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

 

 

Gameday 13: Ducks vs Eagles

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

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (5-7)

vs

South Side Eagles (2-10)

9pm

Springview Field

Probable starters:

Ducks: Patton?

Eagles: Horowitz

The Ducks look to rebound tonight, after back-to-back extra innings losses to Cranberry. The standings are still pretty tight, but South Oakland finds itself two games under .500 with eight games left, 2.5 games out of first. A division title is mathematically unlikely at this point.

The Eagles are 2-10, and that’s not a great record, but they shut us out earlier this year, and took us to extra innings the other time. At least tonight we are at the Duck Pond, our record is pretty good there.

We need to win some games and get on a roll before the playoffs. It would be great to get a home game in the first round if we miss out on a bye. We want to peak at the right time. Tonight is as good a time as any to start a winning streak.

Bad News for the Eagles

 

Gameday 12: Ducks vs Cranberry

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

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side

vs

Cranberry Crusaders

9pm

Springview Field

Probable Starters:

Ducks: Blackstone

Cran: Valenti

The Ducks look to avoid a season sweep by Cranberry tonight at the Duck Pond. Cranberry has historically been a bad matchup for us, but I don’t think they’ve ever swept us. I could be wrong. Either way, tonight is a big game. We don’t want to be two games under .500 heading into the Eagles series against their new guy who shut us out last time we faced him.

I think we are finishing up last game before we start the next one, but I’m not sure.

We may lose an extra inning game by double digit runs. That’s no small feat. Maybe we will score eleven with two outs. Monday really devolved. Still, with a win tonight we can get out of this two game set even, and jump back in the mix for a bye.

Bad News for Cranberry

 

 

Gameday 11: Ducks vs Cranberry

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

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

vs

Cranberry Crusaders (5-5)

9pm

Springview Field

Probable Starters:

Cranberry: Germani (1-1, 12 K, ERA: 3.13)

Ducks: Welsh (1-1, 26 K, ERA: 2.95)

The Ducks open a two-game series against Cranberry tonight in Spring Hill. South Oakland needs a win to keep within striking distance of what is shaping up to be an exciting pennant race.

If you haven’t already, go vote for Player of the Decade at Cranberry’s blog. Andy does good work over there. He was an actual journalist once.

Everyone is really even this year. The Eagles have lost a couple tough games, too, or it could be even tighter.

It will be interesting to see how the first place Oilers fare when they get a bunch of games in a week. How they handle their games in hand will determine a lot. So far they’ve only lost to us and Cranberry.

Bandidos and Devils played a scorcher last night. At the halfway point of the season, Bandidos CF, Eric Friend is making a strong case for Double A MVP. He’s putting up Dustin Winston type numbers.

2020 has had an old school PGH NABA feel to it. Maybe I’m just overly nostalgic and more appreciative of this season after being stuck in my house all spring. There are all-time stats floating around, and  all-decade teams. Moore Park is back in the rotation, the Carrick’s ace took a couple teammates to the Devils, and the heart and soul of the Black Sox is playing in South Oakland. All the games feel more important. I think there’s a different vibe this season. I hope we all get through it safely.

We need to make a pushThis two game series against Cranberry is big, especially if it comes down to tie-breakers at the end of the year.

We always play well at the Duck Pond. Springview is in the best shape of her life.

Bad News for the Crusaders

Gameday 9: Ducks at Oilers

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

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

at

Hebrew Oilers (3-1)

7:30pm

Moore Park

Probable Starters:

BIG OIL: Pearson

Ducks: Welsh

South Oakland travels to historic Moore Park to play the Hebrew Oilers tonight. This is our first game played under “yellow” conditions. If I did anything right as manager, it was quitting before this season. What a mess. The last game between these two teams played at Moore Park ended in a 6-6 tie. It was so long ago, I still had enough of an arm to throw out a runner. Those were the days. Outfield assists and no pandemic.

BIG OIL lost to Cranberry 13-3 on Sunday, but they only had eight guys. We’ve had a good rotating cast of villains in this league (including the Ducks) and our share of rivalries. The Oilers are right up there in both categories.

They have always beaten us when it matters, though, and as evenly matched as we’ve been over the years, they have a title and another finals appearance under their belt. Both years they beat us in the playoffs after we beat them in the regular season. This is kind of how it was with us and the Black Sox for years. We could never get passed them until we brought in Fago the first time. Since 2010, we’ve made most of our personnel additions from within the league. Usually when teams fold (Hurricanes, Owlz, Militia, Bulldogs and most recently the Black Sox) or their manager pisses off a bunch of players like the Bulldogs. Longevity has benefitted us in this regard. The Oilers don’t add many guys from within the league.

This is a big series for both teams.

We have a few former Black Sox who will feel at home in Brookline tonight. Hopefully that gives us the edge we need.

Bad News for the Oilers