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Ducks Beat Patriots, 5-3, Playoff Race to be Decided Sunday

September 18, 2021 - Double-A Northeast League (AA Northeast) - Akron RubberDucks News Release

The Akron RubberDucks used a four-run sixth inning and a strong start from Thomas Ponticelli to down the Somerset Patriots, 5-3, on Saturday night at Canal Park. Akron tied Somerset for the best record in the Double-A Northeast, a half-game ahead of Bowie (72-47) entering Sunday's regular season finales. The top two teams will qualify for the best-of-five league championship series that starts Tuesday at the No. 2 seed's home ballpark.

Turning Point

Akron broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth. Brayan Rocchio hit a leadoff single and stole second base before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Rocchio scored on an infield single by George Valera to make it 2-1 Akron. Later in the inning, Bo Naylor's two-out popup was dropped by the second baseman Chad Bell, allowing Bryan Lavastida and Valera to score. Naylor stole second base and scored on Jonathan Engelmann's RBI triple to make it 5-1 Akron.

Mound Presence

Thomas Ponticelli battled his way through the first two innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk. Ponticelli settled in the rest of the way, tossing three more scoreless innings. In total, Ponticelli pitched five innings, allowing just the one run while striking out six batters. Ben Krauth followed with two innings striking out two, though allowing a two-run homer in the seventh inning to Brandon Lockridge. Aaron Pinto followed with two scoreless innings to earn the save.

Duck Tales

The RubberDucks tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the fourth, when Rocchio led off the inning with a double before advancing to third on a fielder's choice. Valera grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed Rocchio to score. The RubberDucks left five runners on base and were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.


No playoff spots have been clinched yet in the Double-A Northeast. The winner of Sunday's game in Akron will be the No. 1 seed. Bowie needs to win at home against Altoona to earn the No. 2 seed, but a Bowie loss makes the Akron-Somerset loser the No. 2 seed, hosting Games 1 & 2 of the championship...Will Brennan extended his on-base streak to 19 games with a first-inning single...Rocchio extended his hitting streak to 11 games...Game Time: 3:03...Attendance: 6,063.

On the Pond

Union Home Mortgage Welcomes You Home To Canal Park for the six-game RubberDucks homestand with the Somerset Patriots, concluding Sunday at 2:05 p.m. EDT. Cleveland Indians right-hander Shane Bieber (MLB: 7-4, 3.28 ERA) is scheduled to make a rehab start against Patriots right-hander Luis Medina (4-3, 3.86 ERA). The game broadcast, powered by FirstEnergy, is on 640 WHLO, the 640 WHLO iHeartRadio channel, and, and available on MiLB.TV. Tickets for RubberDucks home games are available at

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Double-A Northeast League Stories from September 18, 2021

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