Ducks Lose. Season Over.

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South Oakland lost to the Grizzlies 3-2 in 8 innings last night in Munhall. Bauerstown overcame an early 2-run deficit by scoring two unearned runs to force extra innings then in the eighth, their five hitter doubled on a ball that should have been caught to drive in the go-ahead run.

The Grizzlies pitcher was very good. He threw a complete game and worked out of several jams. Mullen went six for the Ducks and gave the team a chance to win. Fago (L, 0-1) pitched the seventh and eighth. The Ducks made two errors, but they happened in the same inning. Also left a lot of guys on base.

This is the second year in a row the Grizzlies have eliminated the Ducks.

Both Ducks postseason losses were in extra innings.

Feels like we left a few wins out there this season. I really thought we had a chance at it.

I’ll post team awards later in the week. We might have fall ball, but we’re still working on logistics.

The Ducks will travel to Columbus again in October to play in the Capital City Classic. We may have a surprise in store for Steve Sports this year.

I want to thank everyone who made this season possible. All my teammates, especially. Biggest thank you to Joe Graff for running the league and giving me a chance to continue playing baseball at 38. I had a good first half of one Legion season in the 90s. I have no business playing alongside players this good. I don’t know how else I’d spend my summer, and I am incredibly grateful.

This was my last season as manager. 2018 MVP Tom Pulice will be running the show next year. I’ll help out with administrative stuff and get him acclimated, but I don’t have the time or the mental energy to spend managing anymore. It’s tough.

I’m also getting to the point, or at least close, where I don’t feel I can pencil myself into the lineup everyday and give us the best chance to win. I think if arguably our best player is managing, he can at least play himself every game and it won’t be an issue. I don’t want to have to make the call on whether I should be out there or not, and have guys pissed I’m playing myself and costing us games. I think it’s getting close to where I can’t get a lot of playing time on a team that can win a championship.

I think the worst spot to be in, in an adult league is to be like the 10th or 11th bat on a team. The last guy on the bench knows he’s the last guy on the bench, but being on the cusp is brutal. I tried to set the team up so I could be that guy. Be a good pinch runner, defensive replacement, pinch hitter type. Fill in when guys aren’t there, because everyone is never there at the same time. I’m fine with having a small role on a good team, even if it’s a rec team in the middle tier of a middle tier men’s league. It’s ok. I love the game. I love bp and practice, and I wish I had time to do more of it. I’m sure I will miss making lineups at work on Wednesdays.

More than anything I want this team to win, with this core group. I think we’ve got another run left, but I know I said this three years ago, too.

I want to play until there’s someone on the team who wasn’t born when the Ducks were founded, which will be possible in a couple years. Now I’ll probably blow my knee out getting out of bed tomorrow. I will stop when I can’t run anymore, or if the team folds for other reasons, but I think it’s in good hands.

I really thought we had the arms to do it this year. I think we had the most depth, but depth can lose to a top heavy team with good pitching. That’s definitely what happened in the first round. We also made a bunch of errors, and we are usually better defensively.

I think we might have some turnover in the off season, but I hope everyone comes back.

Thanks again, everyone.

Thanks for reading.

Quack.

 

Ducks Lose: Face Elimination vs Grizzlies Tonight

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland lost to D2, 8-4, in the opening round of the playoffs last night in West View. The game was suspended in the top of the 8th when the lights went out at Herschel Park on Saturday night. The Ducks committed six errors, and wasted a good starting pitching performance by Randy Patton.

South Oakland recorded four hits in the fourth inning and didn’t score a run. Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the Ducks tied the game on two, bases loaded walks.

D2 scored two unearned runs in the top of the eighth. The ump missed a call when Maldonado doubled off a runner at first, but the guy was called safe. They hit some singles. There was an error on a pickoff attempt. It was a mess. Then the lights went out.

The game resumed yesterday and D2 scored two more runs.

Our defense and base running let us down. Their pitcher threw well.

This was a bad game.

Tonight the Ducks take on the Bauerstown Grizzlies. 9pm at West Field.

Bad news for the Grizzlies.

Playoff Gameday 1: Ducks vs D2

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (16-8)

vs

Pittsburgh D2 (8-15)

8pm

Herschel Park

South Oakland opens the playoffs against Pittsburgh D2 tonight in Elliot. The last remaining original five team, the Ducks are in search of their third title in team history. D2, I think, won the Single A title a few years back. D2 took two of three from the Ducks this season, but South Oakland won the last meeting 4-0 to clinch the 2-seed in the tournament. Hopefully this is the first of many games on the way to a title, but it’s a deep field this year, and there are no easy teams. This is probably the most evenly matched 2 vs 7 game in recent memory.

I don’t know what to expect tonight. We will probably get the kid that shut us down twice already this season. If we win today, we’re guaranteed to at least extend the season a week. A loss would set up a win or go home match tomorrow night against the loser of the Jays Grizzlies game. Pitching wise are built for a deep playoff run, but D2 has a lot of good arms too. This will be a close game tonight. We are the home team but playing at D2’s field due to West Field being used for AAU tournaments or something. We have a veteran team, and I think we can draw on that experience tonight.

Bad news for D2

Pre-Playoffs Pittsburgh NABA Round-Up

2019 South Oakland Ducks, NABA, pittsburgh NABA

Ducks Regular Season Recap

Overall we had a solid year. We won and lost a few close, low-scoring games. The losses to the Eagles and D2 are frustrating, but that happens. Everyone in AA has at least one good arm who is capable of shutting down a team, and we weren’t able to overcome that a few times this year. Records aside, there aren’t any easy teams to beat this year.

Our pitching and defense were statistically the best in AA. 65 runs allowed is a good number. We set team records for single-season shutouts, saves, and runs allowed.

We usually put up more runs, but I think we faced a lot of teams number one pitchers, and we also ran into a few junk ballers who kept us off balance. Typically, we do better against fast pitching, but that’s not exactly a secret. So bring on your crafty lefties in the playoffs. Hopefully we can adjust.

We also had a few guys who took a year off last year who didn’t round into form until late in the year. I also batted eleven guys more this year than in the past, which took some at bats away from the guys at the top and the middle of the lineup. I probably cost us at least one win here, but I got everyone at least 2 at bats per game on average, which I feel is giving everyone their money’s worth while still trying to win.

16 wins is good. I’m a believer in the last ten games being the best indicator of how a team is playing, and we have won nine of them. Hopefully the time off is good for us and we don’t lose any momentum going into Saturday. D2 has a shitty record, and a bad run differential, but they beat us twice and we had a tough time against a couple of their pitchers.

Around the Pittsburgh NABA

In approximate order of news-worthyness..

Here’s a link to the Cranberry Crusaders’ website. Solid work over there. It’s much more fun to write recaps when you’re winning. I assume Andy will post something inflammatory before the playoffs start. Keep an eye out for that bulletin board material. It’s interesting to read through their posts from this year and see the tone shift from cautiously optimistic to confident. Congrats to Cranberry on a good season.

The Wolfpack literally quit this season. What a joke. West View folding for the second straight year hurt us this time, as we don’t get a team coming off a play-in game. They should be voted down to single A, and forced to add free agents to their roster to avoid folding for a third straight year.

The Bandidos and Eagles, 2017 finalists, both have a bad record. It won’t surprise me if either team goes on a run in the playoffs. They are battle tested.

The Oilers are absolutely not cheating. I swear.

Jays had a run-in with Cranberry this year, and I think they used the resulting suspensions as motivation to put together a decent season.

Grizzlies won ten straight to start the year, and have since faltered. We had a 3% chance of taking over second place after we lost to D2 in July, but after that game, we won out, and the Grizzlies went 1-5 or something. Sleeping giant though. I think most teams want to avoid them in the post-season. They have some great pitching.

The Devils are probably better than their record, which isn’t that bad to begin with. I thought they would be in Cranberry’s position now.

Up In AAA

The AAA mangers meeting might be an eventful one, as the Tropics are probably cheating. Shocking, I know. No stats entered for them all season. The only advantage that could possibly give them is a way around minimum games played if no one wants to take the time to challenge them. It creates a situation where everyone is forced to either do a lot of work or not question any of their players eligibility and probably let them play ineligible players. I don’t think the league would be worse off without them.

Our league has always erred on the side of letting players play. Whether it’s giving teams extra time to get money in, letting teams enter the league late, or putting the burden of proof on the team that is challenging player eligibility. I don’t agree with all the decisions that are made by the commish, but I’ve never questioned his integrity or his intention. The intention has always been to grow the league, and give as many people as possible the chance to play baseball. Most of the issues that arise are due to teams taking advantage of that sentiment.

I’m grateful for another regular season. Thank you to everyone who has made that possible. Hopefully we will be playing until August this year. I think we have a good shot.

 

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, D2 0

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn

Box score

John Zuzak (W, 1-0) threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in his first career start to lead the Ducks to a 4-0 victory in Elliot last night. Zuzak was also 2-for-2 at the plate. Tom Pulice drove in the game winning run with a single in the first inning. Maldonado, Lombardi and Gwin were hit by D2 pitchers. The shutout was South Oakland’s fourth of the season. The Ducks (16-8) finished the season with the fewest runs allowed (65) in AA, and have won nine of their last ten games. D2 falls to 8-14 with the loss.

The Ducks will play D2 in the first round of the playoffs this Saturday.

 

Gameday 24: Ducks at Pittsburgh D2

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (15-8)

at

Pittsburgh D2 (8-14)

6:15 pm

Herschel Park

The Ducks look to avoid being swept by D2, and clinch second place tonight in Elliot. South Oakland has struggled this season against D2, losing 4-0 and 6-4 in two earlier matchups. Today’s game will determine whether the Ducks will get the 2 or 3 seed and D2 can still finish between 7 and 9 depending on tie breakers. These two teams could meet again on Saturday in the playoffs.

D2 will throw one of their seven starters, maybe the same guy who shut us down twice already this year. I don’t know if they’re trying to save arms for Saturday or what.

D2 may have based the color scheme of their new unis off the red, white, and blue team USA jerseys in D2: The Mighty Ducks. Also went with white primary color to honor the jersey change to the Anaheim home Ducks jerseys at intermission during the finals that brought the team together. I think it’s a great homage.

The Commish is on the hill for the Ducks tonight.

Bad news for D2

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 7, Bauerstown 3

2019 South Oakland Ducks, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Box Score

Tony Casale lead the way with four hits, and the back end of the Ducks rotation pitched five solid innings to help South Oakland to its fourth straight win yesterday in Shaler. Cody Quinn started and went two innings, pitching around a couple fly balls that could have been caught, and allowing one run. Ben Sorosky (W, 1-0) pitched three solid innings before James Fago converted the six-out save (7).

The Ducks took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Lombardi doubled in Casale, and Clark singled home Lombardi. Bauerstown scored in the bottom half of the inning off a double, HBP and a single.

South Oakland added two in the fifth on a walk, fielders choice and two singles. Then they added three more in the seventh on four straight hits, and an RBI double by Fago to put the game out of reach. Cody just missed going yard.

Fago’s seven saves is a single season Pittsburgh NABA record until someone tells me otherwise.

Casale for MVP.

 

The Ducks finish up the season on the road against D2, Tuesday night, 6:15 at Herschel Park.

Quack.

 

 

 

Gameday 23: Ducks at Grizzlies

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South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (14-8)

at

Bauerstown Grizzlies (14-7)

3pm

Bauerstown Field #4

 

South Oakland has a chance to clinch second place with a win over Bauerstown today in Shaler. Both teams have played a condensed schedule over the last few days. It should be a close matchup between two good teams.

Ducks Weekend Recap:

On Friday, three Ducks pitchers combined to shut out the Oilers, 1-0 with a great performance by Andy Nichols (W, 1-0) throwing four shutout innings after Colton Fago left with arm soreness. Tom Pulice drove in the winning run on a bases loaded sac fly to left in the fifth, and James Fago recorded the save (6). We had a few missed opportunities on offense in this one.

On Saturday, the Ducks beat the Jays 11-2. South Oakland scored eight runs in the first inning, lead by Mark Lobardi’s second home run of the season. Randy Patton pitched a complete game for the win (5-3).

Cranberry all but clinched the division on Saturday when they swept Bauerstown in a double header in Cranberry. Congrats to them. Those two Grizzlies losses mean we can jump them in the standings with a win.

The Ducks have won seven of eight heading into today’s game with Bauerstown. Hopefully we’re getting hot at the right time and can ride this wave into the post season. We’re pitching by committee today, but we should have the arms to get through it.

Bad news for the Grizzlies

Gameday 21: Ducks at BIG OIL

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (12-8)

at

Hebrew Oilers (13-7)

7pm

Mellon Park

South Oakland looks to sweep the season series against defending champion BIG OIL tonight in East Liberty. The Ducks and Oilers both have an outside shot at overtaking the Grizzlies (14-5), and theoretically Cranberry (13-2) could also collapse. It should be a good matchup in the latest chapter of the Ducks/Oilers rivalry.

With the WOLFPACK’s forthcoming dissolution imminent, the Oilers and Jays have to be neck and neck for most hated team in Double A. We will see the Jays on Saturday on the field with no mound, provided last night’s rain didn’t destroy it.

The odds of winning the division or getting the two seed are not in our favor. We still want a home game in the first round, and a better draw in he tournament, so our last four games are important. 

We want to go into the post season playing well. A win tonight would at least prevent the Oilers from getting the two seed, and that should be plenty of motivation. 

Bad News for BIG OIL

Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, Bauerstown 1

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Mark Lombardi drove in three runs and Matt Mullen (W, 2-0) scattered four hits over six innings to lead the Ducks past the Grizzlies last night in Munhall.

Mullen worked out of a jam in the first after a hit batter, a single, and a delayed steal put runners on second and third with two outs. Mullen got their five hitter to groundout and end the inning.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth. MVP candidate Tony Casale moved to third on Derek Clark’s single and scored on Lombardi’s sacrifice fly.

Mullen worked around a single and two hit batters in the fifth with the help of Tom Pulice who threw out a guy trying to steal second.

The Ducks left the bases loaded in the fifth.

Lombardi threw out a guy trying to stretch a single to a double in the top of the sixth, but Bauerstown clawed a run across with a single and a series of ground outs.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Ducks scored three to put the game out of reach. Casale singled to start the inning, and went first to third on Pulice’s well placed single up the middle two batters later. Maldonado, running for Pulice, took second with the infield playing up. Lombardi drove in two runs with a single to left, and took second on the throw home. Mullen drove in Lombardi for the Duck’s fourth run.

James Fago recorded his franchise record fifth save of the season.

  • Big win against a good team
  • Grizzlies employed the no doubles defense for most of the game, leading to a few 300 foot singles
  • Casale’s numbers this year are MVP worthy. He’s at least in the conversation. That guy from Cranberry and the Grizzlies guy are also good.
  • Ran out of baseballs right at the end of our last home game. Perfect timing.

South Oakland’s next game is Friday night against the Oilers, 7pm at Mellon Park