The Ducks host the first two games of the Championship Series on Wednesday & Thursday nights at 6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark. The Patriots will host the third game on Friday at 7:05 p.m. at TD Bank Ballpark. If necessary, Somerset would also host games four and five on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and Sunday at 5:05 p.m., respectively.
All four Atlantic League playoff teams were in action Wednesday night.
Somerset 3, Sugar Land 2
The Somerset Patriots took a commanding two-games-to-none lead in their best-of-five series with the Sugar Land Skeeters with their 3-2 victory. (box) Somerset’s David Harden and Sugar Land’s Jason Lane (yes, the former Houston Astros outfielder) matched up fairly evenly, each allowing two runs. But the Patriots’ bullpen was better than the Skeeters’. Somerset’s Eddy Martinez-Esteve and Sugarland’s Koby Clemens (yes, Roger’s son) hit home runs.
After a travel day on Thursday, the Freedom Division series resumes at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater at 7:05 p.m. on Friday.
Long Island 6, Southern Maryland 2
The Long Island Ducks bested the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 6-2 in the first game of the Liberty Division series on Wednesday night. (box) John Brownell earned the complete game victory for the Ducks, striking out 12. Nick Schwaner and Jeremy Owens hit home runs for the Blue Crabs, while Bryant Nelson and Adam Bailey homered for the Ducks.
The series continues Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip, N.Y.
The Somerset Patriots beat the Sugar Land Skeeters 6-5 (box) in a see-saw game that opened the Atlantic League playoffs on Tuesday night.
Somerset took an early lead thanks to Jeff Baisley‘s second inning solo home run, but Sugar Land tied the game in the third and took a 3-1 lead in the fourth thanks to Brian Burgamy‘s two-run homer.
The Patriots drew closer in the fifth thanks to an unearned run, and went ahead for good in the sixth when Burgamy’s 2008 Newark Bears team mate Cory Aldridge hit a two-run homer of his own to make it a 4-3 game.
The Patriots and Skeeters traded runs in the seventh and eighth, with Aldridge adding a second home run, and the game went to the ninth with the Patriots leading 6-5. Patriots closer Jon Hunton struck out Josh Pressley and got Burgamy to fly out with the tying run on base.
Somerset and Sugarland will play game two tonight at 7:05 p.m. central time, while Long Island will host Southern Maryland at 6:35 p.m. to open the Liberty Division series.
The Division Championship Series will begin on Tuesday, with the Sugarland Skeeters hosting the Patriots.
On Wednesday, the Skeeters and Patriots will play game two of their series, while the Ducks will host the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the first game of theirs at 6:35 p.m.
Thursday, the Ducks and Blue Crabs play game two, again at 6:35 p.m., while the Skeeters and Patriots have a travel day.
On Friday, Somerset will host Sugarland at 7:05 p.m., and the Blue Crabs will host the Ducks as each series moves to game three.
Saturday and Sunday will be games four and five, if necessary, in each series.
The Atlantic League Championship Series is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Sept. 25, hosted by the winner of the Long Island vs. Southern Maryland series.
The Somerset vs. Sugarland series may not be the championship series, but it is a match up of the Atlantic League’s two best teams. Heading into the season’s final day, the Skeeters have a 94-45 record and the Patriots are 90-48. They are the best and second best records in Atlantic League history.
By contrast, Southern Maryland is 64-74 (37-32 in the first half when they won the Liberty Division title) and Long Island is 62-77 (32-37 in the second half.) The Lancaster Barnstormers have a 72-66 record, but by virtue of the division structure and Atlantic League playoff format, they will be finished for the season tomorrow afternoon.