South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (0-0)
East Pittsburgh Piranhas (0-0)
The Ducks enter their nineteenth season with title aspirations, again. At the very least, South Oakland figures to be in contention down the stretch. There are a lot of variables during the regular season that can prevent a team from getting a bye, or force a team into a bad draw. Over the last few years, we’ve had terrible post season luck. We’ve also run into some buzzsaw pitchers. We’ve lost to better teams, worse teams and teams that were just as good as us after having several relatively successful regular seasons since we moved down from what is now AAA in 2014. Hopefully things fall our way this year.
It’s already been a wild start to the 2021 season with Herschel Park serving as the venue for a near brawl and a suspended game due to the lights shutting off during the Devils/Grizzlies and Cranberry/D2 games respectively. Incidents like this were much more common in the league’s early days.
In 2003, The Ducks won the inaugural championship vs. the Pittsburgh Piranhas (later the Warriors). Their logo looked like the one below. South Oakland’s team was me and my college friends from Pitt. We played high school and legion ball, along with a few guys who probably never played above JV or rec leagues. On that night, Piranhas manager Craig Boley must have been short on guys so he brought in a bunch of ringers. We faced a team of college players that night, including their starting pitcher who played at Waynesburg.
Boley was commissioner at the time, and umped most of the regular season games, so we didn’t really have anyone to whom we could report roster violations. Adding to the mystique, the championship game was supposed to happen a week earlier, and was “rained out” on a night where John Herb Field was immaculate, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We took infield and then I got a call that the game was rescheduled. We came back the next Monday, under the lights for the first time in years, and we won. We rolled on a team full of college players hand picked by the commissioner. We won 9-6. Then we were kicked out of Hemingways.
There are probably players on this Piranhas team that weren’t born when our team was founded. It’s a fitting opener. The oldest team against the newest team that bares the name of another original 6 squad. Hopefully the weather cooperates. Our veteran roster and young pitching staff had a season to gel, and we’re ready to go.
Bad news for the Piranhas.