South Oakland opens a home and home against D2 tonight in Elliot. D2 took last season off after a run to the finals in 2019. That year D2 made a run to the finals. They started the playoffs with a forfeit win over the WOLFPACK when West View folded. Somehow the Ducks played a home game at Herschel Park that year and lost a brutal game behind a terrible missed call, the lights going out, and a freak injury to their star catcher. Hopefully the lights stay on tonight.
D2 always has good pitching, and are historically a tough matchup for us. I think they also have some former Jays on their team, so that should lend itself to a festive atmosphere. Tonight should be a close game. I think we have most of our starters. A win will give us a chance to get back into the mix for a bye out of the first round of play in games. Right now we’re a game and a half out as we kick off a stretch of four games in nine days. It seems like the bounces are starting to go our way again. I like our chances in a close game tonight.
South Oakland abolished the filibuster, and held off a late obstructionist push by the Senators, winning a 6-4 thriller in extras yesterday in Homestead.
Ducks starter Randy Patton left with a 3-2 lead in the fifth. The Senators tied the game in the fifth and the seventh, but could not take the lead. The Ducks went ahead for good on a two-out, two run single by Gwin in the ninth. Brandon Blackstone got the win in relief, and recorded his first hit as a Duck.
Cody Quinn, TJ Morgan, Mike Brandt, and Kenny Rayl hit doubles.
Morgan is gunning for another batting title.
We were short handed, but our pitching staff did a great job.
The bullpen not only pitched well, but took advantage of getting some rare at bats.
I may be getting the innings wrong. It was hot. The Senators battled.
We really need guys to show up this week vs D2. These two games are huge. They are right in front of us in the standings.
The Ducks next game is Tuesday vs D2. 8:30pm at Herschel Park
The Ducks look to win the season series against the Senators today in Homestead. South Oakland has won two of its last three. A win today would put the team one game behind Pittsburgh D2 before a home and home series next week. With three games in five days, the Ducks chances to finish in the top 5 will become clearer this week.
Other games this weekend include a big series between the Eagles and Grizzlies, while Cranberry plays East Pittsburgh and Bakery Square on back to back days. It is the height of vacation season. Roster depth and flexibility will be paramount throughout June and heading into 4th of July weekend.
The Senators are looking at this game as one they can sneak from a four-win team. We can’t take anything for granted. They stole one from Cranberry last week, and played us close for four innings before we pulled away last time. This is a game we have to win despite playing without several starters.
We’re short-handed, but we have enough pitching. I feel confident with Patton on the mound today.
The Ducks look to start their first winning streak of the season tonight against their longtime nemesis Bakery Square. The former Mon Valley Dirty Birds/North American Lions are emerging as the team to beat not named the Grizzlies after sweeping the Eagles last weekend.
If the Bandidos win this game, they retain the rights to disgruntled outfielder and relief pitcher Greg Friend. The Ducks have to win the season series to win G. Friend’s contract per the deal made with Ducks officials and Bakery Square co-managers John and Eric Friend.
“This is ridiculous,” Greg Friend said. “I haven’t been this disrespected by management since we were kids. Do I even have a contract?”
John and Eric Friend did not respond to multiple email requests.
The original North American Lions team finished the 2014 regular season in first place and lost to the WOLFPACK in the finals. That was the year of the ill-fated double booking of Beedle Park that lead to the Ducks elimination in the semis by West View.
Lions pitcher and NABA legend, Zach King (sic) left to form the Mon Valley Dirty Birds with the Friends. I’m not sure if the Friends were on the Lions. Let’s assume they were.
The Dirty Birds won a championship, moved up to AAA, beat the Cherokee in the playoffs, then disbanded. The Bandidos rose from their ashes. The Bandidos won a championship and have consistently finished among the top three teams in their relatively brief existence.
The Lions are still in single A, and have 28 guys on their roster. They are in second place. Anyway, I forgot the Lions were part of the Bandidos lineage. Also a good transition into:
Realignment Watch 2021
This year we will keep track of how the Senators and BIG OIL fare after moving up a division.
The Oilers were no-hit earlier this week by former Sheraden Jays and South Hills Devils pitcher Luke Gapinski. After a strong start, BIG OIL has lost four straight.
Runs allowed: 58
Run differential: -30
The Senators lost to Luke’s most recent former team 11-1 on Monday, but have been playing better as of late.
Runs allowed: 96
Run differential: -72
The Bandidos have a great, weird history, and are solid tournament teammates. But tonight we need a win against a team that is two games up on us in the standings. We’re running out of time to make up ground. I like our chances at home.
South Oakland (4-8) came back from an early 2-1 deficit behind an 8-run fifth inning, and then held off a late rally by the Devils (3-8) to win a wild one in Spring Hill yesterday. Ducks starter Randy Patton (W, 2-1) pitched four strong innings before turning it over to the bullpen. The bullpen had mixed results.
The game was tied 4-4 heading into the bottom of the fifth. The umpires were bad, but just typically bad up to that point. Then it escalated. They missed some calls for the Devils pitcher in the fifth, and the Ducks took advantage when he had to put it down the middle. TJ Morgan hit one off the fence in right that was a foot from going out. We hit a couple doubles and wound up putting eight runs on the board. The plate ump started arguing back with the Devils.
The ump told us we didn’t deserve better umpires. This guy was calling pitches when they were halfway to the plate. I’ve never seen that before. He was out of position all game, and let the game get out of hand.
South Oakland led 12-4 after 5. Our reliever had one out and one on, and the plate ump missed called strike threes on consecutive batters that would have ended the inning. Instead those guys walked. Then there were more bad calls and we walked in two runs. There was a double that cleared the bases, then a 2-run home run. The Devils put up 7 on three hits in the inning.
The Ducks added two in the bottom of the inning to take a three-run lead into the seventh.
Then the ump made more bad calls, tried to issue a warning, and he threatened to leave. He said he should give us $5 back and quit. He told one guy that if he wanted good umpires it would cost $300. One great line was, “Why don’t you get some grandma to stand behind the fence and call balls and strikes.”
It was ridiculous.
The Devils scored two runs in the seventh before Hoffman came in to close the game for South Oakland, stranding the tying run on second.
The Devils new uniforms are pretty nice
If our record was better, Stef Blackstone would be the hands down AA MVP this year. If we finish strong, he should win it.
TJ Morgan is having an incredible season at the plate
If there was ever a loss that could give a team momentum, it was yesterday’s for the Devils. They battled.
It would have been a devastating loss for us after we finally put together a big inning against a quality starting pitcher. This was a big win for us.
The umps really spoiled what was an important game in the standing for both teams. I don’t understand why some umps what to make the games about them. The other extreme is they are totally checked out sometimes and won’t even make fair/foul calls. Just be as consistent as possible, and try to get in position to make the right calls. That’s all anyone can ask for.
South Oakland plays next on Wednesday night, 9pm at Springview Field vs the Bandidos.
The Ducks play a rare afternoon game on the hottest day of the year against the Devils today in Spring Hill. This is the rubber match for these teams as they have split the season series 1-1. The Ducks won 6-5 in extra innings earlier in the year, and the Devils won the rematch 7-3 in May.
Both teams are mired in the bottom third of the standings and are looking for a spark to turn their seasons around. Someone has to win today. Actually, a tie wouldn’t surprise me the way this season is going.
The Ducks Sunday squad travels up 79 today to take on Cranberry in Cranberry. The last time these two teams played, Cranberry beat South Oakland at the Duck Pond in a game that came down to the final at bat.
Cranberry lost their last game to the resurgent South Hills Devils, and the Ducks defeated the North Park Senators. Recent history suggests another close game today. Sources tell me both teams are short handed.
Here’s a link to the Cranberry Blog. Solid work as always up there. I can relate to not spelling Piranhas right on the first time, ever.
It seems like vacation season is happening earlier this year. It’s certainly hit us harder sooner than usual. Having to scramble for guys and putting together a patchwork lineup is one thing I don’t miss about managing. I think this affects older teams more as family responsibilities pile up. I could be wrong.
At some point, availability just turns into an excuse, and it’s really tiring to keep talking about it. Everyone deals with it. We should be able to win with a couple backups playing. We have good enough pitching and in many cases it’s our starters not hitting. It’s been a really tough year attendance wise for a number of reasons. Some are excusable and some aren’t. Weekends are brutal for us. We’ve added a couple guys to hopefully remedy this situation going forward.
Our history with the big roster started after forfeiting a playoff game to the Black Sox in 2004. We won game one of the semis handily, then there was a rain out and a rescheduled game that turned into a forfeit somehow. Then we played with seven guys and Craig Boley in game 3 and lost. The Sox won the title that year. We were robbed.
We can still go on a run. The playoffs are what matter, and as long as we have a shot at the top five, we need to win games to give ourselves the best chance to get to the semi finals. I like our odds in a series with our staff. There are some models out there that have high odds of us facing Cranberry in the second round.
Billy is throwing for us today, and hopefully we have the infielders to rotate our closer in if there is a save situation. I like our chances in a close game. We are due to pull one out in the last inning against these guys.
Brandon Blackstone (W, 2-1) pitched a complete game, one-hitter to end the Ducks five game losing streak. Tom Pulice capped a five-run fourth inning with a bases clearing, 3RBI double. The Ducks (3-6) scored one run in the third inning, and added another in the fifth and sixth.
S. Blackstone, Pulice, Gwin, and Doak hit doubles. TJ Morgan drove in a run with a bases loaded walk.
The game was scoreless for a while but the Ducks put together a big inning and got to North Hills’ starter who was effective the first two times through the order.
The Ducks start a run of three games in five days. South Oakland plays Cranberry and South Hills this weekend, followed by a Wednesday night tilt against Bakery Square.
Realignment Watch 2021
This year we will keep track of how the Senators and BIG OIL fare after moving up a division.
The Senators lost 8-0 to the South Oakland Ducks.
Runs allowed: 73
Run differential: -60
The Oilers squared off against Jefferson Hills this weekend in an all time battle of NABA heels. Jefferson Hills won 14-6.
Runs allowed: 39
Run differential -13
South Oakland plays next against Cranberry. Saturday, 5pm at Veteran’s Park of Cranberry (North Boundary Park).