Playoff Gameday 1: Ducks at D2


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


(6) Pittsburgh D2 (0-0)


Herschel Park

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.

RIP Wolfpack

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.

Bad News for D2


Ducks Win. South Oakland 7, Eagles 6


Box Score

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.


Ducks Win: South Oakland 9, South Hills 8


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.


Ducks Lose: South Oakland 1, South Hills 9


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.

Gameday 18: Ducks vs Devils


South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (8-9)


South Hills Devils (11-8)

8:30 pm

Springview Field

South Oakland looks to get back to .500 after an up and down month of June. Despite sitting at 8-9, the Ducks are just one game back in the loss column from second place though they have several teams to jump. South Hills has won 7 of 10 and appears to be firing on all cylinders after a big win against Cranberry earlier this week. South Oakland’s scheduled starting pitcher is on vacation, so they will go to the bullpen to try and scrape out a win by committee.

Last week the Ducks completed their season series against D2 and the Jays, winning both two games to one.

The Ducks also beat Keystone Oaks for the second time this season, winning 10-1 on Tuesday. Casen Wolinsky (W, 3-0) struck out ten batters in the complete game victory.

Realignment Watch 2022

The Senators return to single A has been unspectacular as the team sits at 7-9. The Oilers are enjoying a successful second season in AAA with a recent upset of Jefferson Hills highlighting a robust 11-4 record. The Grizzlies are trying to become the first team to win back to back championships in different divisions, and are in the hunt for a division title at 12-5.

Expansion teams Keystone Oaks and CSI seem to be having attendance issues, which is certainly relatable. At 0-15 with an incredible -138 run differential, CSI seems likely to move down next season if they don’t fold.

This has been a frustrating season. We went through a third of the schedule without a number two starter, and we are still dealing with the repercussions of spotty attendance and last minute no shows. But lately we’ve been playing better. When we have all our starters, we can score runs, and we will have to tonight. A win gets us into the holiday weekend on a high note with Randy ready to go on the 5th. If we can keep it close and try to win one late, we have good shot.

Bad News for the Devils

Ducks Lose Three Straight


South Oakland lost to the Jays on Friday, and lost two to the previously last place Piranhas on Sunday. Sunday’s first loss was a continued game that was suspended earlier this season. The second game was a rescheduled rainout. The Ducks record is now 5-8.

The Ducks finish their season series with East Pittsburgh tonight, 8:30 pm at Springview Field.


Ducks Win Fourth Straight, Even Record at 5-5


South Oakland 10, Keystone Oaks 3

Box Score

South Oakland erased a 3-2 fourth-inning deficit, reeling off 8 unanswered runs, to defeat Keystone Oaks (5-7) in Spring Hill last night.

In his first start as a Duck, starting pitcher Casen Wolinski (W, 1-0) pitched 6 innings, scattering 7 hits, and striking out 8. Also making his Ducks debut, relief pitcher Luke Hudic pitched a scoreless seventh. South Oakland did not allow an earned run. The defense overcame a few early miscues and steadied itself late. Keystone Oaks pitchers hit six Ducks batters including TJ Morgan who lined a ball off the top of the fence for a long RBI single to help put the game out of reach.

Last night’s win was the Ducks fourth straight; the Ducks beat first place Cranberry on Sunday, after a home and home sweep of D2 earlier in the week.

Offensive Performances of Note:

  • Alex Swauger: 3-for-3, 2 RBI
  • Tom Pulice: 3-4, 3 RBI
  • Mark Lombardi: 1-for-3, HBP, 2 RBI
  • Dillon Williams: 1-for-4 2B, R
  • Jimmy Murray: 2-for-2, RBI, SB, R
  • Ben Gwin: 0-for-0, 2 HBP, SB, 2R

South Oakland plays next against the Jays, Friday, 8:30 pm at Herschel Park.


Ducks Win. South Oakland 8, D2 5


Randy Patton (W, 3-2) scattered 5 hits over five innings, and the Ducks offense recorded 13 hits as South Oakland won their second straight over Pittsburgh D2. James Fago recorded the two-inning save (1).

The Ducks improved to 3-5 on the season; D2 fell to 3-6 with the loss.

The Ducks play next vs the South Hills Devils (5-6), Tuesday night, 8:30 pm at Springview Field.


South Oakland Staff in Shambles as Ducks Scuffle to 2-5 Start


Every year, at the beginning of the season, I think about what needs to go right for us to win a title. Some years, we just needed to stay healthy. Others we’ve needed some breaks. Ideally, most of what needs to happen is within in our control. I don’t think a season without a championship is a lost season or that we can’t have a successful year without winning a title. There are too many variables, both within the game and outside of it. Vacations, injuries, lack of commitment, players moving, players with tragedies in their families – marriages, kids, and aging. I think we’ve had a great run since 2014, despite falling short of winning a third title.

However, I do think a season where we have no chance of winning most of our games, or even competing in those games, is a lost season. When the list of things we need to go right to win a title becomes a ridiculous wish list of hypotheticals, and the odds dip to say, single digit probabilities, it’s tough. Then we become a slow pitch softball team that is just in it for the social aspect and the post game beers, which is fine if that’s all you want out of your summer league team. But I don’t have many years left, and I want to win. I know most of us do.

The way to eliminate most of the variables is to have three or four solid starting pitchers who are committed and reliable. Really you just need strike throwers and an ace. It helps to have one guy who can shut teams down and win a game when your best players are on vacation or taking their kids to camp or whatever. Cranberry has that this season, the Grizzlies had that last season, the Oilers did, the Devils, and Bandidos in the last few championships. D2 also has the arms, and they have made two consecutive finals appearances. So that’s how we try to construct our roster.

Before this season, we lost six pitchers: three starters, and three relievers. To replace them we had dozens of leads on guys who told someone on our team at some point they’d come pitch. We figured if two of them panned out, we’d be ok. So far none of them have panned out. This includes a few guys we brought on, or had in house, who we thought would pitch and can’t or won’t.

What we have now is one solid starter who basically has to throw seven innings a game, and a good bullpen that is being forced into pitching more innings than they should have to pitch. We don’t even have a rotation. Most of these issues have been out of our control. Everyone has done all they can to find people who can give us innings. We can’t make people show up. We can’t make people be more upfront about their commitment level, desire to play, or willingness to pitch.

It’s important to have a clear, honest assessment of the team. As we are currently constructed, we need everything to go right to win games Randy doesn’t start, and we need the other team to make mistakes. When he does start, we need most of our starters there to play good defense so we don’t waste his innings.

We have played two solid games this year and won them. But in the other games, we’ve run out of pitchers, or had luck go against us in the form of umpires, bad hops etc. The bad hops even out over the course of a season, but when we get bounces in games we’re losing by 7 runs anyway, it doesn’t really help.

It’s way too early to lose hope. That shit is contagious. We don’t do well so people don’t show up, and people don’t show up so we don’t do well. It can spiral quick. We have commitments from three, good pitchers not on our roster to play for us this season, and one guy who I vouch for as committed but has only been available in games that have been rained out. So our hope is to get these guys on board and playoff eligible. If we can do that, we’ll have a solid rotation in place for the stretch run and the playoffs. But until they’re paid and registered, it’s up in the air. We have until the roster deadline to figure something out. I’m hopeful we will, and that we don’t have to write this season off.

South Oakland plays next on Sunday, 9:30 am vs D2. We have a Sunday lineup, but maybe we’ll get the breaks and we can sneak one.


Ducks Win: South Oakland 5, Sheraden 4


The Ducks overcame messy field conditions and an early 2-run deficit to beat the Jays 5-4 on opening day. Randy Patton (W, 1-0) threw a complete game and the Ducks scored 3 runs in the sixth in the comeback win.

The rebooted Jays missed a great opportunity to wear these gems

Dillon Williams and TJ Morgan hit doubles for South Oakland. Tom Pulice had two hits in the victory.

South Oakland plays next on 5/3 vs East Pittsburgh at Springview Field, 8:30pm

Season Preview

As it always seems to, the NABA season arrived out of nowhere. The off-season was eventful and also very dull. Days felt like weeks, but the months flew by.

South Oakland returns the bulk of its roster from last season. We’ve also added three former Ducks who took hiatuses of varying lengths, another Black Sox all-time great, and some pitchers who are hopefully good and ready to give us innings.

We need a number two starter to emerge. If one does, we should be right there at the end of the season. If not, we will need to win a bunch of high scoring games when Randy isn’t starting. This is familiar territory for us.

This will be the Ducks 19th season. It is hard to keep a team together for a long time. It’s also hard to find pitching. I think there is a correlation.

Speaking of pitching

I’d like to thank the Blackstones and Billy for their service as they re-embark on their Jays journey. They were good teammates. May the Jays stay together for 20 years and their dugout be a picture of serenity.

League Round-Up

The Grizzlies moved up to AAA and will renew their rivalry with the Oilers. Senators dropped down to A. Sheraden and Keystone Oaks will replace Bauerstown and the Senators in AA. The Piranhas return for their second season.

I will try to have a semi-regular realignment watch again despite no single A teams moving up

The new teams are young, so they likely will avoid some of the attendance problems and joint inflammation issues facing many AA teams.

South Hills and Cranberry are the AA Ships of Theseus. Both teams saw significant roster turnover.

The Bandidos look poised to start 1-7 before winning 16 straight to finish out the regular season. Hopefully we get them early.

The Eagles will probably take 2 of 3 from us no matter where they finish in the standings.

D2 will sandbag all season and then make a deep run in the playoffs. They always have great pitching depth, and they already started the season with a questionable rainout.

Look for Devils manager and NABA legend, Rich Rodi to post his betting odds/power rankings on the blog this summer. A good blogger knows when to delegate.

Good luck to all, and thanks for reading. Double A should be wide open this year. I bet everyone finishes exactly .500.