Ducks Lose: Eagles 9, South Oakland 7

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland (0-1) dropped their opener 9-7 to the South Side Eagles (1-1) last night at Springview Field.

The Ducks allowed 5 unearned runs in the first three innings. The Ducks trailed 5-0 going into the fourth before scoring 4 on a bases loaded walk by Lombardi and a two-out three run triple by Clark.

South Oakland rallied and took a 7-6 on a John Zuzak single, and lead in the bottom of the seventh. But again the team committed costly errors, and there were also some walks. Our reliever almost worked out of a bases loaded no-out jam, but a double play ball with one out was misplayed that could have ended the game and then there was a viscous hop on a grounder to first that scored two runs, and hit our first baseman in the neck, I think.

  • Good fight after going down early
  • We looked like a team that took a lot of BP this winter
  • Pitching was good overall, especially Randy
  • We should rake the field I guess before our next home game
  • We made an incredible number of errors with two outs
  • Good to have the pressure of going undefeated off our backs
  • Don’t want to peak too early
  • Great base running tonight
  • We will get back at it Saturday in Shaler vs West View
  • Thanks to all the fans who came out. That was the most people we’ve had in attendance probably ever

 

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Gameday 1: Ducks vs Eagles

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

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

vs

South Side Eagles (0-1)

9pm

Springview Field

South Oakland opens its the season tonight at the Duck Pond vs the winless South Side Eagles. I think there are six teams that have a legit chance to win the title this season, including the Eagles and Ducks. South Oakland will start last year’s workhorse, Randy Patton who earned the victory over the Eagles in the playoffs last year. The Eagles will have their full pitching staff at their disposal after a week off between their opening day loss to BIG OIL. It should be a good game.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the Ducks blog. I’m a novelist and professional writer, and I’ve been giving this content away for a decade. Thank you to the five of you who still read it. I’ll feature some greatest hits from the blog this season.

Historical notes

This will be the Ducks seventeenth season in the Pittsburgh NABA. The Eagles were an early expansion team, starting in 2005 when Whittaker and Jesse Jones starred for them. South Side used to beat us even though they had a lefty shortstop for a while there. South Oakland’s best lefty shortstop was Rob Swanger, who played the position for a few games in the pre-TC Jones era of 2005-06. I wish Rob would’ve been able to stick around for the revival. He wanted to win as much as anyone.

My favorite photoshop of all time. NBD, we just have grey uni’s and are called the Rebels

Above is Ray Finkle and the Rebels winning the ’07 title, lead by Jesse Jones, former Eagle. That Rebels team also had Matt Daulton, the first former minor leaguer in league history, I believe. They were an off-shoot of the Black Sox, one of several Black Sox splinter groups that formed over the years. Ex Sock, Dan Stell, who maybe hates me, played on that team. He left when they folded to join the Militia with Tremel. That Militia team featured a bunch of current Ducks.

Every off season, I look for pitching, and usually I just draft guys. This year we had a bunch of pitchers come our way, and how many of those guys pan out will likely dictate how our season goes. I think they are all high floor high ceiling guys, compared to the one kid who blew his arm out in his first outing in 2015, effectively ending that season and forcing Doc to pitch pretty much every game. That season the Eagles knocked us out of the playoffs. Never turn away pitching.

We also needed to get younger.

So we added a few arms that will hopefully hold up and a couple guys from the Express, another Black Sox off-shoot that folded last season. We will see how it all plays out.

 

Since the end of the first Fago era, I’ve tried to strike a balance between doing as much as I can to make the team better vs. fucking over guys who have been here for years. The best way to strike a balance was to bring back an old friend who played in South Oakland for years, and will make us better. Here’s to the second Fago era in South Oakland.

Bad News for the Eagles

Double A Schedule Released. Ducks Open at Home vs. Eagles on 4/24

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

The schedule is up.

South Oakland plays next Wed night at Spring Hill and the following Saturday afternoon in Shaler vs. West View in a terrific field/team combo for game two.

All the Double A games have been rained out so far.

The defending champion Oilers play the Eagles tonight pending field conditions.

quack

 

 

2019 Pittsburgh NABA AA Season Preview

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

Everyone register on the league site if you haven’t yet.

The league meetings have come and gone. We didn’t draft anyone for the first time in a while. Our roster is pretty set. As always, we will need a few pitchers to step up if we’re going to win a title. Hopefully that happens. Our lineup is solid. We should put up runs. Theoretically, we have the arms to win the division. It so often happens that the roster moves I try to make, are enough to win the year before but other teams do more, and then we have some bad luck and finish 3rd again. So who knows. I haven’t been this excited for a season since 2009.

We will split our home games between Spring Hill and West Field on Wednesday nights, except for 4th of July week which will probably be a Monday night home game. The first couple weeks of the schedule should be up in the next day or so, with the full schedule set to be released in a week.

AA has been the most competitive division top to bottom since the split, and I don’t see that changing. It’s fun. There are probably 6 teams with a legit shot this year.

I’ve ben thinking about how great it is that this league still has a few teams with shitty fans and angry non-player coaches, and how much more fun that makes the season. It’d get boring if we just played teams like Cranberry a bunch of times. The personalities make it fun. We need villains. The commissioner might not agree with me on this point.

  • The Devils are probably the early favorite
  • Cranberry is my sleeper pick. I bet they win 15 games this year.
  • The Oilers are still in AA, and might finish below .500 for the first time in a while. Classic letdown season after a title. That said, they’re probably flying in prospects as I write this.
  • Bandidos, Eagles, Grizzlies will all be tough
  • West View is going to field a team again after folding before last year’s playoffs. They should just merge with Sheraden.
  • The Warriors went back to Single A, and took their 6pm time slot with them.
  • RIP Express. Good luck in the DNL?
  • I’ll miss playing at Volunteer. We had a bunch of good games there, and I liked hitting in that park. Half that team were great guys.

Quack

 

 

 

Off-Season Updates

2019 South Oakland Ducks

We’re coming up on our sixteenth season. Last year we finished in third place after a deep playoff run that came up short. South Oakland fared well in the Capital City Classic last October, finishing with a record of 2-2, after advancing to the semis where we lost 17-14 to Steve’s Sports, basically the Cleveland equivalent of St. John’s. In his last game as a Duck, DJ Dover went 4-5, 3R HR, 2B, 5RBI. In what was a microcosm of Dover’s time in South Oakland, we hit well enough to win, and ran out of pitching. Tony Casale and Tom Pulice also hit doubles in the game and played well over the weekend. Cody Quinn pitched five scoreless innings on the first day of the tournament to help us advance. It was fun.

Our offseason started with losing the 2017 MVP

Dover showed up every game ready to play. He drove from Erie the last 2 seasons. Over the last decade and a half, I’ve come to value dependability as much as talent. There’s nothing worse than scrambling for guys the day before a game. Having a core group who can make almost all of the games, and at least give me a heads up in advance if they’re going to miss a game makes a huge difference. When the most dependable guys are also some of your best players, it’s even better. Thank you, DJ.

The offseason continued with Ducks catcher, Tom Pulice, winning the 2018 MVP Award. Congrats, Tom. Well deserved.

We also added the 2008 MVP, James Fago. His addition lead me to update a photoshop (below) for the first time in years.

After a couple seasons with the Black Sox and another year soul searching in New York, Fago will return to the Ducks for the 2019 season. So will his brother, Colton. After a summer off, they should be well rested and ready help bolster the pitching staff and lineup.

We’ve also been in talks with Tom’s friend Steve. He’s supposed to come pitch for us after a strong showing in Columbus which included vomiting outside an abandoned gas station on the ride home.

The rest of our starters are returning. We will once again roster a veteran team. If our pitching works out, we should be competitive.

That’s about it so far. Winter meetings usually start the week before the Super Bowl.

I’ve also changed the pond of retired numbers to a ring of honor, since we don’t really retire numbers.

Quack.

 

 

Ducks Set to Play in Capital City Classic

2018 South Oakland Ducks, pittsburgh NABA

Hello to the Ohio teams googling us. We are looking forward to a fun weekend of baseball, October 13/14 in Columbus at the Capital City Classic. I think we will be competitive. We won two games last year before getting smoked in the playoffs by the Columbus Pirates. We have the Pirates again in pool play, and then two other Ohio teams: The Ohio Hooligans and the Inca Chiefs. I feel like last year there were more teams from places other than Ohio in the 25+ group.

Several Ducks and a handful of other guys from around the league make up our tournament team. It is basically the same as last year. Hopefully we win a couple games and get to Sunday.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

2018 Team Awards

Uncategorized

Pitcher of the Year: Randy Patton

Defensive Player of the Year: Tony Casale

Co-Offensive Players of the Year: TJ Morgan/Joe Graff

Most Valuable Player: Tom Pulice

We are hoping to enter a team in the 2018 Capital City Classic in Columbus Ohio. It was a good time last year.

Thanks to everyone who still reads the blog, and thanks to everyone who made it possible for me to play a fifteenth season with this team. It means a lot to me.

quack

Ducks Knocked Off by Grizzlies in Loser’s Bracket Finals

2018 South Oakland Ducks, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

After a dramatic, ten-inning walk-off, 7-6 win against the Devils, South Oakland lost 11-2 with a shot at the championship on the line. It was a very frustrating way to go out after the team fought hard to win three straight playoff games. South Oakland finished 16-12 (combined regular season and playoff record).

I messed up the pitching vs. the Grizzlies. I should have gone right to Patton and gotten what innings we could out of him, instead of trying to hold him out until the last 3. The game was out of hand by then, so it didn’t do us any good.

A couple errors and some early base running mistakes when the game was still close, let it get away from us. But as the manager, I take the blame for not making what was a pretty obvious decision. I don’t think anyone expected the relief appearance to go quite as bad as it did for the second pitcher in the game for us, but still, we had Randy on two days rest and I should have just put him in then. It might not have mattered, but still. If we hold Bauerstown to 2 or three that inning, instead of five, the whole feel of it changes, and we are at least more engaged. It was really deflating.

That loss certainly takes the shine off what was an amazing game in the quarter final. That was easily one of the best games in Ducks history. Ten-inning walk off win with like four lead changes. I’ll remember the Devils game for the rest of my life. That may sound corny as fuck, but it was great.

The Oiler’s game was the one we needed, the first round game that we lost 2-1. If we take that one, we can maybe sneak through to the winner’s bracket final and at least not have to play a double header, but who knows. We’re dealing with alternate reality shit now. Maybe we lose our next two if we beat the Oilers in game one.

Three wins in the playoffs is our best season in a while. We finished better than 10 other teams.

This was a really hard year for me in a lot of ways outside of baseball, and then when running the Ducks got to be another source of stress instead of a way to blow off steam and play a game I love with my friends, it really fucked me up. I was very close to quitting a few times this season, and maybe that showed in my play or my decision making, but I tried to give us a chance to win every game, while still getting everyone at bats and some time in the field. That is how I will always run this team. I will always put the long term survival of the team first.

The reason I dropped down from AAA in 2013 was because it wasn’t fun anymore. There were a lot of times it wasn’t fun at all this season. But I’ll keep running the team because I don’t know what I’d do between April and August otherwise. This team has been a part of my life for fifteen seasons, and I think we have another run left in us with this core. The window might be closing, but there’s reason for optimism.

quack

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 9, Eagles 2

Uncategorized

South Oakland (2-1) advanced to the loser’s bracket semifinals with a 9-2 upset win over the South Side Eagles last night in Moon.

The lights went out for like 15 minutes, then came back on. The Ducks opened the scoring with a 4-run fourth. The Eagles made it 4-2 in the bottom half of the inning, but the Ducks piled on, scoring two in the fifth, two in the sixth, and one in the seventh.

Randy Patton pitched six strong innings, and Andy Nichols faced four batters in the seventh to end the Eagles season.

Big contributions on offense from Paul Cucco, Derek Clark, TJ Morgan, Joe Graff, Tom Pulice, Brian Strom and Ben Sorosky.

We turned three double plays, which was great.

Good job everyone.

South Oakland plays the winner of the Bandidos/Devils game, Sunday, 3pm at Moon Park.

Quack

 

Playoff Gameday 3: #5 Ducks at #3 Eagles

2018 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

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

at

South Side Eagles

8:30PM

Moon Park

After defeating the Carrick Express 7-2 last Sunday, the Ducks travel to Moon Park tonight to take on the third-seeded Eagles for a chance to advance to the loser’s bracket semifinals.

South Oakland won the season series 2-0, but they also swept the Oilers this season, who knocked off the Ducks in the opening round of the playoffs.

I think the Eagles were missing some guys the first couple times we played them. This should be a tough game between two good teams.

Win or go home. This is an exciting time of year. Hopefully our run will continue with a win tonight.

Bad News for the Eagles