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

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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

 

 

 

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

 

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

Ducks Win. South Oakland 12, D2 0 (5 inn.)

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

Randy Patton (W, 4-3) allowed just two base runners, and faced one batter over the minimum and all ten Ducks starters reached base safely, in a lopsided 12-0 victory over D2 in Munhall last night.

South Oakland (7-6) scored 3 in the first on an RBI double by Pulice and a basses loaded 2-out, 2-run single by Casale. The Ducks scored seven runs in the second as D2’s starter had trouble finding the zone. South Oakland scored two more in the fourth  Casale hit a 2-run triple to center.

D2 (8-3) didn’t have a base runner until their ten hitter was hit by a pitch in the fourth, and their eleven hitter singled. The runner on second was then doubled off on a fly out to center.

South Oakland’s next game is 6pm Thursday at Herschel Park vs D2

 

Some stats:

Patton: W, 5IP, 1H, 1HBP, 5K

Casale: 2-2, BB, SB, 3B, 4RBI, R

Pulice: 1-2, 2B, BB, RBI, R

Dover 1-2, SB, HBP, 2RBI, R

Gwin 2-2, HBP, SB, RBI, 2R

Graff: 0-1, 2BB, SB, 2R

Ducks Win. South Oakland 6, South Side 3

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

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (6-6) got back to .500 on the season against a tough South Side Eagles (4-5) team, winning by a score of 6-3 in Spring Hill last night.

The Ducks lead 2-1 going into the bottom of the fifth. Dover doubled to start the inning, advanced to third on a wild pitch and Toumisto drove him in with a groundout to the right side. Five batters later, Tony Casale singled with the bases loaded, followed by Ben Sorosky’s clutch pinch-hit single to right to cap off the four-run inning.

The Eagles scored two in the top of the seventh, but the rally fell short.

Randy Patton (W, 3-3) pitched six strong innings, allowing only 2 hits and 3 walks along with 2 Ks. Andy Nichols recorded the save (2).

South Oakland’s next game is Saturday at 2pm vs. 1st place Sheraden Jays.

  • We had the ump with the small strike zone, and there were a few questionable calls
  • I think the Eagles were short guys?
  • This is the first season sweep of the Eagles since 2010
  • If we beat the Jays Saturday, we will sweep all other bird teams
  • We jumped from 9th to a 5th place with the win

 

 

 

I forget what I was supposed to title this blog post: Ducks Win. South Oakland 4, Cranberry 2

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

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (5-6) came back from a two-run deficit to defeat the Crusaders (4-4) by a score of 4-2 in Munhall last night. Starter Mike Longman (W, 1-0) scattered seven hits over five innings, and Andy Nichols pitched two scoreless innings for the save.

Cranberry scored two runs on a triple, a single and two errors to take a 2-0 lead in the fourth. The Ducks cut the lead in half after a triple by Dover and a sac fly by Lombardi.

South Oakland added two runs in the fifth on singles by Gwin, Zuzak and Maldonado.

Dover stole third and scored on throwing error in the sixth to give the Ducks some breathing room.

South Oakland plays next on Sunday night, 8:30pm at John Herb Field vs. West View

 

Ducks Win. South Oakland 3, Bakery Square 2

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South Oakland of the North Side (4-5) stopped a two-game losing streak behind Joe Graff’s (W, 1-0) masterful complete game in Munhall Saturday night. Dimas Maldonado drove in a run with a sacrifice fly that plated two runs after a throwing error allowed a runner to score from second and tie the game 2-2. Tom Pulice drove in the game winning run with a sac fly late in the game, I think.

The defending champion Bandidos lost to D2 on Sunday and are now 2-5. A surprisingly poor start for a good team.

The Ducks next game is Thursday, 6:45pm vs the Warriors in Boyce Park.

 

 

Gameday 3: Ducks at Cranberry

2018 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (0-2)

at

Cranberry Crusaders (1-1)

5pm

Veteran’s Park of Cranberry (North Boundary Park)

South Oakland looks to win its first game of the season against the Crusaders this afternoon in Cranberry.

Below is an old scorebook page from a game two years ago vs. Cranberry. I remember we played this game at McGee Field because the mound at Spring Hill had been vandalized the night before. TJ had his car broken into, I think. We won on a walk-off hit by Culp in a ridiculous, 12-11 game.

Koshzow hit a ground rule double into the pool in left. We were down 11-10 going into the bottom of the seventh. They had their ace throwing and we knocked him around.

This season we pretty much only had Pat on the mound after Grahme blew out his shoulder. Nichols started this game, I think Brandt’s friend went 2 innings, and then Sorosky finished off the last two.

Alex Riley got on base three times this game in the revenge match against his former squad, and committed an error in RF.

Bad News for the Crusaders

 

 

 

Gameday 2: Ducks vs Express

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

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (0-1)

vs

Carrick Express (1-1)

9pm

West Field

South Oakland looks to get back on track after a tough loss to West View last week. Carrick is good. We are short a few guys tonight, so some players who might not start normally will get some at bats against one of the better pitchers we will face this season.

Below is an old score book page from 2010.

This was a Ducks vs Maulers game. The Maulers played in single A that season, and would eventually become the Express. South Oakland won 6-2. We lost to them earlier in the season.

Vernacchio’s last at bat was a 2-RBI double.

Kress, Kopy, Cannon, are all former Black Sox and Express players. Gruendle is still on the Express.

This must have been early in the season before all the Waynesburg guys joined the team that season and I nearly destroyed the franchise, which I’ve written enough about at this point.

Casale had a day. Duffy left to be a scientist halfway through this season. Guthrie would get the win on the mound in the deciding game of our second championship.

Bad News for the Express