Playoff Gameday 3: Ducks vs. Grizzlies

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

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

vs

Bauerstown Grizzlies (1-0)

9pm

Springview Field

South Oakland looks to even their semifinal series against the Grizzlies tonight at the Duck Pond. The Ducks played the Grizzlies to a 2-2 tie through five innings in game one before the bullpen allowed five runs in the bottom of the sixth. South Oakland stranded several runners early.

The Grizzlies have not slowed down after one of the best regular seasons, record-wise, in recent memory. The Ducks will need timely hitting and another good starting pitching performance if they want to avoid elimination.

Winning this game will take all we’ve got. I like our chances at home, playing for our season.

Bad news for the Grizzlies

Gameday 23 and Bandidos Recap

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

South Oakland split a weekend set with the Bandidos, winning Friday’s game 5-2, and dropping Saturdays game 2-1. On the season, the Bandidos won the net runs by 1, and took two of three from the Ducks. They also won the negotiating rights of disgruntled, pitcher/outfielder Greg Friend who is set to become a restricted free agent after the season.

“Maybe after next year,” a source in the Ducks front office said. “We wish him the best.”

“Is this real?” Friend asked. “I wish I’d known about this before the game.”

Bandidos management was not available for comment.

Friend made a great catch in Friday’s game and converted the save on Sunday. 

 

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (12-10)

vs

Pittsburgh D2 (7-12-1)

9pm

Springview Field

Over the weekend, the Ducks clinched a non-losing record with their twelfth win. After a rough start, the team has rounded into form winning 9 of 12 down the stretch.

A win tonight would clinch the fourth seed and ensure a home game in the first round of the playoffs. We’d also stay mathematically alive for the three seed, depending on the outcome of the Cranberry (11-11-1) and South Side (13-9) game. A Ducks loss tonight keeps the six seed in play.

We want to stay hot heading into the meat grinder of an opening round next weekend and what looks to be an inevitable rematch with the new look South Hills Devils.

D2 has been a tough matchup for us historically. This one could go either way as both teams empty their bullpens, but we have a slight edge playing at home. Our record at the Duck Pond has been great this year. 

Bad news for D2

 

Gameday 18: Ducks vs Grizzlies

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

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

vs

Bauerstown Grizzlies (17-2)

4pm

Springview Field

South Oakland opens up a two game series with Bauerstown today in a rare late afternoon game in Spring Hill. The Grizzlies are playing a split doubleheader today. they play the Eagles at 12pm at Herschel Park before barnstorming their way across two rivers to play the Ducks on the North Side. I give them a lot of credit for making the effort to get the game in.

 

Around the League

Standings as of 7/10

Bauerstown can clinch first place with a win or a Bandidos loss.

Cranberry has a double header against Bakery Square today.

The Devils have the easiest remaining schedule with four against the bottom two teams in the division.

The Eagles finish with Bauerstown, Cranberry and two against D2. 

We have a brutal schedule down the stretch. Starting on Tuesday, we have five games in six days (we will play the Piranhas on Thursday the 15th) with the D2 game still to reschedule. If D2 gets scheduled for Monday the 19th, that would be six games in seven days.

Individually, each game is winnable. Winning four of seven will keep us in the top half of the standings. 

The last time we played Bauerstown, the Grizzlies won on a walk-off sacrifice fly. I like our chances in a close game at home.

Bad news for the Grizzlies

Gameday 18: Ducks vs D2

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

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

vs

Pittsburgh D2 (7-11-1)

9pm

Springview Field

South Oakland goes for the season sweep of D2 tonight in Spring Hill. The Ducks won against the Eagles last week. They hope to stay hot down the stretch and challenge for the third seed in the playoffs. D2 lost to Bauerstown last night, and is likely headed for the sixth seed and a play in game.

Injury update: Ducks ace, Billy Welsh suffered an upper body injury over the weekend, and may miss the rest of the season. The Ducks will lean on veteran pitchers Brandon Blackstone and Randy Patton down the stretch, and for a relatively untested bullpen to step up in Welsh’s absence. 

The Ducks and D2 have played two great games this year, and tonight figures to be no different. I like our chances in a close game at home.

Bad news for D2

Gameday 12: Ducks at Senators

2021 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (4-7)

at

North Park Senators (2-9)

3pm

Whitaker Field

The Ducks look to win the season series against the Senators today in Homestead. South Oakland has won two of its last three. A win today would put the team one game behind Pittsburgh D2 before a home and home series next week. With three games in five days, the Ducks chances to finish in the top 5 will become clearer this week.

Other games this weekend include a big series between the Eagles and Grizzlies, while Cranberry plays East Pittsburgh and Bakery Square on back to back days. It is the height of vacation season. Roster depth and flexibility will be paramount throughout June and heading into 4th of July weekend.

Image via Defector

The Senators are looking at this game as one they can sneak from a four-win team. We can’t take anything for granted. They stole one from Cranberry last week, and played us close for four innings before we pulled away last time. This is a game we have to win despite playing without several starters.

We’re short-handed, but we have enough pitching. I feel confident with Patton on the mound today.

Bad news for the Senators

Gameday 12: Ducks vs Bandidos

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

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (4-7)

vs

Bakery Square Bandidos (5-3)

9pm

Springview Field

The Ducks look to start their first winning streak of the season tonight against their longtime nemesis Bakery Square. The former Mon Valley Dirty Birds/North American Lions are emerging as the team to beat not named the Grizzlies after sweeping the Eagles last weekend.

If the Bandidos win this game, they retain the rights to disgruntled outfielder and relief pitcher Greg Friend. The Ducks have to win the season series to win G. Friend’s contract per the deal made with Ducks officials and Bakery Square co-managers John and Eric Friend.

“This is ridiculous,” Greg Friend said. “I haven’t been this disrespected by management since we were kids. Do I even have a contract?”

John and Eric Friend did not respond to multiple email requests.

This image came up in a search for lions baseball logo

The original North American Lions team finished the 2014 regular season in first place and lost to the WOLFPACK in the finals. That was the year of the ill-fated double booking of Beedle Park that lead to the Ducks elimination in the semis by West View.

Lions pitcher and NABA legend, Zach King (sic) left to form the Mon Valley Dirty Birds with the Friends. I’m not sure if the Friends were on the Lions. Let’s assume they were.

The Dirty Birds won a championship, moved up to AAA, beat the Cherokee in the playoffs, then disbanded. The Bandidos rose from their ashes. The Bandidos won a championship and have consistently finished among the top three teams in their relatively brief existence.

The Lions are still in single A, and have 28 guys on their roster. They are in second place. Anyway, I forgot the Lions were part of the Bandidos lineage. Also a good transition into:

Realignment Watch 2021

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

The Oilers were no-hit earlier this week by former Sheraden Jays and South Hills Devils pitcher Luke Gapinski. After a strong start, BIG OIL has lost four straight.

BIG OIL

Record: 3-6

Runs allowed: 58

Run differential: -30

The Senators lost to Luke’s most recent former team 11-1 on Monday, but have been playing better as of late.

Record: 2-9

Runs allowed: 96

Run differential: -72

The Bandidos have a great, weird history, and are solid tournament teammates. But tonight we need a win against a team that is two games up on us in the standings. We’re running out of time to make up ground. I like our chances at home.

Bad news for the Bandidos

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

Gameday: 3 Ducks at Devils

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

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

at

South Hills Devils (1-4)

8:30pm

Herschel Park

After a rainy week, Ducks look to get back over .500 with a win against struggling rival South Hills. The Devils have had some bad luck early this year, but they are still a solid, experienced team that can score runs. Eventually the back luck will swing the other way, they have too many good players. Last year we split the season series and the run differential was even. It will be a close one tonight.

We need to keep wining games to stay in the top half of the standings. With the monsoon last week, there will be a backlog of games later in the year. We need to position ourselves for the stretch run before we start playing four games in ten days in June. We have the bullpen rested and most of our starters tonight.

Bad news for the Devils

Gameday 3: Ducks vs Grizzlies

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

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

vs

Bauerstown Grizzlies (5-0)

9pm

Springview Field

Weather permitting, the Ducks look to knock off the undefeated Grizzlies tonight in Spring Hill. Bauerstown has averaged ten runs a game while allowing three during its current winning streak. Also during the streak, the Grizzlies have comeback twice when trailing after six innings against the Bandidos and Devils respectively. It seems they have benefitted from their year off.

The Ducks send Billy Welsh (0-1) to the mound tonight to get the team back on track after a tough loss to the Eagles on Sunday.

Both Bauerstown teams are winning all their games this year, as the single A Turtles are in first place with a 5-0 record.

Realignment Watch 2021

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

The Senators are 0-2, losing both games by a combined 35-5, including a 20-0 opening day defeat at the hands of the Eagles.

The Oilers have not played a game yet.

The Grizzlies eliminated South Oakland from playoff contention the past two seasons. This is always a tough matchup for us, but I like our chances at home with Billy pitching in cold weather.

Bad news for the Grizzlies

Gameday 15: Ducks vs. Bandidos

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (5-8-1)

vs

Bakery Square Bandidos (7-5)

9pm

Springview Field

Projected Starters:

Ducks: Blackstone

Bandidos: Gallagher

South Oakland looks to snap its four-game winless streak tonight against Bakery Square. The Ducks won the first two meetings 14-8 and 6-3 (8 inn.), respectively.

Tonight is throwback night. Players from each team are encouraged to wear their oldest NABA jersey to celebrate our league’s rich 17-year history.

Bad News for the Bandidos