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Ducks Crowned 2012 Liberty Division Champions

The Long Island Ducks defeated the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 5-4 on Sunday night, Sept. 28, in game five of the Liberty Division Championship Series at Bethpage Ballpark. With the victory, the Ducks win the best-of-five series three games to two and are the 2012 Liberty Division Champions.

Southern Maryland scored first in the fourth inning, as Jeremy Owens came home on a balk charged to Ducks starter Bobby Blevins. The Ducks answered right back with a two-run homer to left by Brandon Sing off Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thompson.

However, the Crabs took the lead back in the fifth inning on an RBI groundout off the bat of Richard Mercado and a sacrifice fly to right by Cesar Nicolas. It stayed that way until the eighth inning when Bryant Nelson hit a two-run homer to give the Ducks a 4-3 lead, and Shawn Williams added an RBI base hit to right to extend the advantage to two.

A run-scoring error in the ninth inning brought Southern Maryland within one, but Leo Rosales struck out Kevin Rios with the bases loaded to secure the series victory.

Neither starter factored into the decision. Blevins went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out two, and Thompson pitched four and two-thirds innings, yielding two runs on four hits and three walks. Matt Way (2-0) picked up the win after striking out the side in a scoreless eighth inning, and Ben Moore (0-2) suffered the loss, surrendering three runs on four hits in two and two-thirds innings of relief. Leo Rosales earned his third save of the series.

Sing and Kraig Binick led the Ducks with two hits, while Sing and Nelson each drove home two runs.

Duck Tales

With the win, the Ducks have won their third division title in franchise history. Long Island defeated the Nashua Pride in the 2004 North Division Championship Series and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the 2011 Liberty Division Championship Series. This marked the second time in team history the Ducks have clinched a playoff series win at home, with the only other coming in 2004 Division Playoffs against Nashua. It also marked the first time the Ducks have won a game five in a postseason series. The Flock is now 2-2 all-time in deciding games.

The Ducks continued their solid starting pitching in the series, as Bobby Blevins tossed six innings of three-run baseball. In the five games, Ducks starters surrendered just nine runs in 31 and two-thirds innings (2.56 ERA) while striking out 29 batters and walking only 12.

Brandon Sing went deep for the second consecutive game and third time in the series. All three homers have either extended a Ducks lead or put them in front. His three longballs were the most by any player in the Liberty Division Championship Series.