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Patriots season ends in Game 4 LDCS loss to Long Island

Facing a must-win situation in Game 4 of the Liberty Division Championship Series against the Long Island Ducks at TD Bank Ball Park on Saturday night, Somerset Manager Brett Jodie handed the ball off to Patrick Johnson to keep the Patriots season alive.

Early on Johnson looked sharp, retiring the first six hitters in a row. Having scored only two runs in the past two games of the LDCS series, Somerset had a golden opportunity in the second with runners on second and third with nobody out.

However, Carlos Guzman hit a grounder to Ducks first baseman Marc Krauss who fired across the diamond to third baseman Giovanny Alfonzo, who in return threw a strike towards home plate as catcher Alex Burg applied the tag on David Vidal. Yovan Gonzalez followed hitting into an inning-ending double play as the Patriots offensive woes continued.

In the third inning, Long Island centerfielder Delta Cleary Jr. led off with a double. Next stepped up Anthony Vega, who dropped down a sac bunt but on the throw from Johnson to first base skipped by Carlos Guzman allowing Cleary Jr. to come around and score while Vega motored around the bases to third. Alfonzo ripped a single to right field, bringing in Cleary Jr.

The Patriots again had terrific scoring chance in the bottom half of the frame with runners on first and second with two outs but Ducks starter struck out Kyle Roller. In the sixth, an RBI double by Angelo Songco extended the margin to 3-0.

“I thought he (Patrick Johnson) threw the ball well and came out throwing strike one and really had command of the zone and looked exactly the way we wanted him to look and really attacked” said Brett Jodie. “We didn’t play the cleanest game and neither did they but hurt us a little worse than them and way ball bounces sometimes” “They had a lot of runners on with no outs and we were batting every time with two outs and get our first runner on a lot of times” “They would get their lead off runner and our RBI’s came with two outs and better to get guys on early and that’s a big stat”

With time winding down and season on the line, D’Vontrey Richardson ignited a spark with two outs in the sixth smashing a double off the left field wall and advancing to third on a passed ball. Carlos Guzman followed hitting a dribbler down the third base line for an infield single as Richardson came into score.

Dow to their last six outs in the game, the Patriots rallied in the eighth with David Vidal drawing a two-out walk. Richardson kept the inning alive belting a single to left field. With runners on the corner drove in his second run of the game hammering a single off Ducks reliever James Jones into right field. Facing Long Island closer Amalio Diaz, Yovan Gonzalez charged up the home crowd clubbing a single into left field as Richardson dashed around third and came into score tying the game up. With runners at first and second, Diaz struck out Justin Trapp to end the inning.

On the hill for the ninth, Somerset reliever Dustin Antolin got off to a rocky start walking Vegas and plunking Dan Lyons. It would only get worse for Antolin uncorking a wild pitch allowing both runners to move up a base.

Alfonzo proved to be the difference maker on this night, hitting a slow grounder to third, David Vidal came up firing towards home plate but Vega slid into home kicking the ball out of Gonzalez’s mitt for the go-ahead run. Antonin managed to record the next two outs before giving way to Efrain Nieves who whiffed Marc Krauss.

One last frame to tie the game up, Patriots left fielder Aharon Eggleston hit a towering drive towards right field but Vega managed to haul in the catch against the wall. Diaz registered the remaining two outs including Olmo Rosario on a fly out to right field ending the game.

“I look at the first half, we were down a lot by two, three, or four runs and no problem coming back in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning and right back in there and that reminded me tonight and kind of team we had” Jodie said. “It would have been exciting to see us keep on playing but it ends there” “The world judges on whether you are a winner or loser” “A good quality game, one to enjoy and we didn’t come out on the right side of things”

“I thought we accomplished a lot of positives this year, came out playing good baseball” “A certain amount of goals around here, made the playoffs, won a lot of games and got a lot of people back to where they needed to be with 17 guys signed” I’m very proud of the whole team to come back and compete at a very high level after losing that many guys”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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