Long Island Ducks Start Undefeated at Home

When you think “baseball”, you think about beer, hotdogs, father-son bonding time, and maybe a few ketchup stains on your shirt. What you don’t think about, is a double header in 53 degree weather and wind gusts that would blow the cap off your head. That was the painted picture at Bethpage Ballpark for the clashing of the Long Island Ducks and the Lancaster Barnstormers.

“You know I think if you were playing, if you were moving around, you were okay, but if you were just sitting there, not doing anything, that’s when you really felt it” explained Ducks manager Kevin Baez about the cold weather.

On a night where the media staff was spoiled with a heated press box and the luxury of cushioned seats, the fans wrapped themselves up in blankets while watching a Ducks sweep. A rainout yesterday was the reason for a single admission double header.

Game 1 was a pitching duel between Barnstormers righty Bryan Evans and Ducks righty Bobby Blevins. Evans got the loss after tossing six innings of two hit ball but it was Blevins that got the win while going six innings as well, giving up four hits and striking out four along the way. The game was scoreless going into the seventh but after the Evans walked Blake Tekotte, it was Scott Gracey that came in and let up a base hit followed by consecutive walks which scored Tekotte for the “Waddle-off” win.

“The first game was nice, a great pitchers duel, and it was real nice to come out on top” says Baez after winning the first game.

Now, if you were hoping for a little more excitement after the first of the two-game set, you got it and then some.

“It’s nice, we needed this after starting the season the way we did on the road. You need good pitching and hitting and defense and we’ve been getting all three”. These were the words once again from the Ducks skipper who spoke from his desk in a Ducks winter jacket and ski cap after a 13-5 victory in the following game.

The second game, in a respectful sense, resembled that of a beer league game where the losing team was just waiting for the mercy rule to come into play. The Ducks threw down the hammer and ran up the score as the Barnstormers could not help themselves. At one point, in the sixth, winning pitcher Jack Snodgrass surrendered three runs to give the Barnstormers a slight bit of hope, but shortstop Justin Jackson struck out to end the bleeding.

“I felt pretty good tonight” explained Snodgrass. “You know, I’m a sinker ball pitcher and my first few starts were a bit hit or miss but today I felt a lot more comfortable”.

The two game set was great for a few reasons, but the most important reason was the fact that the Ducks earned their sixth win in a row to remain undefeated at home after starting the season with just one win in seven games. The highlight in the press box was without a doubt the services of Executive Chef Paul Seaman treating the media to some fresh baked homemade cookies.

The victory over the Barnstormers bumped the Ducks into second place in the Liberty division as they head out to play there cross-sound rivals, the Bridgeport Bluefish, for the next three games. Bridgeport has struggled of late, losing four in a row, so we can only expect to see the flock fly in and drown the fish in all three games on the road.

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