Franchise wins second league title, first since 2004
The Long Island Ducks defeated the Lancaster Barnstormers 5-4 in waddle-off fashion on Sunday night, Oct. 7, in Game Five of the Atlantic League Championship Series at Bethpage Ballpark. The Ducks won the best-of-five series three games to two and were named the 2012 Atlantic League Champions.
Long Island jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly to center by Ray Navarrete and a RBI single to right by Bryant Nelson off Barnstormers starter Dwayne Pollok. After a Tommy Everidge homer in the second off Ducks starter Bobby Blevins, Long Island added another run in the bottom of the frame on a RBI single to right by Joash Brodin.
Ryan Harvey’s solo homer in the fourth made the score 3-2, but a RBI double by Matt Esquivel in the fifth pushed the Ducks lead back to two. It stayed that way until the ninth, when the Barnstormers rallied for two runs to tie the game at four. Travis Denker’s solo homer and a run-scoring error highlighted the inning.
However, in the bottom of the ninth, Long Island put runners at second and third with two outs for Dan Lyons, who laid down a bunt single to bring home Matt Esquivel from third with the winning run.
Neither starter factored into the decision. Blevins pitched six innings of two-run ball, allowing five hits while striking out five, and Pollok yielded four runs (three earned) on 10 hits in five innings. Leo Rosales (1-1) picked up the win despite allowing two runs (one earned) in the ninth inning, and Joe Bateman (0-1) suffered the loss after walking the eventual winning run. Kraig Binick and Brodin each had three hits to lead the Ducks, while Lyons earned Atlantic League Championship Series MVP honors.
With the victory, Long Island earns its second Atlantic League title in franchise history and first since 2004. It is the first time the Ducks have won the Atlantic League Championship at Bethpage Ballpark and the first time they did so without ever leading in the series until the final game.
With the win, the Ducks improved to 7-6 all-time and 7-3 at home in games when facing elimination. They are also finished 3-0 in the 2012 postseason in such games, winning Game Four of the Atlantic League Championship Series and Game Five in both the Liberty Division Championship Series and Atlantic League Championship Series…Ducks starters led the way during the 2012 playoffs. In 10 postseason games, Ducks starters allowed just 24 earned runs in 59 and one-third innings (3.64 ERA) while striking out 51 batters and walking just 23…Kraig Binick, Joash Brodin and Mitch Canham each hit safely in all five games of the Atlantic League Championship Series. The Ducks collected 28 runs on 48 hits as a team in the last four games after totaling 21 runs on 46 hits in the first six games of the playoffs.