Ducks & Friends: South Oakland wins two in Capital City Tournament

2017 South Oakland Ducks, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Here’s the Bandidos blog preview. Solid work there as always.

Tournament Recap

Game 1:

The Ducks defeated the Detroit Giants 7-3 behind a 103-pitch, 10 strikeout complete game from pitcher Colin Dougherty (Bulldogs). The Ducks trailed 2-0 going into the bottom of the fifth when Culp drove in Tuomisto with an RBI single. In the sixth Detroit added an unearned run to make the score 3-1.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Ducks sent 8 men to the plate. Casale lead off with a double, Eric Friend was hit by a pitch and after ground balls to the right side by Dover and A. Ciccone (Oilers) the Ducks were within one. Tuomisto was hit by a pitch and Levire (Wolfpack) gave South Oakland the lead with a 2-run double to left.

After Dougherty struck out the side in the top of the seventh, the Ducks scored three more runs when Eric Friend (Bandidos) tripled home Gallagher (Bandidos), Dover doubled in Friend, and A. Ciccone singled home Dover.

Dougherty retired the last ten batters he faced, including one guy he picked off.

Game 2:

After driving across town, the Ducks faced Tri-Cities (Cleveland) in the second game of pool play, and won 8-6 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

South Oakland received another great performance on the mound, this time from the Bandidos ace, Ryan Gallagher. The Ducks scored six runs in the first two innings, chasing the opposing starter. G. Friend had an RBI hit-by-pitch in the second.

There was a sweet strike em out throw em out double play in the game by Gallagher, Leviere and Casale.

The Ducks scored two mote in the fifth on a Toumisto double and singles by Z. Ciccone (Oilers), Culp and Gwin.

Casey Thompson (Oilers) doubled later in the game.

Tri-Cities scored four in the bottom of the ninth, but South Oakland held on for the win.

Due to a last-minute cancellation by Chicago, the tournament only had 9 teams, so after all teams played two games on day 1, they were seeded 1-8 for a one-game elimination round before the semis.

The Ducks kept the game close through five, but a six run sixth, lead to an 11-1 loss to the host team Columbus Pirates.

We got screwed out of at least one game by the Chicago team dropping out, but if I pulled Gallagher after 8 in game 2, instead of trying to save pitching, maybe we don’t allow those 4 runs, and we would have been seeded 2nd going into Day 2, and faced Tri-Cities again instead of a stacked Pirates team with home field advantage.

Also of note, the only team that knew all the scores of all the teams was the Columbus coach who also ran the tournament. Someone has to put up a website for this thing.

The fields were fantastic. If Pittsburgh were to host a tournament, I don’t know where we’d even have games.

Overall, it was a fun experience and I plan on putting a team in again next year.

Thanks to everyone from other teams who filled out the roster. Especially the Ciccones and Friends for their recruiting efforts.

We represented our league well for all but one inning. Kind of like a Ducks game. Next year, we add a couple pieces, avoid that one inning and this tournament is winnable.

Tournament MVPs

Zach Ciccone: 7 for 10, 3 RBI, SB, R

Colin Dougherty: W, CG, 9 IP, 10 K, HBP

 

 

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Team Awards

2017 South Oakland Ducks, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

The Bandidos won the title, after having split from the AAA Dirty Birds of 2016. Now they will move up again. Maybe they will just fold and split again instead? They’ve done an awful lot of branding to go that route. But maybe they’ll become the Astros. Winter meetings should be interesting. They are deserving champions and from what I can tell a bunch of solid guys. The top seeded Eagles lost after a pretty dominant regular season. The Oilers and Ducks were both upset early. 11th seeded D2 was in the semifinals. I wish they would have won it, and gone from A to AAA in two years.

Those first couple Wednesdays when we don’t have a game are always tough. This was a frustrating year for the format to go to single elimination. We had too much time off, I guess, and lost to a hot Express team who almost upset the Bandidos in the semis.

Next year, I’m going to reschedule a rainout for the week prior to the playoffs so we don’t have this problem again.

After another fun season, we once again fell short. We should return most of the same guys next year. Hopefully we can add an arm or two. It was frustrating to have Ben Sorosky and Randy step up, only to have guys who pitched well for us last year not show up to a lot of games for various reasons.

Here are the team awards.

Pitcher of the year: Ben Sorosky 

After not throwing for a few seasons, he came back and gave us solid innings every Wednesday. He was a great teammate and good clubhouse presence. Also had many sweet sacrifice bunts.

Defensive player of the year: Tom Pulice

Tony is probably the best defensive shortstop in the league, but I can’t give him this award every season, plus he was hurt for a while.

Tom came in and was arguably our MVP. Teams didn’t run on us this year, and he handled the pitching staff well.

Co-Offensive players of the year: TJ Morgan and Mark Lombardi

Check their stats. They both raked. We had a good of a 3-7 in the order as we ever had.

MVP: DJ Dover

Dover had possibly the most impressive single season I’ve seen as a Duck. He broke the single season HR record, lead the league in RBI and, and got pitched around a lot towards the end of the year. Bakery Square is not upset they didn’t have to face him in the playoffs. Dover also played short when Casale was out and provided serviceable defense there. Not lost in all this is that he drove from Erie every game and made all but two games when we had guys who wouldn’t show up for seemingly no reason. Also ran BP before every game for those who could make it.

For next year, we need pitching. We offer excellent run support and a home field with shitty lights where it’s hard to hit.

I think next year, we should plan on entering a tournament because it will be fun to take the show on the road and maybe bring some ringers along.

I want to thank all the fans who came out and everyone else in the league for making this year happen. Joe Graff for running the league and dealing with all the bullshit. Thanks to everyone who read the blog.

Finally, I want to thank my teammates for giving me another year to play ball. For a singles hitting hustle guy to play on a team full of former college players, albeit old ones, is pretty great. I’m happy I can contribute. As long as I can run out there in center, I’ll keep managing this team.

Quack

 

Season Over: Express 7, Ducks 5

2017 South Oakland Ducks

We made one error, and made some phenomenal plays in the field, especially Jon Moore at third base and a couple nice double play turns. In the end we still allowed 7 runs, and couldn’t hit our way out of it. True to form, we had the go-ahead run at the plate when we ran out of gas.

Patton pitched a solid 5 innings, allowing 4 runs. We were up 3-1 going into the fifth, when the Express scored 3. Sorosky got nicked for 3 in the sixth on an error, a few bleeders and then a double down the line on a hanging changeup. Moore pitched a perfect seventh.

The Express hit well. The last time we had this pitching matchup between these two teams, we won 9-1. We were up 3-1 most of the game, but couldn’t break it open after a three-run first and Heineke (sp) settled in for Carrick. We couldn’t handle his splitter.

Five games over .500 was one of our best regular season records as a team. Since 2014, this team has been a lot of fun, and it’s always shitty when it ends short of a title, because we’ve been right there all but one of the last four years. This one hurts wore than any of the last few seasons.

We haven’t have a true ace who could take over a game and strike out fifteen guys since Fago left when the team split. All our pitchers are solid ground ball pitchers, but sometimes ground balls get through. Hats off to Carrick. As I’ve said before, they are definitely better than their regular season record indicates. They have the pitching depth to get through a series if they keep hitting. We got a shitty draw, and an underrated, overachieving team in our elimination game and some of that is just bad luck.

So we have Carrick vs. Bandidos on one side, and upstart D2 vs. the Eagles on the other side of the bracket. Not what most would have expected.

This was an emotional loss for myself, and a couple guys who have been around the league for a while. This might have been TJ Morgan’s last game, pending a potential move east, and if it was his last game, there will be a proper send off on the blog, and our first number retirement of a post-Fago era Duck.

Speaking of which, maybe the Black Sox will finally fold, and we can bring a few former Ducks back to the flock next season. Double A is pretty fun, guys, if you’re reading. Probably more fun than going 5-16, which is no knock on anyone.

I really thought we had a good shot at it this season, and for it to end after one playoff game stings. Next year it will be the same core guys who put up 156 runs in 23 games, with the same resilience, and hopefully just a few games better in the regular season so we can avoid the one and done situation.

I’ll have a brief season recap at some point and team awards in the next week or so.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Playoff Gameday 1: Ducks vs Express

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA

(3) South Oakland Ducks of the North Side

vs

(6) Carrick Express

3pm

Moon Park

South Oakland looks to advance to the semifinals with a win over Carrick today in Moon. The winner will play the winner of the Cranberry / Bandidos game at 5pm in game one of the semifinals.

Their game was supposed to be played on Saturday, but was probably rained out. Not sure how that rescheduling effort is gonna work out.

So far the #11 seed Devils have upset the #4 Oilers, the Express eliminated West View with a commanding 11-1 win, and Cranberry knocked out Wexford in a 3-1 thriller. On the other side of the bracket, Bauerstown and D2 were rained out.

This season has been long and full of rain, and weird games. I think we mostly played to our potential this year. A few frustrating losses.

Every off season, I talk with the coaching staff about what we need to do to get better, and how we can take the next step to win a championship while still keeping the core group together and not just cutting off the bottom third of our roster.

For a lot of years, it’s felt like I would make moves and add guys based on what it would’ve taken to win in the previous season, only to see the other teams make bigger moves, and we’ve mostly been one or two guys short.

Our lineup is fine, we have ten guys who hit over .300 this year, 13 with an OBP over .400. Dover is probably the league MVP this year, and any other year it would likely be Lombardi with the numbers he’s put up.

Pitching will be what decides this post season. Will he have the guys there to eat up the innings and throw strikes? Will we make the routine plays on defense, and not run into outs on the base paths?

Carrick is going to have momentum coming into this game and will be playing with a lot of confidence. It would be great to get out to an early lead.

All I can ask for as a player and a manager going into a season is a chance to be in every game, and to have a shot at winning a title. We are right there, we’ve been waiting for the playoffs all season, and we have a great opportunity to advance to the semis. This season has been a lot of fun, we have a great group of guys, and I am not ready for it to end.

Bad News for the Express

 

Ducks Lose. Ducks 2, Eagles 5

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Recap

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side lost the regular season finale, 5-2 to South Side at Herschel Park on Sunday. The Eagles lead 2-0 going into the top of the fifth when the Ducks scored a run on an Andy Nichols hit to shallow right, which the Eagles second baseman made a great play on to knock down. Nichols beat the throw to first and Mike Brandt appeared to beat the throw to the plate when he attempted to score from second on the play, but he was called out. Tough call there. It would’ve tied it with the middle of our order coming up, but whatever. We didn’t hit very well as a team today, so it might not have mattered.

The Eagles added three in the bottom half of the inning off the Ducks bullpen. The Ducks added a run in the sixth, but left some guys on base.

We made a few errors that lead to one Eagles run, and two walks to start the fifth lead to two runs.

The Eagles starter was really tough. We were short a couple key guys in our lineup, and their pitcher hit spots all day. Tough loss, but the Eagles earned it. They made all the plays.

Congrats to the Eagles on a great year. I think they are the top seed, but it may depend on what the Bandidos do vs. West View tonight.

Hopefully we see them in the finals or semifinals. I think it would be a great series. If anything, it will be tough to beat us five times in one season.

Dover went 2-3 with a double and a run

Gwin and Brandt were hit by pitches

Koshzow had an RBI double, Nichols had an RBI single

Heisler was the tough luck loser, going 4 innings allowing 1ER

 

Gameday 23: Ducks at Eagles

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side

vs.

South Side Eagles

12pm

Herschel Park

South Oakland looks to win their third straight game today vs. South Side.

This game features the two best hitting teams in the league. This is also a matchup of potential MVP candidates as Dover (24) and Noonan (21) will vie for the RBI title. I know counting stats are somewhat meaningless, but both of those guys are on Hack Wilson-esque paces. Ducks outfielder Mark Lombardi is also in the MVP conversation along with a bunch of other Eagles. I need to start padding our stats more. We also should have league awards.

Here’s a link to a site some guy on Cranberry created. 

It has all the playoff probabilities for each team. I think it’s lagging behind the league site in games played, but it’s pretty great.

This season went fast, like it always does. Let’s play hard and enjoy this one before the playoffs get here and I start chain smoking and pacing in the dugout. Our record against the top four teams isn’t great (2-3-1), and we don’t want to get swept by these guys. A win today would do us some good going into the post-season, even if we are pretty much locked in to the 3 seed.

Bad News for the Eagles

 

Lost Scooter, Acid Flashbacks, and Roster Expansion

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

After losing out yet again on a division title with a tough loss to the Eagles last week and ceding the Brendan Chartier Memorial Spring Hill Scooter to the rival Oilers, South Oakland rebounded and won two games by a combined score of 25-4.

Friday, 7/7

Ducks 2, Oilers 5: I don’t know what happened here. We were short 6 starters and played the Oilers tough for seven innings before losing to that lefty again. Vinny Casal reached base 3 times, recording 2 HBP, and one walk. TJ Morgan, who is quietly putting together a spectacular season at the plate, went 1-2 with a HBP, and I think an RBI. I was on vacation. My bad, guys.

Wednesday, 7/12

Ducks 12, Wexford 4: South Oakland trailed 3-1 after two innings, but sent ten batters to the plate in the third, scoring 6 and the Sorcerers never really threatened after that. Dover went 2-for-2 with a sac fly and a walk. Sorosky pitched five innings for the W, and John Zuzak pitched two solid innings in relief, with 4Ks in his second appearance on the mound this season. Chris Heisler went 0-2 with a HBP.

Note: Sorosky pinch hit for a Ducks outfielder after what was an apparent mild acid flashback in the middle of an at bat. This year, we’ve had a pitcher and a pinch hitter enter a game in the middle of an at bat, both times due to injury.

Friday 7/14

Ducks 13, Devils 0: DJ Dover went 2-for-2 with two doubles, 2 intentional walks, and 5 RBI.

We called up the Camello brothers from the Single A Mariners to pitch, and they shut down South Hills, both of them had a hit as well. If the Mariners ever fold, they would look good in green and gold.

Ducks Shortstop Tony Casale almost completed and an Ozzie Smith-esque diving stop/barrel roll throw for a put out, but the Devils runner beat out the throw by a step. The Casale brothers turned a sweet double play up the middle. Lots of brothers in this game. It would have been great if Chuck showed up. John Zuzak, drove in a run with a bases loaded walk in the fourth, and added an RBI single in the fifth.

Joe Graff played an inning at shortstop, and an inning at third base. He has played every position this season. Matt Swetz went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.

South Oakland’s next game is Sunday,12pm at Herschel Park vs. the Eagles

quack

 

Birds of Prey. Ducks 5, Eagles 8

2017 South Oakland Ducks

Despite a late comeback, South Oakland dropped a heart breaker to the first place Eagles last night in Spring Hill. The game was 3-2 heading into the fourth. The Eagles added two runs, and then another three in the top of the seventh.

We had several hard hit outs, including a couple double plays that ended rallies. I bet that guy they pitched dominates a lot of teams.

The early innings featured a play in which two Ducks runners went back to first and second after being moved up to second and third on a sac bunt by Ducks all time sac bunt leader, Ben Sorosky.

Then there was a single to left, and we had a runner forced out at third when the Eagles left fielder made a heads up play to deke our runner into thinking he was going to catch the ball.

If we don’t move back to first and second, that scores a run and we probably have runners on first and second with one out. The umpires were not very authoritative in their calls all night and didn’t really signal anything on the bunt attempt, but we still should have stayed on the bases until we were told to go back. I’ve never seen anything like it.

That play didn’t lose us the game. We were sloppy all night in the field. We had good enough pitching to win. I don’t think there is a way to coach guys out of mental mistakes at this age. We just have to be better with situational stuff. I don’t think we walked many guys.

So this one is tough, but we battled back. This team fights to the end every game.

We scored three runs with two outs in the seventh and chased their starter, and had the bases loaded and one of our best hitters up, but after two questionable called strikes he went down swinging on a ball out of the zone.

The plate ump was suspect all night for both sides, and naturally we’re going to be more pissed about it after a loss. The zone definitely got bigger as the night went on, and that was frustrating.

The Eagles are a good team, and we can’t give away outs and expect to beat them.

On the bright side, I think we had a pretty good approach at the plate. Jon Moore , DJ Dover and Andy Nichols each had two hits. I don’t have the book, so I’m not sure of any more specifics.

I think a best of three series against South Side in the playoffs would be great baseball.

To reiterate, we need to make the plays in the field and be smarter on the bases.

Sorosky and Strom are running the show on Friday and Saturday.

We play Friday 7pm, at Mellon Park vs the Oilers and Saturday, 3pm at Herschel vs. the Devils.

quack

Gameday 19: Ducks vs. Eagles

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (11-5-2)

vs

South Side Eagles (12-4-1)

9pm

Springview Field

 

Both teams are rested and ready to go after the holiday weekend. We lost a tough game to the Eagles, 5-4 early in the season, but both teams should be better tonight. I expect another close one. The Bandidos keep winning at the top of the standings, but I feel they are due for a tie in some kind of weather or electrical failure in their last few games.

We can move into second place with a win and keep our hopes for a division title alive. I’ve already written too much about the importance of this game in yesterday’s post. So here’s the Dude:

Bad News for the Eagles