Prior to the game, the baseball gods gave a gift to the visiting Duckzzz, and placed a duck pond in two separate locations… the visiting on deck circle, and bullpen. Many a duck showed up early to play in the fresh water of the freshly made ponds. They sported slick new hats (tops in the league, kudos to Ben), 15 new players on a 23-man roster (their smallest in 8 years!!!) and took a spirited pre-game (although not as polished as when the Commish ran their show in April).
The Duckzz sported a revamped roster, with 7 of their 10 batters new to the team, and 4 of them formerly of the 23-1 Owlz of 2009. Similarly, the Bulldogs took the field with 5 new players in their staring lineup, recruiting 2 LaRoche, and 1 Fairmont State player, while stealing 2 players from the 2010 PSL Dodgeball Champion Red Rockets.
This game also marked the largest gathering of Pittsburgh Blues on one field, with the Duckzzz rostering 4 players, and the Bulldogs 3.
one Bulldog can only do so much to help out a little duck. Feeling sheepish, this little duck challenged BJ to a wager on the game. Neither the terms of the bet, nor the bet itself, were known to anyone besides the Duck and BJ before the game.
At the pregame meeting, Bulldogs manager Vinny Gala and Ducks manager Ben Gwin had a moment of silence for their friend Greg Wittmer, who has been in and out of the hospital with kidney problems and was unable to attend the game. It has caused Wittmer to stop drinking for at least 5 out of 7 days each week, and limit himself to only 6-8 beers per sitting.
Adam Philip sat the new-look Duckzzz down in order in the top of the first. Joe Graff led off with a 2-strike single back through the box off Duckzzz starter Rob Baumgartel. After two outs, Matt Dugovich stole second before Vinny Gala walked. With two aboard, Jarrod Harris laced a ball to left that was caught for the final out.
Philip yielded only a two-out single to Brendan Scoscia in the top of the 2nd. In the bottom, the Bulldogs would score the only runs they would need. George Nehay led off with a walk, and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Jeff Trojan doubled and scored the eventual winning run on a Justin Meyers ground out.
In the fourth, the Bulldogs struck again. Trojan led off with a single followed by a Meyers walk. Rankin came to bat with runners on first and second.
BJ Rankin was leading off first, and was picked off by the Duckzzz. Gwin, who was playing first base, did not feel the out was enough, and beat him in the face with the ball until his tooth cracked and his face was bloodied from a gash on his lip, and stripped him of his game pants right on the field (!). First base coach Dan Morgan leveled his book-club mate Gwin with the copy of Crime and Punishment his carries in his pocket at all times. The fans starting throwing batteries, and the players broke out in an all out brawl as the police….
Sorry, was dreaming as I typed there. Everything after the first sentence of that last paragraph didn’t really happen. Except that part about the Gwin and Morgan being book club buddies.
Graff drove in Meyers for the fourth Bulldog run. Rankin would later need stitches to repair his lip after Gwin’s tag, but remained at the game for a reason unbeknown to the players in attendance.
Defensively, Joey Braunlich, Schuyler Shaeffer, and Meyers would enter the game for the Bulldogs in the fifth. Schuyler was wearing a unique T-shirt Saturday.
Not as impressed now, are you? Yes, that is Brian Strom pictured. Strom was in attendance at the game, but rendered unable to play after a night of tequila shots with a Professor of Spanish and lap dances at a fine local gentleman’s club (editor’s note: only two-thirds of that last statement is true – we will let you figure which fact is false).
The Bulldogs would add a run in the fifth before the Duckzzz finally got on the board in the 6th. BJs Lipp (not his first name, but kinda ironic) walked, stole second and later scored the Duckzzz only run on an RBI single by Tony Casale.
After the game, there was many good handshakes and warm embraces of mutual respect. These are two teams who have been around for awhile, and have developed friendships along the way. They each have played a role in shaping the Pittsburgh NABA as teams, and by members serving in administrative roles. There were seven NABA administrators, six active, between the two teams. They look forward to playing again.
Thanks to Ben Gwin for honoring his side of the gentleman’s wager and allowing us to post the write-up. He is a tough competitor, and a good friend.
Even the potty trained duck was duck enough to honor his pre-game wager.