Washington’s Two-homer Day Powers Ducks to Game One Victory
The Long Island Ducks have made the Atlantic League Championship Series four years in a row, but have lost each of the past three seasons, including two of them to the Sugar Land Skeeters. Well, the Ducks took the first step to getting over that hump with a big game one victory.
Behind an explosive five-run first inning and David Washington’s two-homer day, the Long Island Ducks defeated the Sugar Land Skeeters by the score of 7-5 at Bethpage Ballpark on Tuesday night. Long Island now leads the series 1-0.
Following three straight days off, the Ducks came out ready to go in the first inning. After a 1-2-3 inning from starter Vin Mazzaro, Lew Ford got the rally going by lining a RBI single to left off Sugar Land starter Mike Hauschild. L.J. Mazzilli then grounded into a double play, Hector Sanchez walked and Deibinson Romero launched a huge three-run bomb to left to give the Flock an early 4-0 lead. Washington then followed with a 429 foot solo homer to extend their lead to five. After the Skeeters cut the Ducks lead to 5-3 in the fourth inning, Washington stepped to the plate and launched a mammoth 440 foot homer off the center field batter’s eye. A sacrifice fly from Steve Lombardozzi later in the inning gave them a 7-3 lead.
After Sugar Land chipped away and made it a 7-5 game after eight innings, Wally Backman turned to Cody Mincey to shut the door. Mincey then fired a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the victory. After the game, Backman praised Mincey, who has no experience in affiliated ball. “If there’s one guy who deserves [to play affiliated ball], it’s him,” he said.
Mazzaro got the win for the Ducks, tossing six innings and allowing three earned runs on three hits despite him not having his best stuff. “Vinny had to work today, he wasn’t at his best today but he was able to work through and let us keep the lead,” said Backman.
Mazzaro credited his defense behind him as well as the big first inning as a big part of tonight’s win. “The guys behind me played phenomenal defense tonight. Them scoring five in the first was huge as well, it really helped settle me down out there.”
The Sugar Land Skeeters have protested the result of Tuesday’s game. Manager Pete Incaviglia notified home plate umpire Fred DeJesus of the protest in the fourth inning. The Skeeters claim that the baseballs they were throwing to Ducks hitters were much harder and had tighter seams, which is known to decrease the spin on the baseball. They claim the baseballs the Ducks were throwing to them were normal Atlantic League balls.
Wally Backman said, “two different balls don’t come out of the same box,” and added that, “maybe Pete’s eyes were playing tricks on him.” Commissioner Rick White has until noon ET Wednesday to rule on the protest.
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