In a word: Quacktacular!
Dan Lyons, whose two-out throwing error allowed Lancaster to tie the score in the top of the ninth inning, got some redemption after his walk-off bunt single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth gave the Ducks a 5-4 win and their second Atlantic League title Sunday night at Bethpage Ballpark.
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The Ducks, who are in their 13th season and also won the league title in 2004, trailed the best-of-five series 2-1 before winning two straight at home.
"It was beautiful," said Lyons, who was named series MVP. "I knew that we should have won the game on that play. I rushed my throw. I was down on myself and my teammates picked me up. It's a feeling that's indescribable."
Added Ray Navarrete, the longest tenured Duck: "I've been trying to do this for seven years. It means everything to me. You got to go through some bumps in the road, but I wouldn't change anything. This is the greatest place in the world to play baseball."
Lee Cruz and Matt Esquivel both walked against Joe Bateman with one out in the ninth and advanced to second and third on Josh Dew's wild pitch during Lyons' at-bat. On the 1-and-1 pitch to Lyons, he squared up and bunted down the third-base line and beat the throw to first to win the game.
"I looked and I saw the third baseman was playing back and thought, 'Now is as good a time as any,' " Lyons said about his decision to bunt. "Luckily, it was a good one."
Travis Denker's solo home run off Ducks closer Leo Rosales to lead off the top of the ninth cut the Ducks' lead to 4-3. Emerson Frostad then walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, to third on a wild pitch and scored on shortstop Lyons' throwing error on what should have been the final out.
Esquivel's RBI double in the fifth drove in Brandon Sing to give the Ducks a 4-2 lead.
Ducks starter Bobby Blevins, who also started Game 5 of the division series, was magnificent, allowing only two runs on homers by Tommy Everidge and Matt Harvey. He had five strikeouts and no walks. Ducks leadoff man Kraig Binick went 3-for-4 with a run, and finished the series 11-for-22 with four RBIs and four runs. Joash Brodin was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run.
Back-to-back singles by Binick and Brodin to lead off the first put runners on the corners for Navarrete, who drove in a run for the third straight game with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 1-0. Centerfielder Adam Godwin's throw hit Binick as he slid in, allowing Brodin to move to second on the play.
Two batters later, Bryant Nelson singled under second baseman Gilberto Mejia's glove to score Brodin and give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. It was Nelson's fifth RBI of the series.
Binick and Brodin were at it again in the second. Mitch Canham, who was 11-for-23 in the playoffs, blooped a single to center before Binick and Brodin each singled to right, the latter to score Canham and make it 3-1. It was Brodin's fourth RBI of the series.
Still, Lyons had a feeling it would be decided in the ninth.
"With the way this season was going, I knew it was going to come down to the wire," Lyons said. "It's a great team championship."