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Ducks Memorable Moment Madness: Elite 8

Ducks Moment Madness 042220

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:

[1] Henderson’s No-No 67.0%
[5] 27-Run Opener 33.0%
   
[3] Ray’s 3-HR Game 49.5%
[7] 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
[1] “The Bunt” [1] Inaugural Game [1] Ray is Hits King [1] Henderson’s No-No
[2] Navarrete’s HR [3] Buddy’s #3 Night [3] Navarrete ’09 MVP [7] 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:


PLAYOFF MOMENTS

Lyons2
#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.

Navarrete
#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.


SPECIAL EVENTS

FirstGame
#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!

BuddyNight
#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.


PLAYER AWARDS

NavarreteHitsKing
#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.

RayMVP
#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).


NOTABLE GAMES

HendersonNoNo
#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.

18Inning
#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.

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Ducks Memorable Moment Madness: Sweet 16 – Notable Games Region

Ducks Moment Madness 042020

We’re down to one last region of voting in the Sweet 16 of Ducks Memorable Moment Madness. We saw two matchups go down to the wire in the Player Awards Region, with voting the closest its been in this round of the tournament. When push came to shove though, a pair of achievements by Ray Navarrete have both advanced on to the Elite 8. Here are the results from this past round in the region:

[1] Ray is Hits King 59.5%
[4] Ford 2014 MVP 40.5%
   
[3] Navarrete ’09 MVP 63.3%
[7] Lyons Gold Glove 36.7%

Thus far, all three top-seeds have advanced to the Elite 8, along with one two-seed and two three-seeds. The final region of Sweet 16 action is that of Notable Games, an area in which two favorites advanced while two others were upset in the first round of action. This round will feature the top-seed, Rod Henderson’s No-No going up against the five-seed, 27-Run Opener. The other matchup pits the three-seed, Ray’s 3-Homer Game, against the seven-seed, 18-Inning Game. All four games featured occurrences that have only happened once in franchise history, so it’s anyone’s game. Here are further details about each moment to help you when voting.

HendersonNoNo
#1 – Henderson’s No-No

Only one player in franchise history has ever thrown a no-hitter. Many have come close, but only one has reached the summit. That was Rod Henderson, who accomplished the feat on May 25, 2001, when the Ducks topped the Atlantic City Surf 3-0 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 as well 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.

Nav3HR
#3 – Ray’s 3-HR Game

Continuing along the line of events to only happen once, there has been only one player in Ducks history to launch three home runs in a single game. The great Ray Navarrete is the lone man to do so. On June 8, 2008, against the Newark Bears at Citibank Park, #16 set the franchise single-game homer record in a 13-6 win before a sellout crowd of 6,051. After going deep in two of his first three at bats, Navarrete would drive a 3-2 pitch over the fence for his third home run of the day. The day also saw him collect eight RBIs, which remains tied for the franchise single-game record to this day.

27Run
#5 – 27-Run Opener

Home openers don’t get much more exciting than the one the Ducks put together in 2018. On May 4, the Ducks opened their home slate against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and put together a performance for the ages. Long Island scored at least one run in every inning except the first and ended the night with a 27-9 win, breaking the franchise record for most runs in a single game. The Ducks put together seven-run innings in the second and eighth to lead the way. David Washington led the Flock with four hits, including a pair of homers, and tied a franchise record with six runs scored. Cody Puckett also homered and collected six RBIs along with five runs.

18Inning
#7 – 18-Inning Game

The longest game in franchise history takes the seventh seed in the region. That game took place on September 12, 2006, when the Ducks matched up with the 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 teams combined to use 15 pitchers in the game, while there were a grand total of 159 plate appearances in the affair. Long Island dramatically came back to tie the game with a five-run eighth inning and did so again with two runs in the 15th. 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.

It’s time to finalize the last two spots in the Elite 8 of Ducks Memorable Moment Madness. Voting for our first matchup will be held on Monday, while the second head-to-head battle takes place on Tuesday. At that point, just eight of the original 32 moments will remain in the competition. Place your votes on our Facebook and Twitter pages each day by clicking the buttons below to access.

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Ducks Memorable Moment Madness: Sweet 16 – Player Awards Region

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Half of our Elite 8 bracket is now set in the Ducks Memorable Moment Madness competition following two more days of terrific voter turnout. Following the advance of “The Bunt” and Navarrete’s Homer in the Playoff Moments region, we saw another top seed advance and then an upset take place in a matchup of jersey retirements in the Special Events Region. Let’s look at the results from both head-to-head battles from the region:

[1] Inaugural Game 69.7%
[4] Davies’ #4 Night 30.3%
   
[2] Ray’s #16 Day 23.3%
[3] Buddy’s #3 Night 76.7%

That leaves us with four moments still remaining on the left side of the bracket. Now, let’s shift over to the right side and continue with our Sweet 16 voting. We move on to the Player Awards Region, where we will have four impressive honors duking it out for a spot in the Elite 8. This round of competition will highlight two of Ray Navarrete’s accomplishments – his Ducks all-time hits record and 2009 Player of the Year award. The hits record will do battle with Lew Ford’s 2014 Player of the Year honor, while his MVP award will go up against Dan Lyons’ 2015 Gold Glove. Each recognition was memorable, but only two can advance. Let’s learn more about each honor:

NavarreteHitsKing
#1 – Ray is Hits King

Justin Davies had held the record for most hits in Long Island Ducks history from the time he retired in 2005 until the 2011 season. At that point, another one of the team’s legends had closed in on this monumental record. Ray Navarrete had already become the team’s leader in home runs, RBIs, runs scored and doubles, but on May 22, 2011, he would 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.

RayMVP
#3 – Navarrete 2009 MVP

Navarrete is back at the forefront again thanks to the fact that he became the first Ducks player to win the Atlantic League’s Player of the Year award in 2009. That memorable season saw #16 set the league record for games played (139) and also set five Ducks single-season records in 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).

FordMVP
#4 – Ford 2014 MVP

Lew Ford, at the age of 37 going on 38, put together an unbelievable 2014 campaign that made him the second Duck to be named Atlantic League Player of the Year. He most notably played in all 140 games during the regular season, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat. He also amassed 189 hits during the season, breaking the previous league record held by Somerset’s Victor Rodriguez (179, 2004). Ford led the Atlantic League in doubles (40) and finished second in batting average (.347), RBIs (95), runs (100), total bases (278) and on-base percentage (.415).

LyonsGG
#7 – Lyons Gold Glove

In 2015, the Atlantic League and Rawlings entered into a partnership. Among the many benefits included a player being named the Rawlings Gold Glove Defensive Player of the Year and receiving an actual Gold Glove for his accomplishment. The first player to ever earn this honor was Ducks shortstop Dan Lyons. That year, among all other ALPB shortstops with at least 100 games played, he posted the highest fielding percentage (.976) and recorded the second-most assists (355) and putouts (183). Lyons showed impressive range all over the field, routinely making plays up the middle and to his right, showcasing a strong arm and demonstrating a consistent ability to race down shallow fly balls.

Which player awards will continue on in Memorable Moment Madness? Only you, the fans, can determine that. Cast your votes on Thursday and Friday by visiting our Facebook and Twitter pages for your favorite honors. We’ll round out the Sweet 16 next week before moving on to the Elite 8.

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Ducks Memorable Moment Madness: Sweet 16 – Special Events Region

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Our first set of matchups have come and gone in the Sweet 16, and we are down to just two playoff moments left vying for a spot in the Final Four of Ducks Memorable Moment Madness. While all four of the memories in the Sweet 16 were tremendous in franchise history, the voting showed that fans truly believed that two were far and away supreme. Here are the results from the Playoff Moments Region:

[1] “The Bunt” 83.8%
[5] Davies Walk-Offs 16.2%
[2] Navarrete’s Homer 69.8%
[3] Johnson’s Catch 30.2%

That sets up for an epic battle in the Elite 8 to decide which incredible Atlantic League Championship Series moment will represent the region in the Final Four. Before we get to that point though, we must continue our Sweet 16 voting in the Notable Events region. All four favorites advanced in the first round of the competition, with the franchise’s inaugural game and all three jersey retirements surviving. As we get ready to begin the matchups, here is a refresher about each of the four events:

FirstGame
#1 – Inaugural Game

It is fitting that the first-ever game in Long Island Ducks history would also be the number one seed in this region of the bracket. 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! Additionally, residents of the Island had a wonderful new way to enjoy affordable, family-friendly entertainment for years to come. Though the Ducks lost the game to the Nashua Pride, the night will forever be remembered for much more than the final score.

RayDay
#2 – Ray’s #16 Day

Though his jersey was the second to be retired in franchise history, the significance of Ray Navarrete being arguably the greatest player in franchise history puts him as the second-seed. His #16 jersey was affixed to the scoreboard forever on August 16, 2015, prior to the Ducks game against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. The lengthy pre-game ceremony saw Navarrete joined by friends and family along with several of his former teammates. The day was also made even more special, as the first 1,500 fans in attendance received a bobblehead of Ray that immortalized his memorable Game Five home run in the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series.

BuddyNight
#3 – Buddy’s #3 Night

August 3, 2018, will be a date that no Ducks fan, player, coach or staff member will ever forget. That was the night the Ducks celebrated the legendary #3, Bud Harrelson. Bud Harrelson Appreciation Night saw a delightful pre-game ceremony in which Buddy’s famous #3 was retired by the organization. A stirring pre-game ceremony saw speeches from Ducks Founder/CEO Frank Boulton, Manager Kevin Baez (who was brought to tears), and Buddy’s daughter, Kassie, on behalf of his family. Many other “thank you” messages played on the scoreboard. 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 course of their game, with each featuring number three on the back.

DaviesNight
#4 – Davies’ #4 Night

Another fitting moment in this region, as our fourth seed features the night that Justin Davies had his #4 retired. Davies became the first Duck to receive this great honor on June 19, 2015, before the Ducks faced the Bridgeport Bluefish. It was also fitting that Bridgeport was Long Island’s opponent, given Davies’ involvement in the famous August 9, 2004, game between the two cross-sound rivals. Davies thanked all of the fans that supported him during his six seasons with Long Island in a special pre-game ceremony that night, with friends and family joining him on the field. The first 1,500 fans through the gates that night also received commemorative number four t-shirts.

Now that you’ve been reminded about these four momentous occasions, it’s time to determine which two will move on to the Elite 8. The Inaugural Game will face Davies’ #4 Night on Tuesday, while Ray’s #16 Day will battle Buddy’s #3 Night on Wednesday. Vote each day on our Facebook and Twitter pages by clicking the buttons below for which moment you feel deserves to advance.

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Ducks Memorable Moment Madness: Sweet 16 – Playoff Moments Region

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The first round of voting is now officially complete in the Ducks Memorable Moment Madness bracket challenge. Fans have done a terrific job of casting their ballot every weekday on Facebook and Twitter on which moment they feel should advance to the next round. This past week was focused on notable games that have taken place throughout the Ducks 20 seasons of play thus far. For the second consecutive week, we have seen a seven seed upset a two seed. Additionally, this region featured the closest voting among all four matchups. Here are the results from the Notable Games Region:

[1] Henderson’s No-No 57.0%
[8] 11-Run Rally 43.0%
[2] Machete’s Cycle 42.1%
[7] ’06 18-Inning Game 57.9%
[3] Ray’s 3-HR Game 54.1%
[6] Rich Hill’s 14 K’s 45.9%
[4] Brownell/Lyons Show 37.5%
[5] 27-Run Opener 62.5%

Now that the first round has been completed, let’s take a look at which moments make up the Sweet 16:

PLAYOFF MOMENTS SPECIAL EVENTS PLAYER AWARDS NOTABLE GAMES
[1] “The Bunt” [1] Inaugural Game [1] Ray is Hits King [1] Henderson’s No-No
[2] Navarrete’s HR [2] Ray’s #16 Day [3] Navarrete ’09 MVP [3] Ray’s 3-HR Game
[3] Johnson’s Catch [3] Buddy’s #3 Night [4] Ford ’14 MVP [5] 27-Run Opener
[5] Davies Winners [4] Davies’ #4 Night [7] Lyons Gold Glove [7] 18-Inning Game

As the Sweet 16 gets underway, action will once again begin in the Playoff Moments Region of the bracket. The top seed, “The Bunt” will face the five seed, Davies Winners, in one matchup. The other battle will be two seed Navarrete’s HR against three seed Johnson’s Catch. To help you choose which moments advance to the Elite 8, here are some further details about each:

Lyons2
#1 – “The Bunt”

Winning a championship on a walk-off is a rare feat. Doing so on a walk-off bunt single is almost unfathomable. Don’t tell that to Dan Lyons, though. In Game Five of the 2012 Atlantic League Championship Series at Bethpage Ballpark, the Ducks shortstop ended the team’s eight-year title drought with a bunt single up the third base line, scoring 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.

Navarrete
#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, win their second consecutive championship, and send Navarrete off in style.

2004
#3 –Johnson’s Catch

There aren’t many play-by-play calls more etched in the memory of Ducks fans than “Jason Johnson makes the catch! He makes the catch!” That momentous call from Ducks broadcaster Chris King marked the final out of Long Island’s three-game sweep of the Camden Riversharks in the 2004 Atlantic League Championship Series, clinching the Ducks first-ever league title.

IslBG
#5 –Davies Walk-Offs

Long Island would not have won its first-ever championship in 2004 if not for the heroics of all-time Ducks great Justin Davies. In the first two championship games ever played in Central Islip, Davies ended both in walk-off fashion. Game One saw Davies connect for a single to right in the 11th inning off Evan Thomas, scoring Jason Johnson, for an 11-10 win. One night later, the outfielder singled off the glove of third baseman Brad Strauss in the ninth inning to score Luis Rodriguez, securing a 5-4 win. Davies would go on to be named Championship Series MVP.

With all of that in mind, it is about time to begin voting for your favorite moments in Ducks playoff history. Cast your ballot each weekday on our Facebook and Twitter feeds to determine which one moves on to the Elite 8. Every day will feature a new matchup, and only you, the fans, have the ability to decide which memorable moment will ultimately be the greatest in franchise history.

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