South Oakland dropped back to back games this week to Bakery Square and Butler by a combined score of 21-11. The losses were due to poor defense and attendance issues. The Ducks (3-6) look to rebound Thursday evening with a happy hour tilt at Keystone Oaks, 6:15 in Greentree.
Ducks Split Back to Back Games, Face Warriors Tonight2023 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball
South Oakland lost 5-1 to the first place Devils in Elliot Monday night. Four, first-inning errors led to a 4-0 deficit that the Ducks could not overcome. The rest of the game was played pretty tight. Randy Patton (L, 0-2) was the tough-luck loser despite throwing a good game, and keeping the Ducks within striking distance.
The Ducks rebounded on Tuesday, beating Cranberry 2-1 in Spring Hill. South Oakland starter, Brandon Blackstone threw six innings of one-run ball and outdueled 2022 pitcher of the year, Jon Hart for the win. The Ducks scratched across two runs on six hits, and Luke Hudic struck out the side in the seventh for the save (1) to secure a much-needed victory.
South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (2-4)
Plum Warriors (3-5)
We lost 6-4 in 9 innings to the Warriors last week. It was a game we had a few chances to win, but made one too many mistakes. Tuesday’s win against arguably the best non-Duck pitcher in the league is the kind that can turn a season around, but we have to build on it. There are only two teams over .500 right now: the resurgent Devils, and the preseason favorite Bandidos. Everyone is pretty evenly matched. There is a lot of baseball left.
I like our chances at home tonight. We have Billy on the hill and Kenny Powers behind the plate.
Bad news for the Warriors
Ducks Lose: South Oakland 4, Plum 6 (9 inn.)Uncategorized
The Ducks lost a heart breaker to the Plum Warriors 6-4 in extra innings last night in Spring Hill. South Oakland took a 4-3 lead in the fifth, but Plum answered with an RBI double in the 6th, chasing Ducks starter Randy Patton from the game. Patton allowed 2 ER through 5, and gave the Ducks a chance to win.
Ducks reliever Billy Welsh (L, 1-1) finished the game. striking out ten batters in four innings. He allowed the winning runs on two infield hits, a bizarre no-call on an interference at home when a runner tried to pull the ball from the Ducks catcher’s glove, and a seeing eye single to right. The Warriors battled and deserve credit for working out of several jams, including an inning-ending double play with runners on first and third in the bottom of the seventh.
South Oakland hit well but left 12 runners on, 8 in scoring position. In the fifth inning. The Ducks had two runners thrown out at third base on hits, and also made five errors.
- We have 3 losses by a total of 4 runs.
- It is still early, but we’ve dropped a few that could come back to hurt us in the seeding later in the year. Who knows. Big picture we’re fine, but we need to stop finding ways to lose these games before we fall too far out of the race for a bye.
- I don’t think we can keep hitting this bad with guys on base, some of that will regress to the mean over the course of the year. Maybe it’s an approach thing.
South Oakland plays next on Monday night, 8pm at Herschel Park vs the first place Devils
Gameday 4: Ducks vs Warriors2023 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball
South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (1-2)
Plum Warriors (2-3)
South Oakland and Plum both have a chance to get back to .500 tonight in Spring Hill. South Oakland is well rested coming off a rain out over the weekend while Plum will play its third game in three days. If tonight’s game comes down to bullpen depth, the Ducks should have the edge.
Tonight’s game is a rematch of the 2003 championship, which the Ducks won 9-8 or something. That contest saw the Warriors (then the Piranhas) field a lineup with several active college players including their starting pitcher who we did not see during the regular season. The roster rules were more relaxed then. The Ducks held off a late rally and won the inaugural Pittsburgh NABA championship as the five seed in the six team league.
The Warriors, led by all time stolen base leader, Justin Newman, have won 3 of 4 Single A titles and were forced to finally move up. They seem to be acclimating themselves fairly well with a handful of close wins scattered between lopsided losses. Tonight should be another exciting matchup. I like our chances playing at home with a rested pitching staff.
Bad News for the Warriors
Ducks Lose. South Oakland 3, Butler 4Uncategorized
South Oakland (0-2) lost its second one-run game after allowing three unearned runs in the third inning in Cranberry Sunday afternoon. Brandon Blackstone (L, 0-1) was the hard luck loser for the Ducks, pitching six strong innings and giving his team a chance to win.
South Oakland jumped out to a three-run lead on TJ Morgan’s second inning, three-run single to right center. The Buccos capitalized on a couple Ducks errors, two infield hits, and a bizarre botched run-down play in the bottom of the third. They took a 4-3 lead, and the Ducks would not recover.
South Oakland’a next game is Tuesday night at home vs Keystone Oaks.
Ducks Lose: Cranberry 2, Ducks 1Uncategorized
Cranberry starting pitcher Jake Stumpf (W, 1-0) threw six innings and allowed one run as Cranberry beat South Oakland 2-1 in Spring Hill last night.
Ducks starter Randy Patton (L, 0-1) held Cranberry to one earned run over 5 innings. Cranberry scored on a walk, wild pitch, and two infield hits in the first, then scratched across another run later in the game. South Oakland pulled within one on Anthony DeFillipo’s sixth inning solo home run, but a late rally came up short when a base running error by the Ducks left fielder led to a game ending double play with runners on second and third.
Overall, this was a tough pitching draw on a cold night on opening day. I think we will be fine.
South Oakland plays next on Friday at Hershel Park against D2.
Gameday 1: Ducks vs Cranberry2023 South Oakland Ducks
South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (0-0)
The 2022 Finalist South Oakland Ducks open their season at home tonight vs. Cranberry. Cranberry always plays South Oakland tough, and tonight should be no different despite a tumultuous offseason for Cranberry which led to significant turnover for the team from Butler County.
The Ducks welcome back some familiar faces this season, sparking a non-controversy over stealing players that ignited an argument in the preseason league meetings. We will return pretty much the same roster with a few additions. We hope to win more games in the regular season this year so we don’t have to win six straight playoff games in the losers bracket to get to the finals again. We should be in the mix late, but there are some great teams in our division. Lets have a look.
Off-Season Happenings Around the League
Bandidos steal Bulldogs manager from Bulldogs, improve uniforms. Eric and John Friend are being fined for player tampering after engaging in premature negotiations with former Bulldogs manager, and occasional Ducks tournament player, Colin “Cups” Dougherty while he was still under contract with himself to play for the Bulldogs. Gregg Friend was quoted, “I don’t know what my family is doing.”
Pittsburgh D2 added mercurial slugger and perennial MVP candidate Luke Gapinski [sic] from Sheraden. This addition brings a solid middle of the lineup bat, and makes a great pitching staff even better. I’m sure they will all get along just fine.
Speaking of the Jays, after their waiver requests were denied, along with their initial attempt to play in A, they decided to play in AAA with three active college players on their roster rather than stay in AA with one active college player. When asked for comment, the jays manager said, “SCARED!” Stunning lack of accountability.
Speaking of college players, the Eagles are off to an 0-2 start. They stayed in AA after winning the title, but supposedly had to cut two of their ringers. But at least they have last year’s MVP who was probably the fifth most valuable player on his own team and maybe the fourth best catcher in AA. I guess he got on base a lot for the Point Park kids. The Eagles will be good again this year, but our catcher is better.
Speaking of the Devils, I think they will surprise some teams this year. Or maybe they will continue their slow, steady decline since their 2019 title. In a parallel universe, they would still have Luke and that guy from Carrick and they would fight everyone and then be forced to move to the Daily News League due to a brawl in the stands or an on-field stabbing.
Tonight’s opponent, Cranberry, saw half their roster leave and form a new team, the Butler Buccos. There is still a non-zero chance both Cranberry teams fold, though I imagine they will both pull it together and play .500 ball this summer. Butler will probably be good, but they don’t have a field permit yet. They have one of the worst nickname and uniform combos I’ve ever seen in an adult sports league. It’s offensive. Though they only narrowly edge the Warriors for worst uniforms.
Speaking of the Warriors, they cheat. The have a storied history of questionable roster moves in the playoffs. They get away with it because no one will call out other teams on having illegal players until the game is over, which is not how the rule works. The only team I’ve seen successfully challenge an illegal player is the Warriors, who did it last year in the Single A Finals against the Lions who were super pissed. Be ready to ask for IDs.
I’m not writing about Keystone Oaks in protest of their 6:15 weekday time slot. I may be forgetting a team entirely. If so, I’m sorry.
This is our 20th anniversary season. I’ve been a Duck for 20 years. Our youngest rostered player is 19. I am humbled to play another season with and against much more accomplished players than myself. This is an unforgiving game, and I’m happy I can still contribute at 42.
We have a couple question marks with Tony and Casen on the shelf with arm injuries to start the season, but we have contingency plans in case they can’t get on the field. Hopefully they heal up by June and get their 7 games in before playoffs.
I think we will be motivated this season after coming so close last year. If we get some bounces, we could make another deep run. We have pitching depth and a solid lineup.
Bad News for Everyone.
The Ducks Managerial PreviewUncategorized
The Ducks look to have a strong year. We almost broke out championship drought in ’22, and we look to keep the momentum.
The Pitching Staff
Pitching wise we lost one of our starters that came on late, in true MLB like fashion. We acquired two arms at the deadline, and one decided to return to his previous team in Free Agency. These things happen, South Oakland (Spring Hill) isn’t for everyone. Another deadline acquisition is currently rehabbing a shoulder issue, and we hope to have him back sometime during the season.
We return possible Ducks all time innings leader Randy Patton. Randy had a great year last year. As our only regular returning starter, he racked up innings early, while he was backed up by the Emerging JZ. These two locked it down until our acquisitions were made. The icing on the starting pitcher cake is the return of Billy and Brandon, after their ‘one-year contracts’ with the Jays expired, they decided to Return to the friendly confines of Spring hill. Our bullpen returns Liam, Sorosky, JZ, Wild thing, and the youngster of the group, Luke.
The *probably not*
Looking at our pitching staff we may be able to spread out innings, which is something that has never actually happened since I took over. I like to believe that we will be able to keep a healthy and rested pitching staff through the season, but let’s be realistic, that never works out.
NABA AA will still have to deal with me behind the plate, until the guys, or more likely my knees, tell me that its time to move on to some other position. I have at least one, if not three guys who can catch this year as well, so technically…. Actually never mind, technically nothing. Barring double headers, I am hoping to catch every game this year.
We are deep at first base, and with an average team age of somewhere in the mid-thirties, we should be. With Flip, Brandt, and 55 the rest of us should not have to put that oven mitt on. The rest of us being, Jimmy, Gwin, Lombardi, and myself.
Liam and Dimas keep second base pretty locked down both in the field and at the plate. These two got us through the season last year, and hopefully it works out again. I would prefer to not put someone like myself at second base again this year.
Kenny will lock down the hot corner for us. I am excited to see him diving around and making plays again this year. We have multiple guys who can back him up at the hot corner, whether it be myself, Lombo, JZ, or one of our many ‘Utility’ guys.
Great question…. I put a call into Correa’s agent, but payment by cold IC light after the game was not enough to sway him from that Twins contact, his loss. To start the year, we will have shortstop by committee, and hopefully that isn’t our status for the whole season.
Swaugdawg is returning to lock down centerfield, Ben and Lombo are healthy, being our veteran leaders out there. Jimmy and Dwill will get innings as well as we rotate through. JZ, who may be the first player other than myself mentioned three times, is also in the mix for some outfield work.
TJ is one of the best hitters in the league. Good luck dealing with his bat. He also could platoon at first or in the outfield, and he even got some innings on the mound last year, fingers crossed that neither of us pitch this year, and Dimas too, actually.
Overall I think we are in a good spot, to have 22 guys registered by this time of the year is something that I have previously dreamt of. We have two people starting the season on the IL, Tony and Casen, hopefully neither injury is season or career ending. We do have a few unknowns, especially at shortstop, but hopefully that will figure itself out. After last year, having what felt like 150 unknowns I’ll take it. Going into my seventh season wearing the Green and Gold I am hopeful that I will have to find a place to put the League trophy. This bunch deserves a championship after the heartbreak last year, and I am hopeful we rectify that loss. Maybe I am bullish because we don’t have as many questions as last year, but then again, maybe I am spot on in thinking we should be one of the favorites. Only time will tell.
Well… It’s taken me a long time to get around to making the time to write our team awards. The way this season ended was tough, and honestly it still doesn’t sit right with me. This year was the closest I have personally ever been to a season championship, and we were literally right there. I still don’t have the right words to explain it.
Looking back on this season I am sure it will be one of my favorites in memory, it went from me wondering if we were going to win five games to literally the final game of the year. We were far from a complete team, after we lost most of our pitching staff in the off season we were left with Randy, and then hope. We had guys that we were going to have to rely on, and they all kept it together until the reinforcements arrived. Zuzak, as it turns out, pretty good on the mound, gritty. Our version of Wild Thing, Cody Quinn, showed us why he was one of our best waiver pickups ever, going out there and being Nasty. Alongside our veterans, we had an ace up our sleeve and we didn’t even know it, Luke Hudic. I will put Luke in at the end of any game, and be confident in the result, you cannot ask for much more than that. After our thin and let’s be honest, rough start, and some hard work by General Manager Ben Gwin, we added two arms, both Former BIG OIL products, Casen Wolinsky, and a couple weeks later Zach Gift. Adding two guys like that, was a jolt this team needed. Now we could balance our innings out instead of having Guys probably set their personal innings records. If we don’t add those two on the pitching side, who knows where we end up, but its not in the championship game I can tell you that.
Pitcher of the year is probably the toughest award that I have to decide on, and really its two fold.
Mr Consistency, Randy Patton is one of the only reasons we had a team after our terrible start.
Then our version of a defibrillator was Casen. I am going to do something that I normally don’t, and put a new award out there.
Pitcher of the Year: Randy Patton
New duck of the year, Pitching: Casen Wolinsky
This team looked a lot different early in the Year, with some departing faces and new additions, I honestly thought we were going to be able to score the amount of runs that we needed to support the pitching staff that we had at the beginning of the year. A new Utility man, Jimmy Murray, who is literally, Fast as Fuck, was an ignition switch for us this year, Jimmy started the year as a utility man and due to injuries found himself in the outfield nearly every games. Jimmy made things happen this year and adding guys like that gives me hope that the Ducks have at least another ten-fifteen years in this league. Our other New Addition Duck is the Swaugdawg himself Alex Swauger. A smooth lefty swing, good at bats, and a plus outfielder. Sign that guy up. Alex could have cemented himself in the lineup with either the bat or the glove, but both just really put an exclamation point on things. Definitely our quiet new comer, but a ball player. With these two dudes joining the ducks, we are in business.
By team group chat coin toss, New comer of the year: Jimmy Murray
With a big win leading off the year against our so called Defectors, I thought that things were looking up, 5 runs against the leagues version of Nasty Nestor, shoot we are in business… We weren’t, at all. We were getting crushed in game two, down nine early, and we rallied back, bringing a sure blowout loss to the team that we would probably consider our rivals, at least in my tenure, The devils, to losing 15-11. Seems bad, but honestly, I figured shoot outs would be the name of the game for us this year. Including that game, we lost the next five in a row, two of those being series losses, 1-6 chasing two series is not somewhere that you want to be. We ripped off four in a row, and lost three of the next four. Then, on a Friday night, General manager Ben Gwin enters the chat again, with a hopeful text to a former Duck, Anthony DeFilippo. I had been playing against Flip in the DNL and watch him tear our pitchers apart. Best strategy for us, get the guy out before Flip, so you could pitch carefully. Adding another true ballplayer, who happened to be tied for 4th on the team in RBIs, was huge for us. Another Duck Full of Grit. To the guys who managed to hold our full lineup under 5 runs, cheers, that’s a feat in and of itself.
Comeback player of the year: Anthony Defilippo
Our Defensive MVP was another Comeback player of the year candidate, because without him holding down the short stop position, we wouldn’t have been in a good spot. Its tough to say a lot about Tony that the blog readers don’t already know, but I am going to try. They say if you are solid up the middle, you will win baseball games, and with Tony at Short, you can chalk it up to solid. Tony always put up good at bats when we needed them or made some bonkers play to stop a rally. One position that I never had to wonder if someone else would do it better was Shortstop. The type of player who will sit there and tell you he is hurting, doesn’t know what he’s going to be able to give, then make a diving play and throw a piss missile across the hill to get the guy out at first.
Offensive player of the year is probably the toughest award on this team. We are STACKED. For me, it comes down to Two of the most tenured Ducks on the team, Ben Gwin and TJ Morgan. Ben is one of the most consistent baseball players I’ve been around, the Duck original who is still trying to get better at the plate year in and year out. TJ is one of the best hitters I have played with, throw him a fastball, dude smokes it, oh, down 0-2, just flip it over the short stops head. Consistency is key, and these two guys put out the most consistent at bats on the team, always helping with any decision that needs made, and always willing to move aside to get guys time. I can’t say enough good things.
I don’t want to pick one, so I won’t, We have Co-offensive MVPs
Our Team MVP this year is Alex Swauger. Great on defense, great at the plate, literally someone that I could consider for any one of the awards that he would be eligible for. I mentioned Alex earlier, but honestly, the compliments could keep going. Alex is one of the smoothest players on our team, makes things look effortless. Another addition that we would be lost without.
I hate doing awards, not only does it mean the season is really over, I feel like I am snubbing people. This team is a sum of its parts, literally, until we all were showing up regularly, we were dog shit. I have two second baseman that I can easily put in the lineup, the only problem I run into is when they both show up and I have figure out who to put in the lineup, but thankfully, Dimas and Liam are both very positive team first guys, and I don’t know how we fare without them. A few years ago we lost a third baseman that we were worried about replacing, then Kenny Shows up, locks down third, and hits the ball hard as fuck, another Naba legend, and another guy that I am not taking out of the lineup. Mark Lombardi is out in the outfield, making plays, gunning guys out, and when he walks up to the plate, the other team is getting worried. DWill is another sweet lefty swing, just a ballplayer who is another team guy, I am always glad to put him in the lineup because he’s going to come through when we need it. Because of all of the tools we have, our bench is super deep. Sorosky is a true utility guy, we could put him anywhere and he will put in a solid at bat at any time. Brandt is someone I can put in the lineup at any time and know that he’s going to put in the effort and put up a great at bat. Someone I should have utilized more in the playoffs because somehow, some way, Brandt gets a hit when we need a hit. This is one of the best baseball teams I have ever played on. We have tons of good ballplayers and good guys. I can’t wait until the season starts again.
I think I am going to do a team vote from now on, see who the team feels the best player is. I am glad to have a group of guys that continues to put up with me managing, and plugging myself in every day. I love playing with the Ducks, this season was both the most rewarding and most stressful of my managing career so far. I appreciate each and every one of you, we might have a little bit of a different look next year. But lets go get that championship that should have been ours this year. We might be one of the oldest teams in the league, but I truly believe we are the best team in the league.
Ducks Lose. Season OverUncategorized
The Ducks lost to the South Side Eagles 11-10 in game three of the AA Pittsburgh NABA Championship series last night in West End. South Oakland led 2-0 until the Eagles tied it in the third. The Eagles jumped out to a 5-2 lead after four. The Ducks scored seven in the sixth to take a 9-5 lead, but the Eagles tied the game in the bottom half of the inning. The Ducks took a 10-9 lead in the top of the seventh, but could not hold the lead. Randy Patton was the tough luck loser on the mound for South Oakland, allowing the last two unearned runs of the game.
The Eagles won their first title in three tries, losing to in the Single A finals in 2010 or 2011 to either the Devils or Warriors, and to the Bandidos in the Noonan Wedding Series of 2017. This was the Ducks second, second-place finish (lost to Elliot 2-1 in 2011).
Congrats to the Eagles. They had a great regular season and they have a talented roster. I’m glad a legacy team won it, if we didn’t. South Side has been around since 2005 and this is their first title. Good job.
My head says this is the second best way to finish a season, but my heart says it’s the worst.
We had no pitching until Bret Miller and the Oilers sent us Casen and Zach who each won two playoff games for us. We pulled Ducks legend Anthony DeFilippo out of retirement at the deadline. We struggled with attendance problems most of the year and limped in to the playoffs with a 10-14 record.
Going into the tournament, we felt like we could play with anyone, but we had a low seed and a tough draw. We were a long shot. Our odds got worse when we wound up in the losers bracket, but we battled. We had an objectively great post-season run that came up short. I’m gutted.
Neither team wanted to win last night. We gave them a three run lead, they gave it right back, and then we gave it back again. Even after all that, we were up one in the bottom of the seventh. Randy got ground balls from their first two batters. In the last inning, the umpires definitely missed one call, maybe two, but we shouldn’t have been in that position. They might have missed a couple earlier in the game. We should know the umps are going to be bad. They were bad all season.
I really thought we had it when we knocked that hard throwing lefty out of the game. We made too many mistakes at the wrong times. We let it get away from us. It was an ugly game. I’m sad we lost, and that I couldn’t do more to help us win.
Our big missed opportunity was game 1. We didn’t hit well after a week off, and we wasted a great start by Cody Quinn. We could have won at home. The atmosphere at game 2, and throughout the playoffs was awesome.
We went 12 seasons between championship appearances. I will play until I can’t, but I don’t think I have 12 more productive seasons left. None of us thought we’d make it to the finals in mid May, but to get here and then lose in such a heart breaking fashion is a different pain. It hurts because we might not get a better shot. It’s not just the sadness but the vacuum created by the joy that would have been. There’s nothing to fill it.
Still, it was the best playoff run I’ve been a part of since we dropped down a division. It was the most fun I’ve had playing baseball probably since 2003. Even in 2010, it was more relief when we won than joy.
Even now, I’m an optimist. A bunch of old guys and castoffs faced a first-place team led by a group of active college players and we took them to the wire.
I’m proud of the way we played in the playoffs. I’m also proud of the way our guys filled roles and didn’t complain about playing time. Everyone just wanted to win. Everyone was playing hurt and playing hard. Team chemistry is better than it has been in years. We aren’t washed quite yet.
We will be back next year and ready to go for our 20th anniversary season. Maybe we’ll get a jersey patch or something. That would be cool.
Thanks for reading, and sorry about the low quality and frequency of the blog this year.