Ninth-place Ducks rally fails in Game 1 of Atlantic League Championship Series
It was weird, it was long, and after 3 hours and 52 minutes, it wasn’t quite enough.
The Ducks fell to the Lexington Legends, 7-5, in Game 1 of the Atlantic League Best of Five Championship Series Friday night at the Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip. The Ducks will host Game 2 at 1:35 p.m. Saturday (moved from 6:35 p.m. due to bad weather forecasts).
“They outperformed us. That’s the end result,” said manager Wally Backman. “It could have been different, but it wasn’t.”
Trailing 7-4, the Ducks put the runners in first and third with no outs in the ninth, and after Deibinson Romero walked two to lead to Boog Powell they had the point winning on goals. But Chris Shaw flew to the warning lane in right center field to end the game.
“He had a chance,” Shaw said. “. . . Unfortunately he got into [centerfielder Cole Sturgeon’s] glove. He played a great game. We’re just going to get ready to play tomorrow and clear tonight. “
The Ducks were 1-0 behind in the North Division championship series earlier this week and have won the last two games to qualify. They’ll need another comeback to win a second straight Atlantic League title and a fifth in franchise history.
After Lexington scored a run in each of the first two innings, the Ducks scored four in the third. Steve Lombardozzi’s sacrifice fly reduced Lexington’s lead to 2-1. Lew Ford then dribbled a 0-2 pitch to Lexington starter Eli Garcia, who performed a double clutch and threw him past first base, leading to two more points, a 3-2 lead in the Ducks and Ford placing third after another pitching error. by right-hander Tillman Pugh. A batter later, LJ Mazzilli’s single gave the Ducks a 4-2 lead.
Ducks starter Brendan Feldmann hit two batters in the fourth quarter and was called out after charging in goal with one putout. Anderson DeLeon bounced his first pitch in front of receiver Hector Sanchez, allowing Juan Silverio to score. Four shots later, former Red Brandon Phillips’ sacrifice fly tied the score at 4.
Lexington scored two runs in the sixth to regain the lead. Courtney Hawkins’ slow down center center ended up in center field and gave the Legends a 5-4 lead. When Roberto Baldoquin pulled the stick out for the second out, Sanchez appeared to believe the inning was over and threw the ball away as he made his way to the dugout. The runners received two goals, Hawkins scored and Lexington again led by two.
Backman said, “It’s just a little brain cramp that Hector had.”