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Ducks dethroned as Atlantic League champions by Lexington in four games

Ducks starting pitcher Joe Iorio delivers a pitch

Ducks starting pitcher Joe Iorio delivers a pitch against the West Virginia Power on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. Credit: George A Faella

In a season where the Ducks seemed to answer the bell whenever it rang, the final chapter was a dull thud. There will be no successful championship defense in Central Islip and there is a new champion in the Atlantic League.

The Ducks fell 13-2 to the Lexington Legends in Game 4 of the best-of-five Atlantic League Championship Series Tuesday night in Kentucky. The Ducks, who finished with the best record in the league in the regular season, lost the final series 3-1, dropping Game 1 at home last weekend and Games 3 and 4 on the road this week.

Ducks starter Joe Iorio allowed six runs and eight hits in three innings. He struck out one and walked one. Lew Ford went 1-for-5 with a strikeout in what may be his last game as a player in a Ducks uniform. Ford, who is also the team’s hitting coach and all-time leader in hits, grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game. He has said that this will be his last season.

Lexington put Game 4 to bed early. They scored two runs in the first inning, four in the second, and four in the fourth to put the Ducks in a 10-2 hole at the game’s midway point.

The Ducks have made the Atlantic League Championship Series in each of the last five seasons, but have won it only once during that time. They are 1-1 in the title series under manager Wally Backman, who took over before the 2019 season and guided the Ducks to the 2019 Atlantic League title. The Ducks did not play in 2020 because of the pandemic.

New York Sports