South Oakland came from behind to defeat Keystone Oaks 8-7 in Elliot Sunday night behind a strong start from Zach Gift and timely hitting.
Trailing 1-0, South Oakland scored 4 runs in the bottom of the third. With the Ducks clinging to a 5-4 lead in the sixth, Anthony Defillipo hit a two-run double to right-center, driving in what turned out to be much needed insurance runs.
Gift struck out seven over six innings and left in the seventh with a two run lead and a runner on first. Relief pitcher Luke Hudic (W,1-0), loaded the bases with two hit batters then struck out the next two. With two outs and two strikes on the batter, Keystone Oaks tied the game on a two-run error on a shallow fly ball to right. Hudic struck out the next batter.
MVP candidate Alex Swauger led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk and advanced to third on an errant pick-off attempt. After an infield hit by TJ Morgan, Keystone Oaks walked catcher Tom Pulice to load the bases with no outs for Kenny Rayl. Rayl drew a four-pitch walk to end the game.
Morgan: 3-for-4, 2 RBI
DeFillipo: 1-for-3, 2B, 3RBI
Dillon Williams and Tony Casale each went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
This was a big win in an elimination game, after giving up a late lead. Everyone contributed.
South Oakland plays next on Friday night vs. the Bandidos. Time and field tbd, but likely Mellon Park. It will be the first playoff matchup between these two teams.
Casen Wolinsky (W, 1-0) pitched a complete game and the Ducks advanced to face Cranberry tomorrow in Cranberry.
In the second inning, South Oakland infielder Anthony DeFilippo drove in the game’s first two runs on his first of two doubles; DeFilippo scored later in the inning on Tony Casale’s ground-rule double into the ravine in right field.
The Ducks put the game out of reach in the fifth inning when third baseman Kenny Rayl hit a three-run home run to give South Oakland a commanding 7-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, D2’s three hitter was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. His replacement struck out swinging to end the game.
DeFilippo, Casale, Alex Swauger, Tom Pulice, Ben Gwin, and Jimmy Murray hit doubles for South Oakland. Eleven different Ducks reached base safely.
South Oakland plays today (Saturday) at Graham Park at 5pm.
We have some momentum and should feel confident as we move on to the second round.
The Ducks travel to Elliot tonight to take on D2 in the first round of the 2022 Pittsburgh NABA playoffs. South Oakland lost a heart breaker to D2 in the 2019 playoffs in a game that spanned two locations after the lights went out at Herschel Park. Both teams are confident the lights will stay on for the duration of the game this evening.
On the other side of the asymmetrical bracket, the Piranhas have already forfeited to the Devils. This gives the Devils a big advantage in the second round, and affects the losers bracket game as well. The loser of the 7/6 matchup (I think) will face a team that didn’t have to use an arm against the loser of Devils, Piranhas game to advance.
The last time a team folded before the playoffs, the Ducks were the two-seed and played D2 after they advanced without having to play now-defunct, West View. The Ducks then lost in the aforementioned two-field game, and then were eliminated by eventual finalist Bauerstown.
This year was frustrating for many reasons. We lost fourteen games, some by a lot, others on the last at-bat. We didn’t have a functional rotation until mid-June, and we struggled with attendance issues the whole summer. I don’t think we’ve had all our starters and pitching in the same game this year. What bodes well for us is we will have all our players for the playoffs. We won’t have any excuses.
We can make up for a mediocre regular season with one more winning streak, but we have to get through tonight first. We will face a tough pitcher and a solid team in D2 that has had a lot of post-season success. On paper, it looks like it should be a low-scoring game. If we can scratch a couple across early and play with a lead, we have a good shot. We will be ready to go tonight.
Kenny Rayl hit a one out, walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh to give the Ducks a 7-6 win over the first place Eagles last night in Spring Hill. South Oakland starting pitcher Randy Patton (W, 7-3) scattered 11 hits and 5 walks over 7 innings, and held the league’s top scoring offense in check. The win was Patton’s fifth complete game of the season.
The Ducks never trailed. They got off to a 3-0 lead in the first and lead 6-3 after five. The Eagles clawed back into the game, scoring 2 in the sixth and 1 in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, Tony Casale and TJ Morgan singled. After a creative double steal attempt, the Ducks had runners on first and third with one out for Rayl who lined a single up the middle for the game winning RBI.
The victory stopped a three-game slide that included a walk-off loss to NABA legend Zach King and the Bandidos on Thursday and a 15-0, three-inning mercy rule loss to the Eagles last Sunday.
The Ducks appear to be locked in to a first round matchup with D2 in the 6/7 game. Despite a frustrating, sub .500 regular season, spirits are high as the playoffs approach.
South Oakland wraps up the regular season on Sunday, 12:30pm at Herschel Park vs the Eagles.
South Oakland erased an 8-1, 5th inning Devils lead to comeback and win on a John Zuzak walk-off, bases loaded walk last night in Spring Hill. Randy Patton (W, 6-3) pitched a complete game and Tony Casale recorded four hits for the Ducks.
The Devils took an early lead thanks in part to four Ducks errors in the top of the second, and the game appeared to be headed towards another Devils blowout. South Hills lead 6-0 after two innings. The Ducks scored a run in the third to pull within five, but the Devils scored two in the top of the fourth to take a seven-run lead.
South Oakland scored four in the fifth and four in the seventh, highlighted by doubles from Tom Pulice and Kenny Rayl. South Hills committed several errors late in the game. The Ducks loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, chasing Devils starter Brandon Bouchard (L, 5-4). Three straight singles and a walk ended the game.
This was the second time this season the Ducks have come from behind in the seventh inning to win.
South Oakland avoided being swept by the Devils for the first time in team history.
It seems like we’ve been on the cusp of disaster a few times this year, and we’ve managed to pull ourselves back from the edge. Obviously it’s better to avoid those situations completely, but it’s not that type of season. This was a messy game, but a gutsy comeback after the Devils beat us decisively on Thursday.
South Oakland plays next on Thursday against Keystone Oaks in the dreaded 6:15 pm time slot at Duquesne Field.
Brandon Bouchard threw a complete game, and Scott Rush hit a second-inning grand slam to lead the Devils past the Ducks. The Ducks starting pitcher allowed 7 runs in the first two innings on four walks and three HBP scattered around two singles and a grand slam. South Oakland was not able to overcome the early deficit.
Ducks pitcher Cody Quinn threw well relief, holding the Devils to two runs over six innings.
The Ducks next game is Tuesday, July 5th, 8:30 pm at Springview Field vs the Devils.