Ducks Win: South Oakland 8, North Park 0

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Brandon Blackstone (W, 2-1) pitched a complete game, one-hitter to end the Ducks five game losing streak. Tom Pulice capped a five-run fourth inning with a bases clearing, 3RBI double. The Ducks (3-6) scored one run in the third inning, and added another in the fifth and sixth.

S. Blackstone, Pulice, Gwin, and Doak hit doubles. TJ Morgan drove in a run with a bases loaded walk.

The game was scoreless for a while but the Ducks put together a big inning and got to North Hills’ starter who was effective the first two times through the order.

The Ducks start a run of three games in five days. South Oakland plays Cranberry and South Hills this weekend, followed by a Wednesday night tilt against Bakery Square.

Realignment Watch 2021

This year we will keep track of how the Senators and BIG OIL fare after moving up a division.

The Senators lost 8-0 to the South Oakland Ducks.

Record: 1-7

Runs allowed: 73

Run differential: -60

The Oilers squared off against Jefferson Hills this weekend in an all time battle of NABA heels. Jefferson Hills won 14-6.

Record: 3-4

Runs allowed: 39

Run differential -13

South Oakland plays next against Cranberry. Saturday, 5pm at Veteran’s Park of Cranberry (North Boundary Park).

Quack.

Rain Out

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Ducks vs. Grizzlies was rained out and will be rescheduled for later in the year.

South Oakland’s next game is Wednesday 6/2 vs the Senators. 9pm at SpringView Field.

Gameday 10: Ducks vs. Grizzlies

2021 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (2-6)

vs

Bauerstown Grizzlies (9-1)

9pm

SpringView Field

South Oakland looks to right the ship tonight in Spring Hill against the first place Grizzlies. The forecast is calling for rain and playoff hockey tonight.

With over a third of the season in the books, the Ducks have not met expectations. There is no way around it. However the team can still make a run at the top five, and has the pitching depth to win a series if they can get that far. Hopefully attendance improves. Right now the Ducks need to win one game against a team they lost to on the last at-bat over the weekend. It should be another exciting matchup.

Realignment Watch 2021

This year we will keep track of how the Senators and BIG OIL fare after moving up a division.

Big news last week as the Senators slow-balled the Grizzlies to death in a 3-2 victory to hand Bauerstown it’s first loss.

Record: 1-5

Runs allowed: 65

Run differential: -52

The Hebrew Oilers are adapting well to life in AAA behind solid starting pitching and defense. BIG OIL has wins against 2019 champion Ohio Valley, 2018 champion West End, and the 2016 champion Bulldogs.

Record: 3-3

Runs allowed: 25

Run differential: -5

The East Pittsburgh Piranhas also won their first game of the season against a depleted Bakery Square team.

I will take this as a victory for Trafford over Shady Side. Bakery Square is probably the worst place in the state. Since I am friends with many Bandidos, I will assume that taking the Bk Sq title is an ironic commentary against gentrification. Also, that’s where there field is.

Still, they could have rebranded as the East Liberty Angels and used these amazing uniforms:

Greg Friend commented: “We went from being the Mon Valley Dirty Birds to repping Bakery Square, which isn’t even a real place. For the record, I was against the name change, but management never listens to me.”

We’re listening, Greg.

The league is wide open this year, but we need to start winning games. The vibe in the clubhouse remains mostly positive. It’s going to be a long summer if we don’t think we have a run in us. It’s never a bad day to start a winning streak, but we have to focus on one game.

I like our chances at home tonight. We may even have our middle infielders.

Bad News for the Grizzlies

Ducks 3, Grizzlies 4. Losing streak reaches five games

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Despite turning a triple play, knocking out ten hits, and a strong start from Randy Patton, the short-handed South Oakland Ducks (2-6) lost to first place Bauerstown by a score of 4-3 in Shaler Sunday afternoon. The Grizzlies (9-1) won on a walk off sac fly. This is the second walk off loss for the Ducks this season.

I wasn’t at this game. My daughter had softball. Her team won 16-14.

We still have a lot of games left. If we improve our attendance it will allow us to take advantage of our relief pitchers, which could help us in situations like Sunday. Randy pitched well, but he should not have to face the top of their order for a third time in the seventh inning when we have guys who can come in and close out games. But we can’t pull our shortstop and put him on the mound if we don’t have someone else to play there.

It’s frustrating, but if we can get on a roll, and play well down the stretch we can still make a run. We have the pitching. We’ve lost on the last at bat to the top three teams record wise. Those games are basically a coin flip. I don’t think our record reflects our talent level, but in such a short season there isn’t as much time for the bounces to even out. All the teams in AA are really close talent wise. We have to be able to win close games.

South Oakland plays next on Wednesday night in a rematch against Bauerstown. 9pm Springview Field.

Ducks Avoid Loss

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The lights went out in the bottom of the seventh last night at Springview Field. The Ducks trailed 7-4, with one one, two out, and their three hitter up. While the win percentage for South Oakland is not great, the suspended game keeps their record at a mediocre 2-4 for the time being.

The Ducks trailed 6-0 before scoring four in the bottom of the fifth. Earlier in the game a ball hit by Tom Pulice down the third baseline was ruled foul that would have gone for a three bases after the Eagles’ left fielder accidentally kicked it out of play. It was called foul. The Eagles (5-1) added an unearned run in the top of the seventh.

The next bounce that goes our way will be the first. I’m not sure if this is bargaining, denial, or just anxiously awaiting regression to the mean. I think last year’s Bandidos who scuffled through May before making a run to the finals are a good model. We can get hot if we have more than half our infield show up.

There are 17.1 games left, and we probably have to win twelve to get into fifth place. I think it is doable.

South Oaklands next game is Sunday, 2:30 pm against the undefeated Grizzlies.

Ducks Lose. South Oakland 3, South Hills 7

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South Oakland (2-4) lost a rematch to the Devils last night 7-3. The Ducks lead 2-1 until the fifth when the Devils scored three unearned runs. South Hills (2-6) added three more unearned runs in the sixth. Billy Welsh (L, 1-2) was the tough luck loser in this one despite recording 8 strikeouts in six innings. Brandon Bouchard pitched a complete game win for the Devils, scattering 11 hits over seven innings.

The Ducks have lost three in a row, and four of five.

If we don’t turn it around quickly, this is going to be a lost season. We have recovered after bad starts in the past, so there’s precedent for putting together long winning streaks. But we’ve lost a few dependable players in the last year who always showed up ready to play, and we haven’t replaced them. We have pitching now, but we don’t have any flexibility because our bench is too short and we can’t pull guys on defense to relieve our starters. We leave a ton of guys on base. I don’t know what the answer is. I’m not usually this negative.

We need to win Wednesday. A loss puts 2-7 in play as we follow that with two against the Grizzlies. A in and we can hang around .500 at least and hope we get better attendance. No one shows up on the weekends, so we will probably lose Sunday. Maybe it will rain.

South Oakland plays the Eagles tomorrow, 9pm at Springview Field.

Gameday 6: Ducks at Devils

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South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (2-3)

at

South Hills Devils (1-6)

8:30pm

Herschel Park

The Ducks have a chance to clinch the season series vs the Devils and get back to .500 with a win tonight in West End. Tonight’s game is a rematch of last week’s classic Welsh vs Bouchard pitching matchup that the Ducks held on to win in extra innings. It should be another highly contested bout this evening.

Nearing the quarter mark of the season, we need to keep our heads above water during the tough opening part of our schedule. We can’t take any team lightly despite their record. Billy will keep it close tonight, and we are due to start hitting better with guys in scoring position. I like our chances with our ace going for us.

Bad news for the Devils

Ducks Lose. South Oakland 7, Bk Sq. 11

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A shorthanded Ducks (2-3) team rallied late but came up short against the suddenly loaded Bandidos (2-2).

With the win, Bakery square took the first game of the inaugural battle for Greg Friend’s contract. The winner fo the season series between the two teams will acquire/retain the rights to disgruntled Bakery Square outfielder/relief pitcher, Greg Friend.

G. Friend allowed two runs in the seventh inning of todays game.

South Oakland has a quick turnaround. The team looks to get back to .500 when they take on the Devils (1-6) tomorrow night at Herschel Park.

First pitch is scheduled for 8:30.

Ducks Lose: South Oakland 1, Cranberry 2

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Box Score

Cranberry Recap

The Ducks lost a heartbreaker to undefeated Cranberry, 2-1 in Spring Hill Wednesday night. South Oakland starting pitcher Brandon Blackstone (L, 1-1) gave his team a chance to win. He scattered 9 hits over 7 innings with ten strike outs in his second complete game of the season.

After Cranberry scored a run on two hits in the first, the teams traded runs in the third. Cranberry starter Andy Germani worked out of a bases loaded no-outs jam in the second. Former Hurricane, Cranberry reliever Jon Hart (W, 1-0) got out of trouble a few times in four relief innings. The game ended on a bases loaded double play.

The Ducks have benefitted from great starting pitching so far this year. Timely hitting has been a problem for a team that historically scores a lot of runs. When the bats come around, South Oakland should be tough to beat.

The Ducks’s next game is a Sunday morning hair of the dog match against the Bandidos in Bakery Square.

Sunday, 9:30am at Mellon Park.

Gameday 4: Ducks vs Cranberry

2021 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

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

vs

Cranberry (2-0-1)

9pm

Springview Field

After winning a nine-inning thriller vs South Hills on Monday, the Ducks can move into a tie for second with a win against Cranberry.

Devils Recap

Ducks 6, Devils 5 (9 inn.)

Bos Score

Billy Welsh (W, 1-1) allowed 5 hits and struck out 16 in nine innings of work. Welsh out dueled veteran Brandon Bouchard (L, 1-1) from South Hills who was lifted after surrendering 5 runs in the eighth.

South Oakland had eleven hits but couldn’t break the 1-1 tie until Mike Brandt singled home two in the ninth, followed by an RBI infield hit by Gwin that scored two runs. Lombardi added his second RBI of the game to put the Ducks ahead by five, and they would need the insurance runs. The Devils scored four in the ninth with the help of a couple walks and HBPs around singles by Rodi and Rush.

This game should have ended 2-1 in regulation. Ducks utility player/relief pitcher Ben Sorosky was safe by two steps at home on what should have ben an RBI fielders choice, but was called out to the surprise of everyone.

Cranberry

Here’s a link to the Cranberry blog. It would be great if their 8-3 extra innings win from last year wasn’t still in the “last game” section. Here’s some new art for future blogs, Andy:

Cranberry is historically a terrible matchup for us. Even in the pre-Stumpf era when they didn’t really have a short stop, and Andy’s dad was manager, we struggled to hit their pitching. We do better against pitchers who try to overpower us. This isn’t news. We need to find a way to beat them. Two years ago, they finished in first, and we were a half game behind them thanks to two one-run losses. Last year, they swept us, and if we had split that series, we might have avoided the Oilers in the semi-finals. If we had just split those games, all of which were one-run or extra inning games, we could have had a much easier draw in the playoffs.

Tonight should be a good test for both teams, if the last two years are any indication, it will come down to the last inning.

I like our chances in a tight game at home tonight.

Bad news for Cranberry