Gameday 4: Ducks vs Oilers

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

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (2-1)

vs

Hebrew Oilers (4-0)

9pm

Springview Field

South Oakland looks to win its third straight tonight when the Ducks take on the defending AA champion Oilers. Reports of the Oilers demise have been greatly exaggerated, apparently. They are returning a good team and have been in first place for the entire rain-drenched, opening month and a half of the season.

The Ducks swept the last regular season series against the Oilers, but lost to them 3-2 in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. It should be a good matchup.

The Brendan Chartier Memorial Scooter Series kicks off with the nominal rivalry trophy on the line. I don’t think anyone really wants to hold onto the actual scooter, which we confiscated from some local kids who threw it at us from the basketball court before a Ducks/Eagles game in 2016. This year the teams will play three times at three different venues (Springview, Mellon, West Field). Winner gets the trophy. The trophy is named after the Ducks former catcher who also moonlighted as an Oiler in a scrimmage game against Kenyon College.

We need to close the gap here so the Oilers don’t put too much distance between them and the rest of the league before everyone has to play four games a week to make up  all the rainouts. This is the start of a tough stretch for us, with the Devils and Grizzlies coming up. If the rain ever stops, this season is going to very competitive.

Oilers games are always fun. They’re a good litmus test. We will have almost a full squad tonight, so we will at least have them outnumbered. I like our chances at home.

Bad news for BIG OIL

 

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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

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

Gameday 23: Ducks at Bandidos

2018 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (13-9)

at

Bakery Square Bandidos (14-8)

8pm

West Field

The Ducks play an away game at home tonight vs the Bandidos in a makeup for a rain out earlier this season. A Ducks win will put South Oakland in third place, assuming a forfeit win over West View is awarded, while a loss will put us no higher than fifth, and force a first round, play-in game against Wexford, Boyce Park or Cranberry. Three teams that have given us trouble this season.

I’m excited for a meaningful game tonight. It’s been a weird year, at times it’s been extremely frustrating, but if we come out of this with a bye, none of that will matter.

Fifty five is ready to go tonight.

Bad News for the Bandidos

Gameday 22: Ducks at Express

2018 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (12-9)

at

Carrick Express (8-8)

8pm

Volunteer Field

South Oakland looks to avenge an early season loss to the Express tonight in Carrick, and continue on its recent hot streak. The Ducks have won three straight and four of the last five. Carrick has fallen off a bit after a hot start and has dealt with unfortunate scheduling/permit issues over the last month or so. They’ve only played 16 games with seven days left in the regular season.

A Ducks win will set up a showdown with the Bandidos on Tuesday that could possibly be for the third seed and a first round bye. The Ducks control their own destiny thanks to tie-breakers over the Oilers, Eagles, D2, Bauerstown, and a win over the Bandidos early in the season. Bauerstown losing one of its last two games would also help.

But none of that matters without a win tonight. These late season games are exciting, we’ve done a good job to get some wins over good teams and we will need another one against Carrick.

Bad News for the Express

 

Gameday 6: Ducks vs Grizzlies

2018 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (2-3)

vs

Bauerstown Grizzlies (1-3)

9pm

West Field

South Oakland looks to win its third straight game and get back to .500 after a slow start. Bauerstown looks to get back in the win column after two tough losses. These are two evenly matched teams. It should be a good game.

Here’s an old scorebook page:

Ducks vs Rakers? this is from like 2007. One of TC Jones’s first games as a Duck. My cousin Paul pitched for us. He was really good when he was sober. This must have been a night game.

Must be the Rakers. Note their #7 and 9 hitter. Barchie also pitched for the Ducks for a half season. He recorded 15 Ks in one game. I think that’s still a single game record.

We were just about to get really good. After TC came, he brought a bunch of Pitt Club players and we went from terrible to competitive. We started this year like 0-8 and wound up finishing like10-14 and narrowly missing the playoffs.

Bad News for the Grizzlies

Gameday 4: Ducks vs Jays

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

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (0-3)

vs

Sheraden Jays (1-0)

9pm

West Field

South Oakland looks to win its first game of the season tonight vs. 2017 Single A champion Sheraden. The Ducks need to get in the win column before the division is out of reach.

Here’s a random scorebook page from our illustrious 15 year history:

Ducks 6, Lions 4. This is from 2014. I really had fun that season. It was our first year not playing in the most competitive division, and not winning the title that year still feels like a missed opportunity.


It looks like we threw out a couple guys at home. Former manager, TC Jones started the game and went 2 innings, recording 2Ks. Looks like he pitched out of some trouble. We could use him this year. Ciccone came in to pitch the last few innings.

Alex Riley and Garrett Moore both played in this game for us. Hartranft and Swetz with RBI. Ciccone and Culp put the game out of reach in the fifth with back to back hits. I stole a ton of bases that year, so did Tony.

Great weather for baseball. Lets get a win tonight. 0-4 would be our worst start since 2007. We need a spark.

Bad News for the Jays

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

Playoff Gameday 1: Ducks vs Express

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA

(3) South Oakland Ducks of the North Side

vs

(6) Carrick Express

3pm

Moon Park

South Oakland looks to advance to the semifinals with a win over Carrick today in Moon. The winner will play the winner of the Cranberry / Bandidos game at 5pm in game one of the semifinals.

Their game was supposed to be played on Saturday, but was probably rained out. Not sure how that rescheduling effort is gonna work out.

So far the #11 seed Devils have upset the #4 Oilers, the Express eliminated West View with a commanding 11-1 win, and Cranberry knocked out Wexford in a 3-1 thriller. On the other side of the bracket, Bauerstown and D2 were rained out.

This season has been long and full of rain, and weird games. I think we mostly played to our potential this year. A few frustrating losses.

Every off season, I talk with the coaching staff about what we need to do to get better, and how we can take the next step to win a championship while still keeping the core group together and not just cutting off the bottom third of our roster.

For a lot of years, it’s felt like I would make moves and add guys based on what it would’ve taken to win in the previous season, only to see the other teams make bigger moves, and we’ve mostly been one or two guys short.

Our lineup is fine, we have ten guys who hit over .300 this year, 13 with an OBP over .400. Dover is probably the league MVP this year, and any other year it would likely be Lombardi with the numbers he’s put up.

Pitching will be what decides this post season. Will he have the guys there to eat up the innings and throw strikes? Will we make the routine plays on defense, and not run into outs on the base paths?

Carrick is going to have momentum coming into this game and will be playing with a lot of confidence. It would be great to get out to an early lead.

All I can ask for as a player and a manager going into a season is a chance to be in every game, and to have a shot at winning a title. We are right there, we’ve been waiting for the playoffs all season, and we have a great opportunity to advance to the semis. This season has been a lot of fun, we have a great group of guys, and I am not ready for it to end.

Bad News for the Express