By: Mike Ashmore, special to LIDucks.com
(Photo courtesy of Daniel DeMato)
(Central Islip, N.Y., Sept. 28, 2018) – All the Long Island Ducks wanted, according to their manager Kevin Baez, was to play tomorrow.
David Washington made sure they got their wish.
The former big-league slugger smoked a two-out, 1-0 slider off of Sugar Land Skeeters reliever Dan Runzler deep into the night to lead the Ducks to a 3-2 win, forcing a Game 4 at Bethpage Ballpark at 6:35 PM on Saturday night.
“It’s indescribable,” Washington said. “We’ve been fighting together all season, and to be able to come through for the guys in a big moment like that, it’s huge.”
It wasn’t looking like the ending would be a happy one, however. Skeeters manager Pete Incavigilia managed to piece together seven innings of one-run ball from his pitching staff; Lucas Irvine allowed a third-inning RBI double off the bat of Lew Ford, but Casey Harman and Jorge De Leon followed Irvine’s four frames with three scoreless ones of their own.
Veteran starter Lorenzo Barcelo pitched well for the Ducks – he struck out five in seven innings of work – but allowed two early runs on RBI doubles by Albert Cordero and Tony Thomas that staked the Skeeters to a lead it didn’t seem they were going to relinquish.
Washington changed that with one swing of the bat.
After Runzler struck out Fields and Ford to lead off the eighth, Ramon Cabrera’s double gave the Ducks life. Robert Garcia pinch-ran for Cabrera, and Washington made sure he touched the plate with a mammoth shot that traveled well over both sets of billboards in right center field.
“Washington, he can hit some bombs,” said Baez of Washington, who now has four homers in the postseason to add to his 24 in the regular season.
“We’ve seen it all season, he’s hit them all over the field. He was the right man in the right situation right there. Proud of him, proud of the team to not quit and that’s the message…keep playing the game until it’s over. If you leave it all out on the field, that’s all I could ask for. We just happened to come out with the ‘W’ today and we move forward to tomorrow.”
As the Ducks showed back in 2016, when they came all the way back from down 2-0 in the Liberty Division Championship Series to beat the Somerset Patriots, anything can happen when you have a tomorrow.
“We just take it like another day,” Washington said. “We go in, and we’ve got to win a game tomorrow. That’s really all it comes down to.”