Dan Lyons lined a single up the middle and little more than a second elapsed from when his foot hit first base to when his teammates' palms rained down on him in the celebratory huddle.
Lyons' hit, on a 3-and-2 pitch, brought home Shawn Williams from third in the bottom of the ninth and lifted the Ducks to a 2-1 win over the Sugar Land Skeeters Sunday night at Bethpage Ballpark.
With the win, the Ducks clinched first place in the Liberty Division for the first half of the season and, with that, an automatic postseason berth. The Ducks (39-24) hold an eight-game lead over the Camden Riversharks with seven games remaining in the first half.
"The whole situation was built up -- two outs, runner on third with the chance to clinch," Lyons said during the champagne celebration in the locker room. "These are the moments you dream about as a kid."
Williams (2-for-4) had led off with a single to rightfield and was bunted to second by James McOwen. He advanced to third on Josh Johnson's deep fly to right.
Lightning caused a brief power outage at the ballpark, which preceded a 54-minute rain delay with two outs in the top of the third. The delay ended Ducks starter Dan Meyer's day. The lefty allowed no hits but walked six in 22/3 innings before being replaced by Eric Niesen, who pitched 22/3 scoreless innings.
Connor Graham earned the win for the Ducks, pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth. Bryant Nelson went 3-for-4, and Lyons and Kraig Binick each had two hits.
The Ducks broke though in the bottom of the sixth when Williams' two-out bloop single to right scored Ray Navarrete from third and tied it at 1. Navarrete had been hit by a pitch with one out and moved to third on Nelson's single to right.
Ofilio Castro's sacrifice fly to deep right put the Skeeters (26-37) on the board in the third.
The Ducks threatened in the third and fourth innings, having two batters reach base in each frame, but couldn't scratch out a run. Williams made all that moot. "We all came to the ballpark knowing we wanted to celebrate," Navarrete said. "We battled hard because we wanted to clinch this thing."
Notes & quotes: Brandon Sing's 10-game hit streak came to an end as he went 0-for-3 and he left the game in the seventh inning with an undisclosed injury.