Pre-Playoffs Pittsburgh NABA Round-Up

2019 South Oakland Ducks, NABA, pittsburgh NABA

Ducks Regular Season Recap

Overall we had a solid year. We won and lost a few close, low-scoring games. The losses to the Eagles and D2 are frustrating, but that happens. Everyone in AA has at least one good arm who is capable of shutting down a team, and we weren’t able to overcome that a few times this year. Records aside, there aren’t any easy teams to beat this year.

Our pitching and defense were statistically the best in AA. 65 runs allowed is a good number. We set team records for single-season shutouts, saves, and runs allowed.

We usually put up more runs, but I think we faced a lot of teams number one pitchers, and we also ran into a few junk ballers who kept us off balance. Typically, we do better against fast pitching, but that’s not exactly a secret. So bring on your crafty lefties in the playoffs. Hopefully we can adjust.

We also had a few guys who took a year off last year who didn’t round into form until late in the year. I also batted eleven guys more this year than in the past, which took some at bats away from the guys at the top and the middle of the lineup. I probably cost us at least one win here, but I got everyone at least 2 at bats per game on average, which I feel is giving everyone their money’s worth while still trying to win.

16 wins is good. I’m a believer in the last ten games being the best indicator of how a team is playing, and we have won nine of them. Hopefully the time off is good for us and we don’t lose any momentum going into Saturday. D2 has a shitty record, and a bad run differential, but they beat us twice and we had a tough time against a couple of their pitchers.

Around the Pittsburgh NABA

In approximate order of news-worthyness..

Here’s a link to the Cranberry Crusaders’ website. Solid work over there. It’s much more fun to write recaps when you’re winning. I assume Andy will post something inflammatory before the playoffs start. Keep an eye out for that bulletin board material. It’s interesting to read through their posts from this year and see the tone shift from cautiously optimistic to confident. Congrats to Cranberry on a good season.

The Wolfpack literally quit this season. What a joke. West View folding for the second straight year hurt us this time, as we don’t get a team coming off a play-in game. They should be voted down to single A, and forced to add free agents to their roster to avoid folding for a third straight year.

The Bandidos and Eagles, 2017 finalists, both have a bad record. It won’t surprise me if either team goes on a run in the playoffs. They are battle tested.

The Oilers are absolutely not cheating. I swear.

Jays had a run-in with Cranberry this year, and I think they used the resulting suspensions as motivation to put together a decent season.

Grizzlies won ten straight to start the year, and have since faltered. We had a 3% chance of taking over second place after we lost to D2 in July, but after that game, we won out, and the Grizzlies went 1-5 or something. Sleeping giant though. I think most teams want to avoid them in the post-season. They have some great pitching.

The Devils are probably better than their record, which isn’t that bad to begin with. I thought they would be in Cranberry’s position now.

Up In AAA

The AAA mangers meeting might be an eventful one, as the Tropics are probably cheating. Shocking, I know. No stats entered for them all season. The only advantage that could possibly give them is a way around minimum games played if no one wants to take the time to challenge them. It creates a situation where everyone is forced to either do a lot of work or not question any of their players eligibility and probably let them play ineligible players. I don’t think the league would be worse off without them.

Our league has always erred on the side of letting players play. Whether it’s giving teams extra time to get money in, letting teams enter the league late, or putting the burden of proof on the team that is challenging player eligibility. I don’t agree with all the decisions that are made by the commish, but I’ve never questioned his integrity or his intention. The intention has always been to grow the league, and give as many people as possible the chance to play baseball. Most of the issues that arise are due to teams taking advantage of that sentiment.

I’m grateful for another regular season. Thank you to everyone who has made that possible. Hopefully we will be playing until August this year. I think we have a good shot.

 

 

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Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, D2 0

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn

Box score

John Zuzak (W, 1-0) threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in his first career start to lead the Ducks to a 4-0 victory in Elliot last night. Zuzak was also 2-for-2 at the plate. Tom Pulice drove in the game winning run with a single in the first inning. Maldonado, Lombardi and Gwin were hit by D2 pitchers. The shutout was South Oakland’s fourth of the season. The Ducks (16-8) finished the season with the fewest runs allowed (65) in AA, and have won nine of their last ten games. D2 falls to 8-14 with the loss.

The Ducks will play D2 in the first round of the playoffs this Saturday.

 

Gameday 24: Ducks at Pittsburgh D2

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (15-8)

at

Pittsburgh D2 (8-14)

6:15 pm

Herschel Park

The Ducks look to avoid being swept by D2, and clinch second place tonight in Elliot. South Oakland has struggled this season against D2, losing 4-0 and 6-4 in two earlier matchups. Today’s game will determine whether the Ducks will get the 2 or 3 seed and D2 can still finish between 7 and 9 depending on tie breakers. These two teams could meet again on Saturday in the playoffs.

D2 will throw one of their seven starters, maybe the same guy who shut us down twice already this year. I don’t know if they’re trying to save arms for Saturday or what.

D2 may have based the color scheme of their new unis off the red, white, and blue team USA jerseys in D2: The Mighty Ducks. Also went with white primary color to honor the jersey change to the Anaheim home Ducks jerseys at intermission during the finals that brought the team together. I think it’s a great homage.

The Commish is on the hill for the Ducks tonight.

Bad news for D2

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 7, Bauerstown 3

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

Box Score

Tony Casale lead the way with four hits, and the back end of the Ducks rotation pitched five solid innings to help South Oakland to its fourth straight win yesterday in Shaler. Cody Quinn started and went two innings, pitching around a couple fly balls that could have been caught, and allowing one run. Ben Sorosky (W, 1-0) pitched three solid innings before James Fago converted the six-out save (7).

The Ducks took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Lombardi doubled in Casale, and Clark singled home Lombardi. Bauerstown scored in the bottom half of the inning off a double, HBP and a single.

South Oakland added two in the fifth on a walk, fielders choice and two singles. Then they added three more in the seventh on four straight hits, and an RBI double by Fago to put the game out of reach. Cody just missed going yard.

Fago’s seven saves is a single season Pittsburgh NABA record until someone tells me otherwise.

Casale for MVP.

 

The Ducks finish up the season on the road against D2, Tuesday night, 6:15 at Herschel Park.

Quack.

 

 

 

Gameday 21: Ducks at BIG OIL

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (12-8)

at

Hebrew Oilers (13-7)

7pm

Mellon Park

South Oakland looks to sweep the season series against defending champion BIG OIL tonight in East Liberty. The Ducks and Oilers both have an outside shot at overtaking the Grizzlies (14-5), and theoretically Cranberry (13-2) could also collapse. It should be a good matchup in the latest chapter of the Ducks/Oilers rivalry.

With the WOLFPACK’s forthcoming dissolution imminent, the Oilers and Jays have to be neck and neck for most hated team in Double A. We will see the Jays on Saturday on the field with no mound, provided last night’s rain didn’t destroy it.

The odds of winning the division or getting the two seed are not in our favor. We still want a home game in the first round, and a better draw in he tournament, so our last four games are important. 

We want to go into the post season playing well. A win tonight would at least prevent the Oilers from getting the two seed, and that should be plenty of motivation. 

Bad News for BIG OIL

Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, Bauerstown 1

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

Mark Lombardi drove in three runs and Matt Mullen (W, 2-0) scattered four hits over six innings to lead the Ducks past the Grizzlies last night in Munhall.

Mullen worked out of a jam in the first after a hit batter, a single, and a delayed steal put runners on second and third with two outs. Mullen got their five hitter to groundout and end the inning.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth. MVP candidate Tony Casale moved to third on Derek Clark’s single and scored on Lombardi’s sacrifice fly.

Mullen worked around a single and two hit batters in the fifth with the help of Tom Pulice who threw out a guy trying to steal second.

The Ducks left the bases loaded in the fifth.

Lombardi threw out a guy trying to stretch a single to a double in the top of the sixth, but Bauerstown clawed a run across with a single and a series of ground outs.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Ducks scored three to put the game out of reach. Casale singled to start the inning, and went first to third on Pulice’s well placed single up the middle two batters later. Maldonado, running for Pulice, took second with the infield playing up. Lombardi drove in two runs with a single to left, and took second on the throw home. Mullen drove in Lombardi for the Duck’s fourth run.

James Fago recorded his franchise record fifth save of the season.

  • Big win against a good team
  • Grizzlies employed the no doubles defense for most of the game, leading to a few 300 foot singles
  • Casale’s numbers this year are MVP worthy. He’s at least in the conversation. That guy from Cranberry and the Grizzlies guy are also good.
  • Ran out of baseballs right at the end of our last home game. Perfect timing.

South Oakland’s next game is Friday night against the Oilers, 7pm at Mellon Park

Gameday 19. Ducks vs Grizzlies

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side

vs

Bauerstown Grizzlies

8pm

West Field

The Ducks look to right the ship when they take on the Grizzlies tonight in Munhall.

We need a win to secure a spot in the top six and avoid the play-in games. I think our magic number is 2. The Eagles and D2 both have 12 losses, and we are at 11 wins if we count our never rescheduled game from April against West View as a win. Both those teams have the tie-breaker over us.

Somehow we’ve lost 4 games combined to two six-win teams. Add that to a few other close losses this year, and I can’t tell if we’re lucky to have ten wins, or if we should have fifteen right now. I don’t think we’ve really hit well yet, but we’re running out of time for our luck to change.

We finish with five games against four teams ahead of us in the standings, and one more against D2 who we can’t seem to beat this season. The Grizzlies won like twelve in a row at one point, and with Cranberry’s magical season, everyone else has basically been playing for third place all year unless someone collapses. But we want to be playing well heading into the postseason, and tonight against a tough team will be a good gage to see where we are at. I like our chances at home.

Bad news for the Grizzlies

 

Gameday 18: Ducks vs D2

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (10-7)

vs

D2 (5-12)

9pm

Springview Field

South Oakland looks to extend its four game win streak tonight against Pittsburgh D2. It should be another good game, as we played to a frustrating 4-0 loss earlier in the season after we left a bunch of guys on base, and made a few costly errors. We should have a better turnout tonight than we did for last game against D2, so maybe that will help.

I don’t know how D2 has such a poor record. I feel like they have five, 20-year-olds that throw strikes, and they can run. I have no idea what “D2” stands for. District Two? some kind of nebulous corporate sponsor? Who knows.

This is the start of a hectic stretch of games to end the season. We play tonight, Grizzlies on Wednesday, Oilers Friday, Jays Saturday, Grizzlies again on Sunday, and we still have another makeup game with D2 to schedule.

The other postponed D2 game was going to be played Monday, but somehow the WOLFPACK! are breathing their last breath on the final week of the season just to make teams that weren’t scheduled to play them in June waste arms, and take up rain dates from teams that didn’t forfeit a whole month’s worth of games. We will get a forfeit for the WOLFPACK! game that was rained out in April that we tried to reschedule but didn’t get a response from West View management. What a shit show. That West View win, means our next victory this year will secure a .500 record, which is a step along the way to hopefully positioning ourselves to get a good draw in the playoffs and make another deep run this year.

I like our chances tonight at the Duck Pond.

Bad News for D2

Gameday 17: Ducks vs Bandidos

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (9-7)

vs

Bakery Square Bandidos (3-13)

8pm

West Field

After a forfeit win over West View on Sunday, the Ducks looks to extend their winning streak to four tonight against the better-than-their-record-indicates Bandidos.

In a celebration of South Oakland’s seventeenth season in the Pittsburgh NABA, and the rich history of our league, the Ducks will host throwback night tonight in Munhall. Players will wear their oldest NABA jerseys in what will be a collage of awesomeness out on the turf.

The 2019 Ducks feature players who have played for the Hurricanes, Black Sox, Owlz, Knights, Orioles, Rakers, Gray Bats, Militia, Bulldogs, Bombers, (Steel City when they were still a fed league team), Maulers, Oilers and the Express. Possibly more. Also, many of the Bandidos have played on the Ducks in recent tournaments in Columbus, and made solid contributions to the franchise on and off the field.

Nine of the teams mentioned earlier are defunct. Only the Bulldogs and Oilers remain. I think TJ Morgan might be the last Hurricane in the league. A franchise that burned so brightly for a few years it was destined to destroy itself with its own power.

Running a team is hard. Keeping a men’s league team going for the better part of two decades is probably a symptom of a mild psychological disorder. Last year the Black Sox folded and this year the Express dropped out, and I think that’s all the Brookline off-shoots in the league. The Black Sox spawned like five different teams.

I repeat a lot of these stories on the blog, but I think it’s important to have a perspective on the league’s history, and now with the old website dying, we’ve lost most of the stats from the last 16+ years. Baseball more than any other sport, for better and worse, is about numbers and nostalgia and tradition. Our stats don’t really matter in real life, but they are part of the story of the league and a record of a past summer. Stories of ringers and sandbaggers and fist fights and cheaters. For the Ducks, aside from maybe four seasons, it’s a story of being one piece away from a championship. As we added that missing piece, others left, or the rest of the league took a bigger step forward then we did. Hopefully we cam put it together and make a run in the playoffs this year before I hand over the managerial reigns.

Sorry for the digression.

We can’t overlook the Bandidos. They are clearly reeling, but it’s hard to sweep anyone in double A. Bakery Square is bound to snap out of it and start winning at some point. Let’s make sure it’s not tonight.

Bad News for the Bandidos

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, South Hills 3

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

South Oakland swept the season series with the Devils behind Mullen’s two-run triple last night in Munhall.

The Ducks scored in the first on Derek Clark’s RBI single, and then Matt Mullen followed singles by Sorosky and Morgan with a triple to right. Matt Muslin singled home Mullen two batters later to give the Ducks a four run lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Randy Patton (W,4-2) scattered six hits through five innings, allowing one run before the bullpen took over and held off a late Devils rally. Patton also picked off a runner at first.

  • The Ducks made two errors in the game, but both were followed by inning ending double plays
  • South Oakland turned a 5-2-3 double play to get out of a jam, and then in the third, a 6-3 double play to get out of a first and third situation
  • Tom Pulice picked off a runner at third
  • Several good plays by Maldonado at second who left with a lower body injury in the sixth
  • Sorosky is five for his last five, and probably leads the team in avg. now
  • Big win to get the tie breaker with South Hills

South Oakland’s next game is Sunday 8pm vs West View until we hear otherwise.

Quack.