WALDORF, Md. -- Joash Brodin's winter doesn't sound half bad. When the season ends, the Ducks' leftfielder will head back to Olympia, Wash., and give baseball lessons. Maybe take some classes and even coach a little basketball. But Brodin's in no rush to return to the Pacific Northwest.
"Offseason's a terrible time for a baseball player," Brodin said. "You give it two weeks and everyone's itching to get back on the field. Now we're just trying to get as many games in as we can."
Thanks to some timely hitting from Brodin, the Ducks moved one step closer to another week of baseball, defeating host Southern Maryland, 4-3, in Game 1 of the best-of-five Liberty Division Championship. The victory puts the Ducks two wins away from the Atlantic League Championship Series.
Brodin gave the Ducks the lead for good in the eighth inning when he drove in Dan Lyons to break a tie at 2 with a hooking double to left.
"I'm not gonna lie, I was definitely peeking to see if it would hit the line," Brodin said. "Thankfully it did."
Brandon Sing doubled Brodin home to make it 4-2. That insurance run came in handy in the bottom of the inning when Southern Maryland's Jesse Gutierrez homered to cut the deficit to one. Leo Rosales pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.
It was the second RBI double for Brodin, who hit back-to-back doubles with Kraig Binick to begin the game. Ray Navarrete followed with an RBI single and the Ducks led 2-0 before an out was recorded.
Former Yankee Randy Keisler cruised until the fifth, when Southern Maryland's Brian Barton tied it with a two-run double. "I made a very, very critical mistake," Keisler said. "It cost me the lead, it cost me a decision. The way they stayed with it and battled was awesome. They picked me up when I needed them."
Keisler allowed four hits and struck out nine in six innings. Jared Lansford earned the win after striking out the side in the seventh.
Matt Way, who is 2-0 with 19 strikeouts and four walks since joining the Ducks on Sept. 16, takes the hill in Game 2, at 7:05 Thursday night in Maryland. Way struck out 13 in his Ducks debut earlier this month and hitters are 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position against him. Matthew Vasquez (10-9, 4.43 ERA) starts for the Blue Crabs.