Ducks dominate Camden with 16 hits
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At 37 years of age, Ramon Castro's legs should ache. For him, there should be days when his body feels all the years he has logged as a professional baseball player. But the Long Island Ducks catcher says he feels as young as ever, and on days like Sunday, you don't doubt it for a second.
The Ducks took a 6-1 lead early, and then scored four eighth-inning runs, to defeat the Camden Riversharks, 10-4. They racked up 16 hits and Castro drove in the first and last runs of the game, batting 3-for-5 with four RBIs.
"Right now, I feel great," Castro said. "I don't feel old. I feel like I can still play this game and I just need an opportunity again, so that's why I am here. I'm the same guy [I used to be]."
The Ducks reached the scoreboard first yesterday and it was Castro leading the way.
Joash Brodin led off the first inning with a single and was moved over to second base when Bryant Nelson singled. With two outs, Brodin and Nelson successfully completed a double steal, and were subsequently driven in on a Castro single. Castro would later single in runs in the fifth and eight innings.
"Castro had a couple of days off," Ducks manager Kevin Baez said. "He had a death in the family so he had to go home, but he came back ready to go."
For the second consecutive outing, Nick DeBarr (2-6, 6.15 ERA) was stellar, earning his second straight victory. The righthander kept the Riversharks off-balance all game and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
He was pulled after giving up a solo home run and two walks to lead off the seventh. He allowed two earned runs on one hit while walking four batters. It's apparent to Baez the impact his veteran catcher has had on the pitching staff.
"His experience is very, very important," Baez said. "Calling a game, working with the pitchers and he's a good, I should say he's a great teammate. He's just great with the pitching staff and obviously with  years in the big leagues, he knows how to catch."
Castro, a 13-year veteran who spent five years with the Mets -- he originally was selected in the first round of the 1994 draft by the Houston Astros -- has provided the Ducks with invaluable experience.
Castro, who had been off for a year and a half after surgery to repair a broken hand, hopes to return to the highest level.
"I feel ready," Castro said. "I don't know what happened but I'm going to keep trying and never give up."