Ducks Split Back to Back Games, Face Warriors Tonight

2023 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland lost 5-1 to the first place Devils in Elliot Monday night. Four, first-inning errors led to a 4-0 deficit that the Ducks could not overcome. The rest of the game was played pretty tight. Randy Patton (L, 0-2) was the tough-luck loser despite throwing a good game, and keeping the Ducks within striking distance.

Box Score

The Ducks rebounded on Tuesday, beating Cranberry 2-1 in Spring Hill. South Oakland starter, Brandon Blackstone threw six innings of one-run ball and outdueled 2022 pitcher of the year, Jon Hart for the win. The Ducks scratched across two runs on six hits, and Luke Hudic struck out the side in the seventh for the save (1) to secure a much-needed victory.

Box Score

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (2-4)


Plum Warriors (3-5)


Springview Field

We lost 6-4 in 9 innings to the Warriors last week. It was a game we had a few chances to win, but made one too many mistakes. Tuesday’s win against arguably the best non-Duck pitcher in the league is the kind that can turn a season around, but we have to build on it. There are only two teams over .500 right now: the resurgent Devils, and the preseason favorite Bandidos. Everyone is pretty evenly matched. There is a lot of baseball left.

I like our chances at home tonight. We have Billy on the hill and Kenny Powers behind the plate.

Bad news for the Warriors


Ducks Lose: South Oakland 4, Plum 6 (9 inn.)


Box Score

The Ducks lost a heart breaker to the Plum Warriors 6-4 in extra innings last night in Spring Hill. South Oakland took a 4-3 lead in the fifth, but Plum answered with an RBI double in the 6th, chasing Ducks starter Randy Patton from the game. Patton allowed 2 ER through 5, and gave the Ducks a chance to win.

Ducks reliever Billy Welsh (L, 1-1) finished the game. striking out ten batters in four innings. He allowed the winning runs on two infield hits, a bizarre no-call on an interference at home when a runner tried to pull the ball from the Ducks catcher’s glove, and a seeing eye single to right. The Warriors battled and deserve credit for working out of several jams, including an inning-ending double play with runners on first and third in the bottom of the seventh.

South Oakland hit well but left 12 runners on, 8 in scoring position. In the fifth inning. The Ducks had two runners thrown out at third base on hits, and also made five errors.

  • We have 3 losses by a total of 4 runs.
  • It is still early, but we’ve dropped a few that could come back to hurt us in the seeding later in the year. Who knows. Big picture we’re fine, but we need to stop finding ways to lose these games before we fall too far out of the race for a bye.
  • I don’t think we can keep hitting this bad with guys on base, some of that will regress to the mean over the course of the year. Maybe it’s an approach thing.

South Oakland plays next on Monday night, 8pm at Herschel Park vs the first place Devils

Gameday 4: Ducks vs Warriors

2023 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (1-2)


Plum Warriors (2-3)

8:30 pm

Springview Field

South Oakland and Plum both have a chance to get back to .500 tonight in Spring Hill. South Oakland is well rested coming off a rain out over the weekend while Plum will play its third game in three days. If tonight’s game comes down to bullpen depth, the Ducks should have the edge.

Tonight’s game is a rematch of the 2003 championship, which the Ducks won 9-8 or something. That contest saw the Warriors (then the Piranhas) field a lineup with several active college players including their starting pitcher who we did not see during the regular season. The roster rules were more relaxed then. The Ducks held off a late rally and won the inaugural Pittsburgh NABA championship as the five seed in the six team league.

The Warriors, led by all time stolen base leader, Justin Newman, have won 3 of 4 Single A titles and were forced to finally move up. They seem to be acclimating themselves fairly well with a handful of close wins scattered between lopsided losses. Tonight should be another exciting matchup. I like our chances playing at home with a rested pitching staff.

Bad News for the Warriors

Ducks Lose. South Oakland 3, Butler 4


South Oakland (0-2) lost its second one-run game after allowing three unearned runs in the third inning in Cranberry Sunday afternoon. Brandon Blackstone (L, 0-1) was the hard luck loser for the Ducks, pitching six strong innings and giving his team a chance to win.

South Oakland jumped out to a three-run lead on TJ Morgan’s second inning, three-run single to right center. The Buccos capitalized on a couple Ducks errors, two infield hits, and a bizarre botched run-down play in the bottom of the third. They took a 4-3 lead, and the Ducks would not recover.

South Oakland’a next game is Tuesday night at home vs Keystone Oaks.

Ducks Lose: Cranberry 2, Ducks 1


Box Score

Cranberry starting pitcher Jake Stumpf (W, 1-0) threw six innings and allowed one run as Cranberry beat South Oakland 2-1 in Spring Hill last night.

Ducks starter Randy Patton (L, 0-1) held Cranberry to one earned run over 5 innings. Cranberry scored on a walk, wild pitch, and two infield hits in the first, then scratched across another run later in the game. South Oakland pulled within one on Anthony DeFillipo’s sixth inning solo home run, but a late rally came up short when a base running error by the Ducks left fielder led to a game ending double play with runners on second and third.

Overall, this was a tough pitching draw on a cold night on opening day. I think we will be fine.

South Oakland plays next on Friday at Hershel Park against D2.

Gameday 1: Ducks vs Cranberry

2023 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (0-0)


Cranberry (0-1)

8:30 pm

Springview Field

The 2022 Finalist South Oakland Ducks open their season at home tonight vs. Cranberry. Cranberry always plays South Oakland tough, and tonight should be no different despite a tumultuous offseason for Cranberry which led to significant turnover for the team from Butler County.

The Ducks welcome back some familiar faces this season, sparking a non-controversy over stealing players that ignited an argument in the preseason league meetings. We will return pretty much the same roster with a few additions. We hope to win more games in the regular season this year so we don’t have to win six straight playoff games in the losers bracket to get to the finals again. We should be in the mix late, but there are some great teams in our division. Lets have a look.

Off-Season Happenings Around the League

Bandidos steal Bulldogs manager from Bulldogs, improve uniforms. Eric and John Friend are being fined for player tampering after engaging in premature negotiations with former Bulldogs manager, and occasional Ducks tournament player, Colin “Cups” Dougherty while he was still under contract with himself to play for the Bulldogs. Gregg Friend was quoted, “I don’t know what my family is doing.”

Pittsburgh D2 added mercurial slugger and perennial MVP candidate Luke Gapinski [sic] from Sheraden. This addition brings a solid middle of the lineup bat, and makes a great pitching staff even better. I’m sure they will all get along just fine.

Speaking of the Jays, after their waiver requests were denied, along with their initial attempt to play in A, they decided to play in AAA with three active college players on their roster rather than stay in AA with one active college player. When asked for comment, the jays manager said, “SCARED!” Stunning lack of accountability.

Speaking of college players, the Eagles are off to an 0-2 start. They stayed in AA after winning the title, but supposedly had to cut two of their ringers. But at least they have last year’s MVP who was probably the fifth most valuable player on his own team and maybe the fourth best catcher in AA. I guess he got on base a lot for the Point Park kids. The Eagles will be good again this year, but our catcher is better.

Speaking of the Devils, I think they will surprise some teams this year. Or maybe they will continue their slow, steady decline since their 2019 title. In a parallel universe, they would still have Luke and that guy from Carrick and they would fight everyone and then be forced to move to the Daily News League due to a brawl in the stands or an on-field stabbing.

Tonight’s opponent, Cranberry, saw half their roster leave and form a new team, the Butler Buccos. There is still a non-zero chance both Cranberry teams fold, though I imagine they will both pull it together and play .500 ball this summer. Butler will probably be good, but they don’t have a field permit yet. They have one of the worst nickname and uniform combos I’ve ever seen in an adult sports league. It’s offensive. Though they only narrowly edge the Warriors for worst uniforms.

Speaking of the Warriors, they cheat. The have a storied history of questionable roster moves in the playoffs. They get away with it because no one will call out other teams on having illegal players until the game is over, which is not how the rule works. The only team I’ve seen successfully challenge an illegal player is the Warriors, who did it last year in the Single A Finals against the Lions who were super pissed. Be ready to ask for IDs.

I’m not writing about Keystone Oaks in protest of their 6:15 weekday time slot. I may be forgetting a team entirely. If so, I’m sorry.

This is our 20th anniversary season. I’ve been a Duck for 20 years. Our youngest rostered player is 19. I am humbled to play another season with and against much more accomplished players than myself. This is an unforgiving game, and I’m happy I can still contribute at 42.

We have a couple question marks with Tony and Casen on the shelf with arm injuries to start the season, but we have contingency plans in case they can’t get on the field. Hopefully they heal up by June and get their 7 games in before playoffs.

I think we will be motivated this season after coming so close last year. If we get some bounces, we could make another deep run. We have pitching depth and a solid lineup.

Bad News for Everyone.

Ducks Lose. Season Over


The Ducks lost to the South Side Eagles 11-10 in game three of the AA Pittsburgh NABA Championship series last night in West End. South Oakland led 2-0 until the Eagles tied it in the third. The Eagles jumped out to a 5-2 lead after four. The Ducks scored seven in the sixth to take a 9-5 lead, but the Eagles tied the game in the bottom half of the inning. The Ducks took a 10-9 lead in the top of the seventh, but could not hold the lead. Randy Patton was the tough luck loser on the mound for South Oakland, allowing the last two unearned runs of the game.

The Eagles won their first title in three tries, losing to in the Single A finals in 2010 or 2011 to either the Devils or Warriors, and to the Bandidos in the Noonan Wedding Series of 2017. This was the Ducks second, second-place finish (lost to Elliot 2-1 in 2011).

Congrats to the Eagles. They had a great regular season and they have a talented roster. I’m glad a legacy team won it, if we didn’t. South Side has been around since 2005 and this is their first title. Good job.

My head says this is the second best way to finish a season, but my heart says it’s the worst.

We had no pitching until Bret Miller and the Oilers sent us Casen and Zach who each won two playoff games for us. We pulled Ducks legend Anthony DeFilippo out of retirement at the deadline. We struggled with attendance problems most of the year and limped in to the playoffs with a 10-14 record.

Going into the tournament, we felt like we could play with anyone, but we had a low seed and a tough draw. We were a long shot. Our odds got worse when we wound up in the losers bracket, but we battled. We had an objectively great post-season run that came up short. I’m gutted.

Baseball: Montreal Expos Andre Dawson (10) in acton, making catch vs Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field Chicago, IL 9/11/1981 CREDIT: Heinz Kluetmeier (Photo by Heinz Kluetmeier /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) (Set Number: X26016 TK2 R5 F4 )

Neither team wanted to win last night. We gave them a three run lead, they gave it right back, and then we gave it back again. Even after all that, we were up one in the bottom of the seventh. Randy got ground balls from their first two batters. In the last inning, the umpires definitely missed one call, maybe two, but we shouldn’t have been in that position. They might have missed a couple earlier in the game. We should know the umps are going to be bad. They were bad all season.

I really thought we had it when we knocked that hard throwing lefty out of the game. We made too many mistakes at the wrong times. We let it get away from us. It was an ugly game. I’m sad we lost, and that I couldn’t do more to help us win.

Our big missed opportunity was game 1. We didn’t hit well after a week off, and we wasted a great start by Cody Quinn. We could have won at home. The atmosphere at game 2, and throughout the playoffs was awesome.

I’m old.

We went 12 seasons between championship appearances. I will play until I can’t, but I don’t think I have 12 more productive seasons left. None of us thought we’d make it to the finals in mid May, but to get here and then lose in such a heart breaking fashion is a different pain. It hurts because we might not get a better shot. It’s not just the sadness but the vacuum created by the joy that would have been. There’s nothing to fill it.

Still, it was the best playoff run I’ve been a part of since we dropped down a division. It was the most fun I’ve had playing baseball probably since 2003. Even in 2010, it was more relief when we won than joy.

Even now, I’m an optimist. A bunch of old guys and castoffs faced a first-place team led by a group of active college players and we took them to the wire.

I’m proud of the way we played in the playoffs. I’m also proud of the way our guys filled roles and didn’t complain about playing time. Everyone just wanted to win. Everyone was playing hurt and playing hard. Team chemistry is better than it has been in years. We aren’t washed quite yet.

We will be back next year and ready to go for our 20th anniversary season. Maybe we’ll get a jersey patch or something. That would be cool.

Thanks for reading, and sorry about the low quality and frequency of the blog this year.


Ducks Sweep Weekend, Advance to Championship Series


The South Oakland Ducks defeated the Sheraden Jays 4-3 to advance to the NABA Double A Championship Series, Sunday evening in Spring Hill. It was the Ducks third straight road win at Springview Field in three days.


TJ Morgan and Alex Swauger led the Ducks offense with three hits apiece, pacing the team to a 9-6 victory over the Bandidos. Tom Pulice had 3 RBI and Anthony DeFilippo hit a solo home run. Casen Wolinsky (W, 2-0) pitched five strong innings, and Luke Hudic recorded the two-inning save (1).


In the losers bracket semi-final, Zach Gift pitched a complete game (W, 1-0), and the Ducks scored 5 runs in the first inning to chase D2’s starter. Tom Pulice hit a solo home run in the fifth to put the game out of reach. Final score: Ducks 6, D2 2

In the losers bracket final, the Ducks came back from an early 2-0 deficit behind a strong start from Randy Patton and another save from Hudic (2). Patton (W, 1-1) allowed one earned run through six, but the Jays capitalized on two, first-inning Ducks errors. South Oakland scored one in the third, two in the fourth and one in the sixth. The Jays added a run in the bottom of the sixth on a fielder’s choice.

With the Ducks leading 4-3 in the seventh, Hudic picked off a runner for the first out after a questionable catcher’s interference call, struck out the Jays’ leadoff hitter, walked a batter, then struck out MVP candidate Luke Gapinski to end the game.

The Ducks will face the South Side Eagles in a best-of-three series for the title.


The Ducks advanced to the finals for the fourth time in team history. We beat the Piranhas in 2003 and the Black Sox in 2010. We lost to Elliot in 2011.

We are 5-1 in the playoffs with five of six games as the visiting team. Our one home game was at Herschel Park, and we played three consecutive road games at Springview, our home field.

We beat D2 twice by a combined score of 16-4. D2 beat us 10-0 when we last played them in the regular season.

Before this year, we had never played the Bandidos or Cranberry in the playoffs. We played them both this post-season: a 7-0 loss to Jon Hart at Cranberry, and a 9-6 win over the Bandidos on Friday.

After hitting zero home runs in the regular season, we have hit three in six playoff games (Rayl, Defilippo, Pulice).

Entering the tournament as the no. 7 seed, we beat the 8, 6 (twice), 5, and 2 seeds to reach the finals against the no. 1 seed South Side Eagles.

The Eagles earned a double bye in the playoffs, and beat the Bandidos and Sheraden in the winners bracket to advance to the Championship Series.

Today’s win got us back to .500 on the season (15-15).

Date and time of Game 1 of the Championship Series is tbd.

What a run.


Ducks Advance to Quarterfinals


Box Score

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.

Some stats:

  • 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.


Ducks Win. South Oakland 10, D2 2

Kenny Powers. Real American. Ducks Legend. American flag cape. Suck it.

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.

Kenny Powers on baseball field, pointing at Cranberry.

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.


Kenny Powers with bat

We have some momentum and should feel confident as we move on to the second round.

Bad News Bears team photo.

Bad news for Cranberry