The Duck pond has caught fire. Losses have become rare birds these days. Even when faced with the most dire of circumstances, the Ducks seemingly have decided that losing does not suit them.
The latest example of the loss-deflecting powers of the Atlantic League’s hottest team came Sunday when the Liberty Division-leading Ducks overcame deficits twice in the final two innings and beat the Lancaster Barnstormers, 6-5, in front of 5,744 fans at Bethpage Ballpark.
The Ducks trailed 4-0 and 5-4, but Dan Lyons’ sacrifice fly to centerfield in the bottom of the ninth inning drove in Alex Burg and produced the team’s 15th win in 17 games. One batter earlier, Delta Cleary Jr. singled to drive in Derrick Pyles and tie the score at 5-5.
“I was just looking for a pitch up in the zone that I could make a quick swing at and hit to the outfield,” Lyons said. “They had gotten me with a lot of sliders earlier in the game, so I figured they’d try to get me to chase some pitches.”
The RBI was redemption for Lyons, whose error in the top of the ninth allowed former Met Lastings Milledge to reach base. Milledge scored on Anderson De La Rosa’s single to put Lancaster ahead 5-4.
The Ducks scored two in the sixth and two in the eighth. Angelo Songco’s two-run home run off reliever John Anderson with two outs in the eighth tied the score at 4-4.
“He threw a slider there,” Songco said. “Luckily, he left it up in the zone and I was able to hit it and tie the game up.”
Patrick Crider earned the win for the Ducks (26-17). Anthony Carter, who recorded only one out in the ninth, took the loss for Lancaster (24-19).
Josh Bell’s two-run double in the third gave Lancaster a 3-0 lead. The Barnstormers added another run in the fifth when Sean Halton, after banging an eephus pitch from Henderson Alvarez into the rightfield corner for a triple, scored on a passed ball.
Former National League All-Star Alvarez, who is trying to rebuild his career after having shoulder surgery for the second time in 14 months last September, turned in his longest outing of the season. The former Marlin and Blue Jay allowed three earned runs, eight hits and two walks in seven innings.
“He had great stuff today,” Ducks manager Kevin Baez said. “To give us seven, we really needed that.”