Ducks celebrate Kimera Bartee Night at Bethpage Ballpark
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Saturday was Kimera Bartee Night at Bethpage Ballpark.
The former centerfielder who led the Ducks in home runs with 27 and tied for the team lead with 88 RBIs during their 2004 Atlantic League Championship season, threw the first pitch to former teammate Bill Pulsipher, also a member of the 2004 team.
"This is a humbling experience," said Bartee, currently an outfielder/baserunning coordinator in the Pirates' minor-league system. "I'm honored to be able to do something like this. I have the utmost respect for this organization and this area."
Sitting in the home dugout before taking the mound, Bartee was impressed with the electricity and energy from the crowd, which brought back special memories from his Atlantic League playing days.
"Two things that stick out for me coming back here are the fan support and the love for my teammates," said Bartee, who also played with Ducks manager Kevin Baez in 2003 and 2004. "I really do miss all of them. The fan base here is second to none."
Bartee said he still keeps an eye on the Ducks when he can and understands the formula for success for the defending Atlantic League champs.
"When you talk about playoff baseball, you need to get some momentum going," Bartee said. "It benefits being able to win the second half. I think they're in the right spot. You just got to get hot at the right time and ride the momentum."
The Ducks (24-24, 54-64 overall) were four games up on the Bridgeport (20-28) in the second half Liberty Division standings entering Saturday night.
Henriquez hit streak at 15. Ducks catcher Ralph Henriquez extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an infield single to second in the bottom of the fourth inning of Saturday night's game against Somerset.