Gameday: 3 Ducks at Devils

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South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (1-1)


South Hills Devils (1-4)


Herschel Park

After a rainy week, Ducks look to get back over .500 with a win against struggling rival South Hills. The Devils have had some bad luck early this year, but they are still a solid, experienced team that can score runs. Eventually the back luck will swing the other way, they have too many good players. Last year we split the season series and the run differential was even. It will be a close one tonight.

We need to keep wining games to stay in the top half of the standings. With the monsoon last week, there will be a backlog of games later in the year. We need to position ourselves for the stretch run before we start playing four games in ten days in June. We have the bullpen rested and most of our starters tonight.

Bad news for the Devils

Gameday 3: Ducks vs Grizzlies

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South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (1-1)


Bauerstown Grizzlies (5-0)


Springview Field

Weather permitting, the Ducks look to knock off the undefeated Grizzlies tonight in Spring Hill. Bauerstown has averaged ten runs a game while allowing three during its current winning streak. Also during the streak, the Grizzlies have comeback twice when trailing after six innings against the Bandidos and Devils respectively. It seems they have benefitted from their year off.

The Ducks send Billy Welsh (0-1) to the mound tonight to get the team back on track after a tough loss to the Eagles on Sunday.

Both Bauerstown teams are winning all their games this year, as the single A Turtles are in first place with a 5-0 record.

Realignment Watch 2021

This year we will keep track of how the Senators and BIG OIL fare after moving up a division.

The Senators are 0-2, losing both games by a combined 35-5, including a 20-0 opening day defeat at the hands of the Eagles.

The Oilers have not played a game yet.

The Grizzlies eliminated South Oakland from playoff contention the past two seasons. This is always a tough matchup for us, but I like our chances at home with Billy pitching in cold weather.

Bad news for the Grizzlies

Ducks Lose: South Oakland 2, South Side 3

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Box Score

The Ducks (1-1) lost a heartbreaker in the West End this afternoon, dropping a close game to the Eagles (2-1) at Herschel Park.

The Eagles scored a run in the first off a HBP, and a double. Ducks starter, Randy Patton (0-0) settled down, scattering four more hits over five innings. The Eagles added their second run in the fifth when two Ducks collided in shallow center, leading to a two base error. The Eagles runner would later score on a single.

The Eagles starter was pulled after two effective innings due to arm trouble, but their relief pitcher was effective. He allowed two hits and worked out of trouble in the fifth thanks to a line out double play with the bases loaded.

The Ducks trailed 2-0 going into the seventh but tied the game on a walk, two hits and an RBI groundout to the right side that plated two runs.

The Eagles took advantage of another two-base, Ducks error when their leadoff batter advanced to second after an errant throw on a squibber to the infield. Their next batter hit a ground ball through the right side to win the game.

It’s tough to waste a good pitching performance, but at least we battled back to tie in the seventh. We had a few hard outs with guys on base. Overall, we played well but couldn’t hit their junk baller. This has been the recipe to beat us for a few years now. The Eagles haven’t looked this good since the days of Noonan, and I expect them to be in the mix this year.

The Ducks next game is Wednesday, 9pm vs Bauerstown at the Duck Pond.

Gameday 2: Ducks at Eagles


South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (1-0)


South Side Eagles (2-1)


Herschel Park

The Ducks look to continue their hot start today in Elliot against the revamped South Side Eagles, fresh off a 20-0 dismantling of the expansion Senators. Last season, South Oakland went 1-2-1 against the Eagles, including a 15-5 loss at home. Their worst loss of the season. Ducks starter Randy Patton (0-0) looks to avenge that loss when he takes the hill today. The Eagles are probably throwing a new guy. It looks like they have a bunch of new pitchers. I’m not sure what happened to last year’s ace, Horowitz, but I think we should expect a good effort out of South Side and a hard fought game.

Even when the Eagles had down years, they beat us. This will be a good early season test for both teams. Double A is wide open this year, as expected. With the Grizzlies at 4-0, these early games are important. No one wants to fall back too far in the standings before the season even gets going.

Patton is starting today, with our full staff backing him up. Kenny and I are managing while Tom is at work.

Bad news for the Eagles

The Ghost of Doug Ryba: Ducks 15, Piranhas 0 (3 inn.)

2021 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball
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Pittsburgh NABA legend, Dough Ryba, pictured above, was a member of the original Piranhas in 2003. Sponsored By Amica

South Oakland (1-0) defeated the expansion Piranhas (0-1) by a score of 15-0 in 3 innings last night in Spring Hill.

Ducks pitcher Brandon Blackstone (W, 1-0) pitched a complete game no-hitter. Two Piranhas reached via an error and a walk respectively.

The Ducks sent twelve batters to the plate in the first inning and scored six runs. They added five runs in the second, and four in the third, capped by TJ Morgan’s walk off, two-run single to right.

The commissioner stopped by, and gave us baseballs.

The win marks the ducks first shutout win since 2019, and the fourth no-hitter (Dickman (2), Tessier) in team history, be it abbreviated.

East Pittsburgh could have used Ryba’s bat in this one. Sounds like they were missing some guys, and should improve as the season goes on.

After blowing a seven run, third inning lead in Cranberry last opener, this was a much improved start.

We hit really well, and did a good job of staying patient at the plate. I don’t have the book in front of me, but if I recall correctly, Pulice, Rayl, and Morgan all had multi hit games. Pulice, Rayl, and Gwin hit doubles. Eleven different Ducks reached base at least once. I’ll link the box score when it’s updated, and make any corrections.

South Oakland will face the revamped South Side Eagles at Herschel Park, Sunday at 12 pm


Gameday 1: Ducks vs Piranhas


South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (0-0)


East Pittsburgh Piranhas (0-0)


Springview Field

The Ducks enter their nineteenth season with title aspirations, again. At the very least, South Oakland figures to be in contention down the stretch. There are a lot of variables during the regular season that can prevent a team from getting a bye, or force a team into a bad draw. Over the last few years, we’ve had terrible post season luck. We’ve also run into some buzzsaw pitchers. We’ve lost to better teams, worse teams and teams that were just as good as us after having several relatively successful regular seasons since we moved down from what is now AAA in 2014. Hopefully things fall our way this year.

It’s already been a wild start to the 2021 season with Herschel Park serving as the venue for a near brawl and a suspended game due to the lights shutting off during the Devils/Grizzlies and Cranberry/D2 games respectively. Incidents like this were much more common in the league’s early days.

In 2003, The Ducks won the inaugural championship vs. the Pittsburgh Piranhas (later the Warriors). Their logo looked like the one below. South Oakland’s team was me and my college friends from Pitt. We played high school and legion ball, along with a few guys who probably never played above JV or rec leagues. On that night, Piranhas manager Craig Boley must have been short on guys so he brought in a bunch of ringers. We faced a team of college players that night, including their starting pitcher who played at Waynesburg.

Boley was commissioner at the time, and umped most of the regular season games, so we didn’t really have anyone to whom we could report roster violations. Adding to the mystique, the championship game was supposed to happen a week earlier, and was “rained out” on a night where John Herb Field was immaculate, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We took infield and then I got a call that the game was rescheduled. We came back the next Monday, under the lights for the first time in years, and we won. We rolled on a team full of college players hand picked by the commissioner. We won 9-6. Then we were kicked out of Hemingways.

There are probably players on this Piranhas team that weren’t born when our team was founded. It’s a fitting opener. The oldest team against the newest team that bares the name of another original 6 squad. Hopefully the weather cooperates. Our veteran roster and young pitching staff had a season to gel, and we’re ready to go.

Bad news for the Piranhas.

AA Schedule Released: Ducks Open With Expansion Piranhas on 4/28

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The schedule is up on the league site. The Ducks open with East Pittsburgh at home on Wednesday night, and travel to Herschel Park to play the Eagles on Sunday.

Grizzlies, Eagles, Devils, Bandidos Complete Cold Weather Games in Week 1

After one week of AA action, Bauerstown has jumped out to a 3-0 start and a solid +18 run differential. Grizzlies pitchers threw a combined no-hitter against the Bandidos to open the season.

The Devils sit at 1-2 and have allowed a bunch of runs. They look to reverse that trend against the Grizzlies tonight at Herschel Park.

The Bandidos (0-2) are off to their usual slow start, dropping two games to the Grizzlies, while the Eagles sit at 1-1 after splitting their opening series with South Hills.

I don’t know what conclusions can be drawn from such a small sample, this early in the year, but AA figures to be competitive from top to bottom.

Realignment Watch 2021

This year we will keep track of how the Senators and BIG OIL fare after moving up a division. Neither team has played a game yet.

The Hebrew Oilers have drafted a Division I pitcher with the first pick of the supplemental draft, and may already have a burgeoning rivalry with West End Elliot.

The Senators have a solid Twitter presence. There may be some lingering bad blood between our teams due to a misunderstanding last fall ball season.

More on these situations as they develop.

Thanks for reading.


NABA Opening Weekend 2021


Several AA teams will start their seasons on Sunday.

The Devils and Eagles start with a double header in West End, and the Bandidos travel to Bauerstown for an early season tilt with the Grizzlies.

The Bandidos finish the home and home next Friday against Bauerstown, and then host the Eagles in a 9am hair of the dog match at Mellon Park.

A reminder that the Bandidos went with classic white on black uniforms, when they could have gone with something like this:

South Oakland will start some time after April 25th.

Ducks Set to Start 19th Season

South Oakland ducks waffle house

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side look to rebound in 2021, after a disappointing season last year. The team finished under .500 for the first time in six years in 2021. After a solid win over South Hills in the first round, we lost to a stacked BIG OIL team in the semifinals.

The big offseason news is that the Oilers merged with the Rebels and are now playing in AAA. Taking their spot in AA are the Senators and the expansion Piranhas. Returning after a year off are D2 and Bauerstown.

Bauerstown is probably the preseason favorite along with 2020 finalist Bandidos and the 2019 champion Devils. I’ll put the Piranhas right behind this group for now, but they’re supposed to be good. They’re a bunch of high school kids from a good baseball school who will likely be disappointed by our fields.

Cranberry is a no longer a sleeper pick after putting together two consecutive solid regular seasons. They also added the third woman in league history who will pitch and play outfield for them. She is a former olympian and likely the best athlete in the league. I’m curious how she’ll fare. D2 has the pitching depth to make a run, and the Eagles are due to rebound in Ethan’s second season as manager. It should be a competitive division.

South Oakland added a couple players who should contribute right away. Dimas is also returning after a year off to play second and clap. We lost Ducks legend James Fago to a new job in Chicago, and our long-time shortstop moved up to the Bulldogs after leaving South Oakland halfway through last season for personal reasons.

Every year I wonder if half our team will just get old all at once, but if it hasn’t happened yet. I think we have the pitching to compete. We need to avoid getting swept by Cranberry again this season. I am now 40. My career will span three decades, and grateful for another season at the Duck Pond.

Springview Field - Home of the South Oakland Ducks of the North Side