Long Island Ducks L.J. Mazzilli drives an RBI single into...

Long Island Ducks L.J. Mazzilli drives an RBI single into right centerfield, in a game against the Lancaster Barnstormers, Sunday, August 15, 2021 at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip. Credit: George A Faella

There’s power in pride, and the Ducks proved that Sunday night. Yes, in reality none of these games matter all that much – or, more accurately, at all. The Ducks have already clinched a berth in the Atlantic League playoffs and, now, it’s all about the long, slow burning of a second half with two major goals in mind.

Don’t burn out. Don’t get hurt.

But occasionally, it’s nice to win, too. Thanks to a seven-run second inning, the Ducks beat the Lancaster Barnstormers, 10-2, in front of 5,117 fans at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and helped ease the sting of losing two of those three games by 10 runs or more.

L.J. Mazzilli went 2-for-3 with a run and two RBIs. Lew Ford went 1-for-3 with a run and two RBIs, but left with a strained calf. Ducks manager Wally Backman said he will be OK.

Wading River native Nick Bottari delivered the first big blow of the seven-run second, an RBI-double to deep right field that drove in Deibinson Romero and put the Ducks ahead 2-1, a lead they never relinquished.

"I just saw a fastball away, and didn’t try to do too much," Bottari said. "I just went with the pitch and something good happened."

After an RBI single from Johnni Turbo gave the Ducks a 3-1, Bottari scored the team’s fourth run on a double-play groundout by Vladimir Frias. Ford’s two-RBI double extended the lead to 6-1 and Mazzilli’s RBI single drove in Ford for the seventh run of the inning.

The Ducks (5-6) added their eighth run in the fourth inning on an RBI double from Frias that drove in Turbo.

Since joining the Ducks in mid-July, Bottari, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run, has played sparingly, but well. He had a slash line of .357/.424/.429 with three RBIs in 12 games (28 at-bats).

"I love the way he swings the bat," Backman said. "He’s an aggressive hitter and has some strength."

Bottari has enjoyed his first month with the Ducks.

"It’s great," he said. "The guys in the clubhouse and the coaches have just made it a really enjoyable experience. I couldn’t have asked for anything else coming into pro ball. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season, being able to help the team wherever I can."

Ducks starter Hunter Caudelle pitched well in his second start, allowing two runs and three hits in five innings for his first professional victory. He struck out six and walked six.

Backman said: "He has some deception. He’s a big kid that’s a little bit funky. He only throws 91 (MPH), which is fine if you throw strikes. His thing is going to be to cut down on the walks, but he gets a lot of swings and misses."

Caudelle is a huge piece of the six-man rotation that Ducks manager Wally Backman envisions using for most of the remainder of the regular season. Aside from RBI singles in the first and third innings, Caudelle did a good job holding Lancaster in check, not an easy task against one of the top offensive teams in the league.

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