To Randy Leek, the capstone of his Long Island baseball career was just another night at the ballpark.
"It's just another day. It's a little more special than a regular day,'' Leek said before last night's Atlantic League All-Star Game. "With the best of the league, and you are just trying to prove that you belong.''
Boy, did he validate he belonged.
Starting for the Liberty Division, Leek, 33, pitched two perfect innings at his home stadium, Suffolk County Sports Park. The league leader in wins with nine, Leek needed only 15 pitches and got the win in a 7-1 victory over the Freedom Division.
"He's the man, he's our horse,'' Ray Navarrete said. "I'm happy for him and I'm sure him being a Long Island guy himself, he was very happy.''
Leek, a lifetime Levittown resident and the most accomplished pitcher in Ducks history (37 career wins), was informed late Monday night at the All-Star Game dinner that he would start last night.
"[Liberty Division manager] Butch [Hobson] came up to me and asked if I could go two innings and thought I should deserve to start.'' Leek said.
By the time he exited less than a half-hour after taking the mound, the Liberty Division held a 2-0 lead.
"I was glad to get it over quick, it was too hot to go any longer than that,'' Leek said. "Being such a hot day, it didn't take much to get loose. I shortened my warm-up a little bit and just went out and tried to locate . . . Maybe I should be a reliever."
With his mission accomplished, he returned to his family members, including his wife, Cristina; his parents; in-laws and 2-year-old son Ryan.
"I think they were hoping to just come out and watch and enjoy the rest of the game,'' Leek said. "Not worry when I was going to pitch. You know, 'When is Randy going out there? When is Randy going to pitch?' ''