frank Boulton and Ducks president and general manager Michael Pfaff handing out the championship rings. Here is the list of those in attendance receiving hardware:

Training Staff

Tony Amin – Coordinator/Fitness Specialist
Dottie Pitchford – Team Trainer
Frank D’Aversa – Speed and Conditioning Coach

Coaching Staff

Kevin Baez – Manager
Steve Foucault – Pitching Coach
Bud Harrelson – Bench Coach
Lew Ford – Hitting Coach/Outfielder
Greg DePalma – Bullpen Catcher

Players Currently on Ducks

Bobby Blevins – Pitcher
John Brownell – Pitcher & 2013 Championship Series MVP
Shaun Garceau – Pitcher
Jared Lansford – Pitcher
Josh Lansford – Pitcher
Eric Niesen – Pitcher
Leo Rosales – Pitcher
Matt Way – Pitcher
Joash Brodin – Infielder
Dan Lyons – Infielder
Ryan Strieby – Infielder
Adam Bailey – Outfielder

Players Returning from 2013 Ducks

Pete Budkevics – Pitcher
Kraig Binick – Outfielder
Ray Navarrete – Designated Hitter

Following the ring ceremony, the 2013 Atlantic League champions banner will be raised to the top of the scoreboard. Next, the 2014 Ducks and York Revolution will be introduced along the first and third base lines, respectively. Then, following the National Anthem, it will be time to play ball.

Brownell will make his second start of the year tonight for the Ducks. He tossed six innings of two-run ball against the Patriots in the season opener, allowing just four hits while striking out five. He would end up taking a no-decision in Somerset’s 3-2 15 inning win. He’ll be opposed by Revolution southpaw Alain Quijano who will also start for the second time in 2014. His first start came this past Sunday in York against the Camden Riversharks, and the 31-year-old threw four shutout innings, giving up six hits and two walks while striking out four. The Revolution went on to win the game 3-2 and cap a four-game sweep of Camden.

Here are some key notes for tonight’s game:

Home Openers: The Ducks have currently won two consecutive home openers, three of the last four and five of the last seven. Long Island has outscored their opponents 23-7 in their back-to-back wins, defeating the Sugar Land Skeeters 10-5 in 2013 and the Camden Riversharks 13-2 in 2012. The Ducks are 8-6 all-time in openers at the Duck Pond.

Ducks vs. Revolution: Today marks the first meeting of the season between the Ducks and Revolution and the first of 10 meetings between the two at Bethpage Ballpark in 2014. Long Island and York have played 135 games against each other all-time, with the Ducks holding a 70-65 advantage in the series and a 42-26 lead in Central Islip. The Revolution won the 2013 season series between the two teams by an 11-9 margin.

Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford earned his first multi-hit and multi-RBI game of the year in game one on Thursday with two hits and five runs batted in. It was the former big leaguer’s highest RBI total in a single game with the Flock since June 9, 2011 when he drove in seven runs in a 25-10 win at Lancaster. Ford totaled eight multi-hit and two multi-RBI games with the Ducks in 17 games during the 2013 season. He also now has a four-game hitting streak.

Oh What a Relief They Are: The Ducks bullpen has been outstanding over the first five games of the season. Long Island relievers have combined to allow just one run over 22.1 innings, good for a 0.40 ERA. In that span, the relievers have also allowed just 18 hits and six walks while striking out 14. As for the starters, they have combined to walk just three batters while striking out 21 over 23 and one-third innings thus far.

Countdown to 6 Million: This season, the Ducks will welcome their 6 millionth fan through the gates at Bethpage Ballpark, doing so faster than any other pro sports franchise with the ballpark the size of the Duck Pond (capacity 6,002). Long Island has currently welcomed an Atlantic League record 5,941,118 fans since the inaugural 2000 season, leaving the Ducks just 58,882 fans away from the magical 6 million mark.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on your radio dial at Long Island’s home for news, traffic and weather, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. A live video stream of tonight’s game, as well as the pre-game festivities, will be available on the Ducks official YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE.

Here is the Ducks starting lineup for Opening Night:

Ducks
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5   Chris McClendon – 3B
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#33 Ryan Strieby – DH
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#23 Brian Peacock – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#7   John Brownell – RHP

York’s starting lineup has not yet been posted. Manager Mark Mason is checking with his training staff first and will probably not post a lineup until after batting practice. We’ll update you here as soon as we have a lineup and then throughout the game. Keep refreshing and stay tuned throughout!

UPDATE (6:14): The pre-game show has begun! Watch all the action live right here: .

UPDATE (7:18): For pictures from today’s opening ceremonies, please visit www.twitter.com/liducks. Here’s York’s lineup:

#12 Sean Smith – CF
#21 Wilson Valdez – SS
#4   Eric Patterson – RF
#2   Chad Tracy – 1B
#14 Johan Limonta – DH
#17 Travis Garcia – 3B
#11 Ofilio Castro – 2B
#34 Salvador Paniagua – C
#26 Tim Torres – LF

#6   Alain Quijano – LHP

UPDATE (7:27): We are underway, as John Brownell delivers a first pitch strike!

UPDATE (7:40): Both sides are retired in order in their half of the first inning.

UPDATE (7:46): York gets on the scoreboard first on a Travis Garcia two-run home run to left in the second.

UPDATE (8:08): Two more runs come across in the third on a wild pitch and a sac fly by Wilson Valdez. 4-0 Revs lead.

UPDATE (8:29): Brownell bounces back in the fourth with a 1-2-3 inning.

UPDATE (8:42): Brownell takes a hard comebacker off his shin from Valdez in the fifth but stays in the ballgame.

UPDATE (8:52): Long Island gets on the scoreboard! Adam Bailey launches a solo blast to right field for his first homer of the year!

UPDATE (9:07): Brad Holt replaces Brownell in the seventh. Final line for Brownell: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 101 pitches, 67 strikes.

UPDATE (9:15): A RBI fielder’s choice by Valdez scores Tim Torres to extend York’s lead to 5-1.

UPDATE (9:22): Stephen Penney replaces Alain Quijano in the seventh. His final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 83 pitches, 51 strikes.

UPDATE (9:45): York still holds a 5-1 lead as we go to the ninth at Bethpage Ballpark. 

UPDATE (10:24): Ducks fall in their home opener to the Revolution 6-1. Recap coming shortly at liducks.com

UPDATE (9:55): The Revs add a run in the ninth on a double to left by Eric Patterson

UPDATE (10:48): York takes Long Island’s home opener by a 6-1 count. Recap coming soon on LIDucks.com

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Posted on May 2, 2014, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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