Pete Budkevics knows Long Island baseball. The 25-year-old pitcher played for Deer Park and C.W. Post (now LIU Post). So after he spent two seasons in the Dodgers' organization, it was fitting when he returned home to play for the Ducks this season.
In 21 games, the righthander was 0-2 with a 5.78 ERA. After allowing five runs Aug. 7, he yielded only one earned run in his final eight appearances. Budkevics pitched a scoreless inning Sept. 7 before being placed on the inactive list.
He gives lessons at Batting 1.000 Baseball and Softball Academy in Freeport.
Did you attend many Ducks games as a kid? Do you have any memories playing at Bethpage Ballpark?
I did. I came here when I was growing up in Deer Park and when I was in college. It's always been a nice atmosphere to come and see what the local product has going on over here. I played here in 2005 with the senior all-stars. That was the first time I got to step on the field here. When our varsity team at Deer Park was playing in the county championship game against Hauppauge [in 2000], I was here as a spectator.
What are your fondest memories playing for Deer Park High School?
That's an easy answer. In 2004, we went up to states. We had a great team. It wasn't a team filled with superstars. We just had one goal in common. First, win the league. Then, work our way up between going to counties, winning LI, then going up to states. We fell short [at states], but it was still one of the best baseball memories I've had.
How did playing at Post prepare you for pro ball?
In high school, you don't realize that, once you get to college, you're right beside the same level of talent. It was sort of a shock freshman year, but then I grew into it and became accustomed to playing college baseball.
You allowed one earned run in your final eight appearances. What was the key to the success?
Confidence . . . and I finally found my curveball. It took me a while, but I got into a bit of a routine.
What did you learn from your first Ducks season?
Every day is a new day. You can't fall into a routine where you think everything is going to be the same. You have to adjust. I've learned a lot from the older guys. Being one of the youngest, you get to learn a lot, and that's what I did. I was like a sponge.