Ducks Sweep Weekend, Advance to Championship Series

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The South Oakland Ducks defeated the Sheraden Jays 4-3 to advance to the NABA Double A Championship Series, Sunday evening in Spring Hill. It was the Ducks third straight road win at Springview Field in three days.

Friday

TJ Morgan and Alex Swauger led the Ducks offense with three hits apiece, pacing the team to a 9-6 victory over the Bandidos. Tom Pulice had 3 RBI and Anthony DeFilippo hit a solo home run. Casen Wolinsky (W, 2-0) pitched five strong innings, and Luke Hudic recorded the two-inning save (1).

Sunday

In the losers bracket semi-final, Zach Gift pitched a complete game (W, 1-0), and the Ducks scored 5 runs in the first inning to chase D2’s starter. Tom Pulice hit a solo home run in the fifth to put the game out of reach. Final score: Ducks 6, D2 2

In the losers bracket final, the Ducks came back from an early 2-0 deficit behind a strong start from Randy Patton and another save from Hudic (2). Patton (W, 1-1) allowed one earned run through six, but the Jays capitalized on two, first-inning Ducks errors. South Oakland scored one in the third, two in the fourth and one in the sixth. The Jays added a run in the bottom of the sixth on a fielder’s choice.

With the Ducks leading 4-3 in the seventh, Hudic picked off a runner for the first out after a questionable catcher’s interference call, struck out the Jays’ leadoff hitter, walked a batter, then struck out MVP candidate Luke Gapinski to end the game.

The Ducks will face the South Side Eagles in a best-of-three series for the title.

Baseball!

The Ducks advanced to the finals for the fourth time in team history. We beat the Piranhas in 2003 and the Black Sox in 2010. We lost to Elliot in 2011.

We are 5-1 in the playoffs with five of six games as the visiting team. Our one home game was at Herschel Park, and we played three consecutive road games at Springview, our home field.

We beat D2 twice by a combined score of 16-4. D2 beat us 10-0 when we last played them in the regular season.

Before this year, we had never played the Bandidos or Cranberry in the playoffs. We played them both this post-season: a 7-0 loss to Jon Hart at Cranberry, and a 9-6 win over the Bandidos on Friday.

After hitting zero home runs in the regular season, we have hit three in six playoff games (Rayl, Defilippo, Pulice).

Entering the tournament as the no. 7 seed, we beat the 8, 6 (twice), 5, and 2 seeds to reach the finals against the no. 1 seed South Side Eagles.

The Eagles earned a double bye in the playoffs, and beat the Bandidos and Sheraden in the winners bracket to advance to the Championship Series.

Today’s win got us back to .500 on the season (15-15).

Date and time of Game 1 of the Championship Series is tbd.

What a run.

Quack.

Ducks Advance to Quarterfinals

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Box Score

South Oakland came from behind to defeat Keystone Oaks 8-7 in Elliot Sunday night behind a strong start from Zach Gift and timely hitting.

Trailing 1-0, South Oakland scored 4 runs in the bottom of the third. With the Ducks clinging to a 5-4 lead in the sixth, Anthony Defillipo hit a two-run double to right-center, driving in what turned out to be much needed insurance runs.

Gift struck out seven over six innings and left in the seventh with a two run lead and a runner on first. Relief pitcher Luke Hudic (W,1-0), loaded the bases with two hit batters then struck out the next two. With two outs and two strikes on the batter, Keystone Oaks tied the game on a two-run error on a shallow fly ball to right. Hudic struck out the next batter.

MVP candidate Alex Swauger led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk and advanced to third on an errant pick-off attempt. After an infield hit by TJ Morgan, Keystone Oaks walked catcher Tom Pulice to load the bases with no outs for Kenny Rayl. Rayl drew a four-pitch walk to end the game.

Some stats:

  • Morgan: 3-for-4, 2 RBI
  • DeFillipo: 1-for-3, 2B, 3RBI
  • Dillon Williams and Tony Casale each went 2-for-3 with a run scored.

This was a big win in an elimination game, after giving up a late lead. Everyone contributed.

South Oakland plays next on Friday night vs. the Bandidos. Time and field tbd, but likely Mellon Park. It will be the first playoff matchup between these two teams.

Quack.

Ducks Win. South Oakland 10, D2 2

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Kenny Powers. Real American. Ducks Legend. American flag cape. Suck it.

Casen Wolinsky (W, 1-0) pitched a complete game and the Ducks advanced to face Cranberry tomorrow in Cranberry.

In the second inning, South Oakland infielder Anthony DeFilippo drove in the game’s first two runs on his first of two doubles; DeFilippo scored later in the inning on Tony Casale’s ground-rule double into the ravine in right field.

The Ducks put the game out of reach in the fifth inning when third baseman Kenny Rayl hit a three-run home run to give South Oakland a commanding 7-1 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, D2’s three hitter was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. His replacement struck out swinging to end the game.

Kenny Powers on baseball field, pointing at Cranberry.

DeFilippo, Casale, Alex Swauger, Tom Pulice, Ben Gwin, and Jimmy Murray hit doubles for South Oakland. Eleven different Ducks reached base safely.

South Oakland plays today (Saturday) at Graham Park at 5pm.

Quack.

Kenny Powers with bat

We have some momentum and should feel confident as we move on to the second round.

Bad News Bears team photo.

Bad news for Cranberry

Playoff Gameday 1: Ducks at D2

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

at

(6) Pittsburgh D2 (0-0)

8:30pm

Herschel Park

The Ducks travel to Elliot tonight to take on D2 in the first round of the 2022 Pittsburgh NABA playoffs. South Oakland lost a heart breaker to D2 in the 2019 playoffs in a game that spanned two locations after the lights went out at Herschel Park. Both teams are confident the lights will stay on for the duration of the game this evening.

On the other side of the asymmetrical bracket, the Piranhas have already forfeited to the Devils. This gives the Devils a big advantage in the second round, and affects the losers bracket game as well. The loser of the 7/6 matchup (I think) will face a team that didn’t have to use an arm against the loser of Devils, Piranhas game to advance.

The last time a team folded before the playoffs, the Ducks were the two-seed and played D2 after they advanced without having to play now-defunct, West View. The Ducks then lost in the aforementioned two-field game, and then were eliminated by eventual finalist Bauerstown.

RIP Wolfpack

This year was frustrating for many reasons. We lost fourteen games, some by a lot, others on the last at-bat. We didn’t have a functional rotation until mid-June, and we struggled with attendance issues the whole summer. I don’t think we’ve had all our starters and pitching in the same game this year. What bodes well for us is we will have all our players for the playoffs. We won’t have any excuses.

We can make up for a mediocre regular season with one more winning streak, but we have to get through tonight first. We will face a tough pitcher and a solid team in D2 that has had a lot of post-season success. On paper, it looks like it should be a low-scoring game. If we can scratch a couple across early and play with a lead, we have a good shot. We will be ready to go tonight.

Bad News for D2

Ducks Win. South Oakland 7, Eagles 6

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Box Score

Kenny Rayl hit a one out, walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh to give the Ducks a 7-6 win over the first place Eagles last night in Spring Hill. South Oakland starting pitcher Randy Patton (W, 7-3) scattered 11 hits and 5 walks over 7 innings, and held the league’s top scoring offense in check. The win was Patton’s fifth complete game of the season.

The Ducks never trailed. They got off to a 3-0 lead in the first and lead 6-3 after five. The Eagles clawed back into the game, scoring 2 in the sixth and 1 in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, Tony Casale and TJ Morgan singled. After a creative double steal attempt, the Ducks had runners on first and third with one out for Rayl who lined a single up the middle for the game winning RBI.

The victory stopped a three-game slide that included a walk-off loss to NABA legend Zach King and the Bandidos on Thursday and a 15-0, three-inning mercy rule loss to the Eagles last Sunday.

The Ducks appear to be locked in to a first round matchup with D2 in the 6/7 game. Despite a frustrating, sub .500 regular season, spirits are high as the playoffs approach.

South Oakland wraps up the regular season on Sunday, 12:30pm at Herschel Park vs the Eagles.

Quack.

Ducks Win: South Oakland 9, South Hills 8

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South Oakland erased an 8-1, 5th inning Devils lead to comeback and win on a John Zuzak walk-off, bases loaded walk last night in Spring Hill. Randy Patton (W, 6-3) pitched a complete game and Tony Casale recorded four hits for the Ducks.

The Devils took an early lead thanks in part to four Ducks errors in the top of the second, and the game appeared to be headed towards another Devils blowout. South Hills lead 6-0 after two innings. The Ducks scored a run in the third to pull within five, but the Devils scored two in the top of the fourth to take a seven-run lead.

South Oakland scored four in the fifth and four in the seventh, highlighted by doubles from Tom Pulice and Kenny Rayl. South Hills committed several errors late in the game. The Ducks loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, chasing Devils starter Brandon Bouchard (L, 5-4). Three straight singles and a walk ended the game.

Notes:

  • This was the second time this season the Ducks have come from behind in the seventh inning to win.
  • South Oakland avoided being swept by the Devils for the first time in team history.

It seems like we’ve been on the cusp of disaster a few times this year, and we’ve managed to pull ourselves back from the edge. Obviously it’s better to avoid those situations completely, but it’s not that type of season. This was a messy game, but a gutsy comeback after the Devils beat us decisively on Thursday.

South Oakland plays next on Thursday against Keystone Oaks in the dreaded 6:15 pm time slot at Duquesne Field.

Quack.

Ducks Lose: South Oakland 1, South Hills 9

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Brandon Bouchard threw a complete game, and Scott Rush hit a second-inning grand slam to lead the Devils past the Ducks. The Ducks starting pitcher allowed 7 runs in the first two innings on four walks and three HBP scattered around two singles and a grand slam. South Oakland was not able to overcome the early deficit.

Ducks pitcher Cody Quinn threw well relief, holding the Devils to two runs over six innings.

The Ducks next game is Tuesday, July 5th, 8:30 pm at Springview Field vs the Devils.

Gameday 18: Ducks vs Devils

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South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (8-9)

vs

South Hills Devils (11-8)

8:30 pm

Springview Field

South Oakland looks to get back to .500 after an up and down month of June. Despite sitting at 8-9, the Ducks are just one game back in the loss column from second place though they have several teams to jump. South Hills has won 7 of 10 and appears to be firing on all cylinders after a big win against Cranberry earlier this week. South Oakland’s scheduled starting pitcher is on vacation, so they will go to the bullpen to try and scrape out a win by committee.

Last week the Ducks completed their season series against D2 and the Jays, winning both two games to one.

The Ducks also beat Keystone Oaks for the second time this season, winning 10-1 on Tuesday. Casen Wolinsky (W, 3-0) struck out ten batters in the complete game victory.

Realignment Watch 2022

The Senators return to single A has been unspectacular as the team sits at 7-9. The Oilers are enjoying a successful second season in AAA with a recent upset of Jefferson Hills highlighting a robust 11-4 record. The Grizzlies are trying to become the first team to win back to back championships in different divisions, and are in the hunt for a division title at 12-5.

Expansion teams Keystone Oaks and CSI seem to be having attendance issues, which is certainly relatable. At 0-15 with an incredible -138 run differential, CSI seems likely to move down next season if they don’t fold.

This has been a frustrating season. We went through a third of the schedule without a number two starter, and we are still dealing with the repercussions of spotty attendance and last minute no shows. But lately we’ve been playing better. When we have all our starters, we can score runs, and we will have to tonight. A win gets us into the holiday weekend on a high note with Randy ready to go on the 5th. If we can keep it close and try to win one late, we have good shot.

Bad News for the Devils

Ducks Lose Three Straight

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South Oakland lost to the Jays on Friday, and lost two to the previously last place Piranhas on Sunday. Sunday’s first loss was a continued game that was suspended earlier this season. The second game was a rescheduled rainout. The Ducks record is now 5-8.

The Ducks finish their season series with East Pittsburgh tonight, 8:30 pm at Springview Field.

Quack.

Ducks Win Fourth Straight, Even Record at 5-5

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South Oakland 10, Keystone Oaks 3

Box Score

South Oakland erased a 3-2 fourth-inning deficit, reeling off 8 unanswered runs, to defeat Keystone Oaks (5-7) in Spring Hill last night.

In his first start as a Duck, starting pitcher Casen Wolinski (W, 1-0) pitched 6 innings, scattering 7 hits, and striking out 8. Also making his Ducks debut, relief pitcher Luke Hudic pitched a scoreless seventh. South Oakland did not allow an earned run. The defense overcame a few early miscues and steadied itself late. Keystone Oaks pitchers hit six Ducks batters including TJ Morgan who lined a ball off the top of the fence for a long RBI single to help put the game out of reach.

Last night’s win was the Ducks fourth straight; the Ducks beat first place Cranberry on Sunday, after a home and home sweep of D2 earlier in the week.

Offensive Performances of Note:

  • Alex Swauger: 3-for-3, 2 RBI
  • Tom Pulice: 3-4, 3 RBI
  • Mark Lombardi: 1-for-3, HBP, 2 RBI
  • Dillon Williams: 1-for-4 2B, R
  • Jimmy Murray: 2-for-2, RBI, SB, R
  • Ben Gwin: 0-for-0, 2 HBP, SB, 2R

South Oakland plays next against the Jays, Friday, 8:30 pm at Herschel Park.

Quack