The Ducks whiffed on three keys to their game this week, and their season is over because of it.
The Lancaster Barnstormers beat the Ducks, 7-2, in Game 3 of the Atlantic League North Division Championship Series at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip on Friday night.
“I thought we had enough talent to win for sure,” Ducks manager Wally Backman said. “We didn’t hit, we didn’t play good defense and we pitched better than it shows, but the defense made the pitching look bad. Those are not three good ingredients.”
The Ducks lost Games 1 and 2 earlier in the week and needed to win Friday to keep the best-of-five series alive. The Ducks were 4-for-26 with runners in scoring position and made nine errors in the three-game sweep.
“Pitching, defense and timely hitting are the key,” Backman said. “And we didn’t do any of those.”
The Ducks went 66-58 in the regular season and won the North Division first-half title to clinch a postseason berth in July.
The Ducks said the talent was there; six players in the Ducks’ Game 3 starting lineup have appeared in Major League Baseball games.
“You play a whole season to get here, and then to end it like that, it’s disappointing,” outfielder and hitting coach Lew Ford said. “We had a really good team here at the end. We just didn’t play up to the level that we had been playing earlier, and Lancaster played well.”
After scoring in the first innings of Game 1 and Game 2, the Barnstormers scored twice in the second inning on Friday night. Trayvon Robinson chopped a grounder and drove in Shawon Dunston Jr. from third before Anthony Peroni lined a two-out RBI single to centerfield.
The Ducks answered in the bottom of the second after Sam Travis looped a leadoff double down the rightfield line. With two outs, Joe DeCarlo hit a high pop-up that wound up landing on the pitcher’s mound as the entire infield circled under it. Travis scored from second base and made the score 2-1.
Ariel Sandoval slapped a ground ball to second base to drive in Andretty Cordero from third base and Chris Proctor’s grounder drove in Sandoval later in the third inning to expand Lancaster’s lead to 4-1.
Ruben Tejada cracked a two-out double into the leftfield corner to drive in Brantley Bell from second base and make it 4-2 in the fifth.
Lancaster added three runs in the ninth.
Said Ford, “You want to be playing your best baseball when you go into the playoffs, and [Lancaster] did that and it showed.