WALDORF, Md. – With a 5-4 game three victory Wednesday night, the Long Island Ducks move on to the Atlantic League Championship series and put a stoppage on the 2021 Southern Maryland Blue Crab season. A back-and-forth game saw Long Island turn a game-ending double play in the ninth inning to secure the win. On two days rest, Daryl Thompson (L, 0-1) allowed four runs and seven hits over five innings of work. LeDarious Clark supplied the most power for the Blue Crab offense, going 2-4 with a solo home run.
Things looked bad from the beginning, with the Ducks jumping out to an early 4-0 lead in the third. L.J. Mazzilli was responsible for two of the four with an RBI single in the first and an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth. The other two runs both came in the second inning, thanks to an RBI flyout from Ty Kelly and a dropped ball from Zach Collier.
The bats came alive in the fifth inning for Southern Maryland, knocking in a couple of runs that cut the deficit down to two. A Collier double plated Matt Hibbert and Rubi Silva with two outs on the board.
Chris Shaw answered the Collier sting with a solo home run on the first pitch he saw from relief pitcher Dylan Brammer, moving the score to 5-2. That deficit would not hold though after the sixth, Clark homered and Jordan Howard scored on a wild pitch to make it a one run contest.
Both bullpens matched each other the rest of the way, sending it to the bottom of the ninth with the score still intact. With one out and Silva at first, Collier grounded into a double play to send Long Island to the ALCS.
It was a truly remarkable season for Southern Maryland. After coming out of the gates slowly, starting a league worst 4-11, Southern Maryland quickly kicked things into high gear, winning an incredible 13 of their next 15. This hot streak, however, was no fluke, but rather a sign of things to come. Despite coming up shy of winning the ALPB North Division First Half Title, from June 15th through August 30th, the Blue Crabs posted a league best 39-27 record, a league best 5.10 ERA, and a league high .294 batting average. Looking for an ALPB Second Half title in a packed field, Southern Maryland, dropped a doubleheader, games 43 and 44 of the Second Half and fell to 3.5 games back of first place, the deepest deficit they’d faced in the entire Second Half. Southern Maryland, the most triumphant of teams, would win 10 of their final 15 games including six of their last seven to crown themselves as ALPB North Division Second Half Champions, going to the postseason for the first time since 2017 and the seventh time in 13 years. It was a season that saw Daryl Thompson become the league’s all-time strikeout leader on 6/9/21, and the league’s all-time wins leader on 10/6/21 at home. The season included thrilling wins including a franchise record three home run, seven RBI game from David Harris, walk-off homers from Josh McAdams, and a backend of their bullpen that saw Endrys Briceno post jarring numbers, a 1.87 ERA in a league that averaged a 6.15 ERA, and Mat Latos getting 24 saves in 25 tries. Like in life, Southern Maryland will brush off their shoulders and look ahead to the 2022 campaign with championship aspirations once more. Stay tuned to the Crabs’ website and social media channels for updates regarding ticket renewals and a schedule release for 2022.