In one of the best pitching duels of the season in any league, the Long Island Ducks and the Somerset Patriots stayed locked in a nothing nothing no hit game until the fourth inning. The Ducks Fehlandt Lentini ended one of these starter’s bid for a no hitter, on a bloop single to left. But he was stranded at first as Patriots lefty Rick Weasley continued to mow down the Long Island Fouls like a line of Red Coats at Bunker Hill.
Occupying the same hill albeit the top of every inning was the Ducks’ righty Dennis O’Grady who strung his own duck eggs on the scoreboard for seven innings of no-hit ball. After he gave up his first hit to catcher Adam Donachie on a clean soft line drive to center in the eighth inning, he was lifted. He had reached 102 pitches of brilliant one-hit ball with outstanding command and control of all his pitches. His curve was absolutely unhitable.
But pitchers today have a shorter battery life than an iPhone on face-time. When the low battery light goes on at 95 pitches, you have to get them out of there. It’s just the way it is today. Baseball is now what the NBA became when the game was decided in the last five minuets of play. After the starters pitched their hearts out for six or seven innings, it became a period of anxiety for the 5,885 in attendance, as it was now in the hands of the bullpen.
That call to the pen, brought in Chin-Hui Taso who proceeded to walk his first batter and then give up a weak single to right. When the next batter hit a ball back to the box to Taso he went home to start a 1-2-3 double play. It seemed like he would get out of the inning. But then he walked Justin Pacchiolia, it brought up former big leaguer Bryan LaHair. Thank you wind blowing in from right as he launched what looked like a disaster until it was caught against the wall. Okay, looks like a beautiful old fashioned one zip shutout, followed by a fireworks extravaganza at the end of the game.
The Ducks pushed an insurance run across in the bottom of the eighth, so things looked good. But the whole atmosphere changed in a hurry. When former CY Young winner Eric Gagne came in trying to close it out, he was greeted with a leadoff double to left and did not look sharp as he gave up another single and then a game tying triple. He recorded his first out only after giving up a misplaced single to left where the runner was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. That gave the Patriots the lead. Blowing a two run lead in the ninth at any level is not how you get back to the “Show.”
The Duck fans came alive again as they watched their never say quit team start their own fireworks show. It started with two singles by Angelo Songco and Elmer Reyes. Then Marc Krauss doubled deep to right center to drive in the tying run. Here we go again. You could see the fireworks guy behind the centerfield wall light up his torch in anticipation of another miracle. The Patriots had no choice but to intentionally walk Alex Burg who had homered in the fourth. With the bases loaded and no one out, Patriots manager Brett Jodie made things interesting by putting right fielder Jerry Sands in as a fifth infielder, leaving only two in the outfield. It worked as Delta Cleary, Jr. hit a fielders choice to short who came home for the force out. This set the stage for Giovanny Alfanzo to be the hero two nights in a row. He hit a routine double play ball to Patriots second baseman Tyler Bortnick who booted it, allowing Krauss to score the winning run. It was deja vu all over again.
For two nights in a row, Duck fans were treated to another walk off win as the home team again pushed across the tying and winning runs in the ninth. Only this time, it was followed by a fireworks show as the red, white and blue rockets, glared into the night.