Following a heartbreaking, 15-inning 4-3 loss against the York Revolution, the Long Island Ducks sit at 19-16, five games behind the Somerset Patriots in the Liberty Division of the Atlantic Baseball League. The crowd of 5,117 was nearly gone at the end of the 4 hour and 35 minute affair. This was the longest game in terms of innings and time for the Ducks this year.
The Ducks started off strong, with Jon Griffin lacing a single over the second baseman’s head, giving the Ducks an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The score would stay like that until the top of the third, when Willie Cabrera led off with a single. Sean Smith went to bunt him over, but Ducks starter Ian Marshall slipped upon fielding the ball, and made a weak throw to first, leaving Smith safe.
A wild pitch and passed ball allowed the Revolution to score and cut the deficit to 2-1. After back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the fourth, Ducks’ right fielder Bryan Sabatella hit into a fielders choice, scoring a runner from third and increasing the lead by a run. The Revolution would get that back their next time up, and the Ducks took a 3-2 lead into the 6th.
Andres Perez delivered a towering solo home run that hit half way up the scoreboard in left center for the Revolution, and that would bring things back to a 3-3 draw in the 6th.
The score would remained tied until Sean Smith hit his first home run of the year in the 15th, and closer Josh Judy would retire the Ducks in order to close out the game and extend the Revolution’s winning streak to four games.
“Our pitching was outstanding today, it kept us in the game,” Ducks’ skipper Kevin Baez said following the loss, “But then again so did theirs.”
The Ducks’ bullpen was lights out, allowing only the one run, five hits and six strikeouts in 9.2 innings pitched.
In addition to stellar relief pitching, the Ducks also stranded 13 runners on base as opposed to the Revolution’s eight.
“The key to wining ball games is to drive runners in and not leave them on base. We go over situational hitting everyday in BP,” Baez said.
“We gotta do better than that,” said 2014 Atlantic League Player of the Year Lew Ford on the 13 runners left on base. “We had the chances we just didn’t deliver. It’s something we gotta work on and something we gotta get better at.”
Both Baez and Ford commented on what the Ducks need to improve upon for the rest of the year.
“We have to improve on situational hitting to make a run at the Patriots. Pitching, defense, and timely hitting are the keys to winning baseball games. If you can make an out, and it’s a productive out and get a run in, that’s how you win ball games,” Baez said in regards to his team’s current standing in the Liberty Division behind the Patriots.
Lew Ford added, “What happened today its what’s been going on all season, but magnified. We’ve been pitching pretty well, been playing good defense, but we just cant get the guys in. All those close losses add up, and we need to win those close games to catch the Patriots.”
The Ducks and York Revolution play again tomorrow night, and then finish up their series on Tuesday at Bethpage Ballpark on Long Island.