Ducks Memorable Moment Madness: Elite 8
Two rounds have come and gone in the inaugural Ducks Memorable Moment Madness competition. We have seen thousands of votes cast since the beginning, and 32 of the most historic moments in the franchise’s 20-year existence have been whittled down to eight. Voting in the Sweet 16 wrapped up this week, as we saw two first round favorite match up with two first round underdogs. The final matchup came down to the very end, with the two separated by just one vote. Here were the results:
| Henderson’s No-No||67.0%|
| 27-Run Opener||33.0%|
| Ray’s 3-HR Game||49.5%|
| 18-Inning Game||50.5%|
The Cinderella story of the 18-Inning Game in 2006 has continued on in the tournament, marking the lowest seed remaining in the bracket. All four top-seeds have advanced, as well as one two-seed and two three-seeds. Let’s take a look at the field that remains and the match-ups for the Elite 8:
|PLAYOFF MOMENTS||SPECIAL EVENTS||PLAYER AWARDS||NOTABLE GAMES|
| “The Bunt”|| Inaugural Game|| Ray is Hits King|| Henderson’s No-No|
| Navarrete’s HR|| Buddy’s #3 Night|| Navarrete ’09 MVP|| 18-Inning Game|
Each of these incredible memories has built a strong case for why it is the greatest in franchise history. However, only one will be able to hold that honor when the tournament is complete. To get there, we first need to determine the best moment in each region to make up the Final Four of the tournament. Before we begin voting in the Elite 8, which will take place over the next four days, here is some further detail about each moment vying for a regional championship:
#1 – “The Bunt”
In Game Five of the 2012 Atlantic League Championship Series at Bethpage Ballpark, Ducks shortstop Dan Lyons ended the team’s eight-year title drought in the most unfathomable way possible: A bunt single up the third base line. The perfectly-placed bunt scored Matt Esquivel with the winning run. It remains the only one of Long Island’s four championships to be clinched on their home playing field. Lyons earned Championship Series MVP honors for his heroics.
#2 – Navarrete’s Homer
Ray Navarrete always had a flair for the dramatic. No moment of his career though was bigger than his go-ahead three-run home run in Game Five of the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series. In what would be the final game of his pro career, Navarrete’s blast against the Somerset Patriots put the Ducks ahead for good. Long Island would win the game 6-4 and win their second consecutive championship, sending Navarrete off in style.
#1 – Inaugural Game
April 28, 2000, is a date that is so important, not to just the Ducks franchise, but to Long Island in general. From Founder Frank Boulton opening the gates to the first customers at then-EAB Park, to the lineup card exchange between managers Bud Harrelson (LI) and Butch Hobson (NA), to the first pitch being thrown by Eddy Ramos to Milt Culyer, a challenging mission had been accomplished – professional baseball had finally arrived on Long Island!
#3 – Buddy’s #3 Night
On August 3, 2018, the Ducks celebrated Bud Harrelson Appreciation Night. Buddy’s famous #3 was retired by the organization in a special pre-game ceremony. Speeches were made by Boulton, Manager Kevin Baez, and Buddy’s daughter, Kassie, on behalf of his family. Ducks players and coaches also paid tribute while helping raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, which Harrelson was recently diagnosed with, by donning special purple jerseys throughout the game, each featuring number three on the back.
#1 – Ray is Hits King
Justin Davies held the record for most hits in Ducks history from the time he retired in 2005 until the 2011 season. At that point, Ray Navarrete had already become the team’s leader in home runs, RBIs, runs scored and doubles. However, on May 22, 2011, he would also become the hits king in dramatic fashion. His go-ahead three-run home run in the ninth inning at York gave him 616 hits in his Ducks career, officially surpassing Davies.
#3 – Navarrete 2009 MVP
In 2009, Navarrete became the first Ducks player to win the Atlantic League’s Player of the Year award. That memorable season saw #16 set the league record for games played (139) and set five Ducks single-season records: games, at-bats (531), runs (106), hits (164) and extra-base hits (66). Navarrete led the league in RBIs (96), hits, runs, extra-base hits and doubles (39), while finishing second in home runs (25), fifth in on-base percentage (.403) and third in slugging percentage (.531).
#1 – Henderson’s No-No
Rod Henderson threw the first, and only, no-hitter in Ducks history on May 25, 2001. In a 3-0 win over the Atlantic City Surf at EAB Park, the right-hander went the distance, allowing just two walks while striking out 10 batters. He faced just one batter over the minimum and needed just 108 pitches to seal the deal. The two-year MLB veteran was also the first Atlantic League pitcher to throw a no-hitter.
#7 – 18-Inning Game
The longest game in franchise history took place on September 12, 2006, when the Ducks matched up with the Camden Riversharks at Citibank Park. By night’s end, the game had lasted 18 innings in total and took a league-record six hours, 20 minutes to complete, with Camden eventually earning the win. The game took so long that Ducks front office staff members had to fill in for the bat boys, who needed to get home because it was a school night.
With all of the matchups and information now in place, it’s time to begin formulating the Final Four of Ducks Memorable Moment Madness. Cast your vote each weekday on our Facebook and Twitter pages for which memory you feel deserves to be that region’s champion. You can simply click the buttons below to visit both pages. Voting for the Elite 8 will wrap up next Monday, with the semifinals taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday and the championship game wrapping up the tournament on Thursday, April 30.
Posted on April 22, 2020, in Feature Articles and tagged 2020, Atlantic League, Bracket, Elite 8, Long Island Ducks, March Madness, Memorable Moment Madness, Notable Games, Player Awards, Playoff Moments, Special Events, Sweet 16. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.