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Rey Fuentes (courtesy of Long Island Ducks - Charlie Barbeisch)

Baseball

Fuentes’ Grand Slam Keys Ducks Win Over York

The Long Island Ducks completed an emphatic sweep of the York Revolution (20-13, 54-48) Thursday night at Bethpage Ballpark powered by Rey Fuentes’ grand slam that keyed a 10-2 win. The Ducks entered the series against the Revolution with a pedestrian 14-15 second-half record playing like an Atlantic League first-half champions that already had a playoff spot locked up. But they sent a different message in this series.

“‘It sends a big statement,” said pitcher Seth Simmons. “We wanted to send a statement and I think we did. Our pitching was really good and we had timely hitting all three games. He added that, ‘It speaks volumes when you sweep the number one team on the other side [Freedom Division], and it tells everyone else that you’re playing good baseball.'”

The Ducks followed up their two walk-off wins from their doubleheader a night ago with a dominant victory. They scored six of their 10 runs in the second inning en route to their comfortable win.

Deibinson Romero led off the bottom of the second with a solo blast off York starter Dan Minor to give the Ducks the early lead. Daniel Fields followed with a triple into the right-center gap to start the big rally. After a fielder’s choice drove in the team’s second run, Vladimir Frias singled and D’Arby Myers walked to load the bases for former big leaguer Rey Fuentes.

On a 2-2 count, the 28-year-old launched a grand slam, well over the back fence in right field, to give the Ducks a 6-0 lead. John Apostolo and Frias each ripped an RBI single in the third to send Minor to the showers, and extended their lead to 8-0.

Seth Simmons took it from there, tossing six strong innings, while allowing two earned runs on just four hits. Although he had a big lead, Simmons said that staying aggressive was the key. He mentioned that he “tried to stay super on the attack and not to let off the gas pedal at all.”

The win was his first in a Ducks uniform as he was winless in six starts since being acquired from High Point.

Even though the game was out of hand, some very good news for Ducks fans came in the form of the return of reliever Michael Tonkin. The 29-year-old tossed a scoreless eighth inning in his first outing since hitting the shelf with a lower back strain. Needless to say, Tonkin’s health is vital for Long Island’s bullpen as he has posted a minuscule 0.35 ERA so far this season.

Ducks Off to High Point, N.C. Next

The Ducks will take the long bus ride to High Point, N.C. to take on the Rockers. Long Island currently leads High Point by a half game in the Liberty Division. Manager Wally Backman will send lefty Brian Matusz (0-0, 2.70) to the mound to face Rockers righty Michael Bowden (1-2, 2.03) in Friday night’s game.

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