The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side defeated the Bandidos by a score of 4-1 on Biscuits Day, Sunday morning in East Liberty. South Oakland started the game with 8 players, and Bakery Square was unable to capitalize.
Ducks starter Colton Fago (W, 2-2) pitched four strong innings; Ben Sorosky struck out 4 in 1 2/3 innings, and James Fago recorded the four-out save (3).
The game was played under protest due to a potential misinterpretation of a rule by the plate ump. In question was whether two base runners making contact on the base paths counts as a runner passing the baserunner ahead of him. It came up because of a wild play late in the game.
In the fifth inning, with runners on first and second, Casale doubled up the hill in center. The Bandidos centerfielder almost made the catch and then made a great relay to the plate, but the ball was dropped after the first tag was made. Initially both runners were called out, but the umps conferred and got the call right, which would have been nice last game.
I was walking back from the bathroom when this happened, and watched from the parking lot in center field. I think the protest is moot at this point. It was a really good throw and some not super base running/coaching, which has been a trend lately. We’ve veered from aggressive and smart to reckless and stupid on a few occasions.
Another weird footnote this season. The time we were almost victimized by an amazing 8-4-2 double play. That ball would have rolled forever at West Field. Or maybe Friend would have been playing deeper at West Field and it would have been caught. Who knows?
Here’s where I digress into a mid-season summary of the AA season, using Cranberry and the Bandidos as primary points of reference since we just played them both.
The Bandidos (2-11) are really struggling this season, while first place Cranberry (11-1) has been the surprise of AA. Everyone else is jumbled in the middle.
The Ducks (7-7) have lost to Cranberry twice by one run in games that came down to the last at bat. We beat the Bandidos twice, 6-4 and 4-1, two well-played close games. Cranberry beat Bakery Square 8-7 in their lone matchup this season.
Has Cranberry just gotten every bounce this year while the Bandidos have been on the wrong side of every bounce? Will there be hard core correction to the mean in the second half for both teams? Who knows. Probably not. Now we’re getting into intangibles and confidence and that stuff, while overrated in general, is certainly contagious.
I’m not sure what this means except AA is really competitive this season, and a lot of this comes down to a few plays. Random lineup decisions that come back to hurt teams, or when a couple starters are out and there’s a hole in the defense, and maybe you skate by because you have your best pitcher going or maybe you save him for the next night and that game is rained out. Cranberry has done an awesome job at minimizing bad luck. Bakery Square hasn’t, and we’ve been average at it. Weddings, work schedules, vacations, benders, rain, setting the pitching rotation and then more rain, etc. So much shit that’s unrelated to baseball impacts teams, or can, and I think dealing with it is both the most frustrating and rewarding part of managing. But there’s still so much luck involved. When we win with our B team, and guys take advantage of opportunities, it’s great. When we lose, every decision was wrong.
So is the difference between Cranberry and Bakery Square one run or 9.5 games?
So I don’t know if we’re unlucky or what, but I know we have pitching, finally, and we haven’t been able to put together enough big innings.
My conclusion: Everyone in AA has a shot to make a run in the playoffs. Except for West View.
The Ducks next game is 8pm Wednesday night at West Field vs the Devils.
Thanks to the Friends for the use of their bases for my daughter’s softball game, which she won.