Ducks Win: South Oakland 14, South Hills 13

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

South Oakland (4-8) came back from an early 2-1 deficit behind an 8-run fifth inning, and then held off a late rally by the Devils (3-8) to win a wild one in Spring Hill yesterday. Ducks starter Randy Patton (W, 2-1) pitched four strong innings before turning it over to the bullpen. The bullpen had mixed results.

The game was tied 4-4 heading into the bottom of the fifth. The umpires were bad, but just typically bad up to that point. Then it escalated. They missed some calls for the Devils pitcher in the fifth, and the Ducks took advantage when he had to put it down the middle. TJ Morgan hit one off the fence in right that was a foot from going out. We hit a couple doubles and wound up putting eight runs on the board. The plate ump started arguing back with the Devils.

The ump told us we didn’t deserve better umpires. This guy was calling pitches when they were halfway to the plate. I’ve never seen that before. He was out of position all game, and let the game get out of hand.

South Oakland led 12-4 after 5. Our reliever had one out and one on, and the plate ump missed called strike threes on consecutive batters that would have ended the inning. Instead those guys walked. Then there were more bad calls and we walked in two runs. There was a double that cleared the bases, then a 2-run home run. The Devils put up 7 on three hits in the inning.

The Ducks added two in the bottom of the inning to take a three-run lead into the seventh.

Then the ump made more bad calls, tried to issue a warning, and he threatened to leave. He said he should give us $5 back and quit. He told one guy that if he wanted good umpires it would cost $300. One great line was, “Why don’t you get some grandma to stand behind the fence and call balls and strikes.”

It was ridiculous.

The Devils scored two runs in the seventh before Hoffman came in to close the game for South Oakland, stranding the tying run on second.

  • The Devils new uniforms are pretty nice
  • If our record was better, Stef Blackstone would be the hands down AA MVP this year. If we finish strong, he should win it.
  • TJ Morgan is having an incredible season at the plate
  • If there was ever a loss that could give a team momentum, it was yesterday’s for the Devils. They battled.
  • It would have been a devastating loss for us after we finally put together a big inning against a quality starting pitcher. This was a big win for us.
  • The umps really spoiled what was an important game in the standing for both teams. I don’t understand why some umps what to make the games about them. The other extreme is they are totally checked out sometimes and won’t even make fair/foul calls. Just be as consistent as possible, and try to get in position to make the right calls. That’s all anyone can ask for.

South Oakland plays next on Wednesday night, 9pm at Springview Field vs the Bandidos.

Quack.

Gameday 11: Ducks vs Devils

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South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (3-7)

vs

South Hills Devils (3-7)

4pm

Springview Field

The Ducks play a rare afternoon game on the hottest day of the year against the Devils today in Spring Hill. This is the rubber match for these teams as they have split the season series 1-1. The Ducks won 6-5 in extra innings earlier in the year, and the Devils won the rematch 7-3 in May.

Both teams are mired in the bottom third of the standings and are looking for a spark to turn their seasons around. Someone has to win today. Actually, a tie wouldn’t surprise me the way this season is going.

Bad news for the Devils

Ducks Lose. Cranberry 6, South Oakland 3

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South Oakland’s record is now 3-7 with a probable loss to the Eagles in a suspended game. This is really frustrating.

Cranberry had some good at bats, and several bloop hits. Billy pitched well and their guy did also.

Cranberry hit a two out popup behind first drop in for a foul ball, and then they scored two runs after that.

There was a missed throw from the catcher to the pitcher with a runner on second that let the runner advance and score on a ground ball hit that snuck through the drawn in infield.

I was probably out of position in left a few times. I don’t know. It’s tough with the tall grass, but they seemed to do ok.

Tom Pulice had 3 RBI.

Randy Patton went 2 for 3.

John Zuzak, Mike Brandt, and Jay White all reached safely for the Ducks.

South Oakland’s next game is Sunday, 4pm at Springview Field vs the Devils.

Gameday 10: Ducks at Cranberry

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South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (3-6)

at

Cranberry (6-2-1)

5pm

Veteran’s Park of Cranberry (North Boundary Park)

The Ducks Sunday squad travels up 79 today to take on Cranberry in Cranberry. The last time these two teams played, Cranberry beat South Oakland at the Duck Pond in a game that came down to the final at bat.

Cranberry lost their last game to the resurgent South Hills Devils, and the Ducks defeated the North Park Senators. Recent history suggests another close game today. Sources tell me both teams are short handed.

Here’s a link to the Cranberry Blog. Solid work as always up there. I can relate to not spelling Piranhas right on the first time, ever.

It seems like vacation season is happening earlier this year. It’s certainly hit us harder sooner than usual. Having to scramble for guys and putting together a patchwork lineup is one thing I don’t miss about managing. I think this affects older teams more as family responsibilities pile up. I could be wrong.

At some point, availability just turns into an excuse, and it’s really tiring to keep talking about it. Everyone deals with it. We should be able to win with a couple backups playing. We have good enough pitching and in many cases it’s our starters not hitting. It’s been a really tough year attendance wise for a number of reasons. Some are excusable and some aren’t. Weekends are brutal for us. We’ve added a couple guys to hopefully remedy this situation going forward.

Our history with the big roster started after forfeiting a playoff game to the Black Sox in 2004. We won game one of the semis handily, then there was a rain out and a rescheduled game that turned into a forfeit somehow. Then we played with seven guys and Craig Boley in game 3 and lost. The Sox won the title that year. We were robbed.

We can still go on a run. The playoffs are what matter, and as long as we have a shot at the top five, we need to win games to give ourselves the best chance to get to the semi finals. I like our odds in a series with our staff. There are some models out there that have high odds of us facing Cranberry in the second round.

Ten years ago I’d have photo shopped this to say Ducks with our pitcher’s names

Billy is throwing for us today, and hopefully we have the infielders to rotate our closer in if there is a save situation. I like our chances in a close game. We are due to pull one out in the last inning against these guys.

Bad news for Cranberry

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.