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.
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.
Billy Welsh (W, 2-4) pitched a complete game, and the Ducks offense came to life as South Oakland beat the Eagles Friday night in West End. The Ducks lead 1-0 early on a TJ Morgan RBI groundout, and scored 7 runs over the final three frames of what was a close game up to that point.
Mike Brandt, Dillon Williams, and Matt Mullen hit doubles for South Oakland. Brandt (3), Stef Blackstone (2), and Mullen: (2) also had RBI.
The eagles scored a run in the sixth.
The Ducks head into the 4th of July break having won six of their last seven games. They play next on Wednesday, 9pm at Springview Field vs D2.
The Ducks look to get back on track after a walk-off loss to the Piranhas ended their winning streak last week. Bauerstown is looking for a wire-to-wire first place finish. The Grizzlies magic number is 2 to clinch the one seed. They have put together a great regular season.
We are probably getting rained out, but if we don’t, it should be a good game at the Duck Pond tonight. Bauerstown won the first meeting on a walk off sac fly. We were missing a bunch of guys that game. Tonight we should have everyone.
South Oakland looks to extend its winning streak to six games against an improved Piranhas team tonight in Brookline. The Ducks won 15-0 against East Pittsburgh in the season opener. Tonight’s game should be a tougher test for the Ducks. The Piranhas beat second place Cranberry 3-2 in extra innings last week behind a solid pitching performance by Matt Gayda and Dustin Grabowski.
In 2003, the Piranhas rotation was lead by Lesher and Heckman. Heckman was an ass, but an effective hard throwing lefty. He was passed over for the start in the finals against the Ducks in favor of that guy from Waynesburg that we knocked around. He famously clashed with management in subsequent years.
The Ducks and Piranhas had a solid rivalry in the inaugural NABA season. Craig Boley and Ben Gwin have not met in the playoffs since the league’s first year despite combining for close to 500 games played. The Ducks faded in the 2004 post season and had a few down years. By the time they were competitive again in 2008, the Warriors were at their peak but playing in the other division (At the time, we were split into Monongahela and Allegheny). I may have some details wrong. The death of the old website makes it hard to fact check.
The Ducks were on their way up, and the Warriors would start their decline. The leagues would split into A and AA, and the last chance for the franchises to meet in the post season ended when the Warriors forfeited in 2018 before a first round matchup with South Oakland.
Ducks 10, Senators 0
Matt Mullen (W, 1-0) threw a complete game, two-hit shutout as the Ducks rolled to their fifth straight win. South Oakland scored early and often in this one. TJ Morgan and Stef Blackstone are on a tear, leading a resurgent, opportunistic offense. With a few mid season acquisitions, and better attendance, South Oakland is playing like the team many considered a sleeper pick to make a run to the finals in the preseason.
Realignment Watch 2021
This year we will keep track of how the Senators and BIG OIL fare after moving up a division.
BIG OIL has won two of its last three, and is holding its own in the middle of the AAA pack.
Runs against: 73
Run differential: -29
The Senators have shown flashes this season, playing in some tight games and upsetting the top two teams in Cranberry and Bauerstown.
Runs against: 119
Run differential: -92
So far it seems the Oilers are acclimating better to a higher level of play, but the Senators have yet to play two-win East Pittsburgh. Both the Oilers and Senators could play spoiler in the playoffs of their respective divisions.
There’s nothing like a Thursday night at Moore Park. A win tonight puts us tied for third. NABA great Ben Sorosky is scheduled to start. The crafty veteran should keep us in the game until we can turn it over to the bullpen.
The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side defeated a well-balanced D2 squad by the score of 5-1 in front of a packed bleacher of enthusiastic fans on a mild late Spring evening at Spring View Field, improving the Ducks record to 7-7 on the season. It was the second straight win of this home-and-home series across back-to-back nights against D2. It also marks four straight wins for this veteran club who seemingly have found our stride.
Brandon Blackstone took the mound for the Ducks and immediately recorded his quickest inning of the night. The Ducks got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first when Stef Blackstone led off with a walk and moved to second on a groundout by TJ Morgan who nearly beat out the throw (TJ’s hustle was rewarded with several hard ciders after the game). Stef moved to third on yet another groundout this time time by Tom Pulice which set up Mark Lombardi to do what he does best which is make stuff happen. Lombardi looped a single to right, scoring Stef. 1-0 Ducks heading into the second.
The second inning netted no runs for either side. Brandon cruised again in the top half and the Ducks’ Jason White hit into a double play to end the bottom-half of the inning. White’s mustache appeared to be safe but his foot was a fraction of a second behind the throw.
The D2’s got on the board in the top of the third inning with a homerun ball that probably smashed into the hood of some busted-up and abandoned multi-colored Pontiac Fiero. Google Maps shows this ball likely landed somewhere along Mutzig Street which sounds like a made-up street but I promise you it is there. Mutzig St has no houses and leads to a dead end so that ball will live there for eternity because there is no way any of us are going there to retrieve it.
The Ducks quickly quacked back in the bottom of the third as TJ Morgan drove in Stef Blackstone from first base on a hit and run with a deep drive to left-center. 2-1 Ducks.
In the top of the 4th Brandon Blackstone stranded a runner at third on a sick 1-2 pitch for a strikeout. In the bottom half, D2’s pitcher dominated and struck out the side. He pitched well and has a long beard. In the top of the 5th Blackstone flirted with danger once again by loading the bases but again stranded all runners. The bottom half of the 5th saw Ben Gwin lead off with a crispy grounder to second base which couldn’t be handled by the D2 second baseman. After a strikeout, Mullen grounded into a fielder’s choice when Gwin was thrown out at second. Then Mullen stole second base, followed by a bloop hit to left by Stef Blackstone which scored a speedy Mullen. TJ Morgan walked which brought Mullen back onto the diamond to pinch run. He then took second and Stef took third on a wild pitch. Tom Pulice couldn’t convert but the Ducks had already knocked in 1 run that inning. 3-1 Ducks. Note: prior to the game, Gwin played goalie for his dek hockey team (whose players seemingly range in age from 13 to 71 years old) and won 2-1 in overtime to claim the championship. Congrats to Gwin for standing on his head on the dek and then beating out infield singles in the dirt.
Blackstone rolled in the top of the sixth and got some help on a hit-ball that deflected off his mitt and into a double play. The Ducks tallied two more runs in the bottom of the sixth off a new D2 pitcher. Lombardi walked and Kenny had a fantastic at-bat which resulted in a two-strike single. D-Will walked to load the bases. Ben Doak then hit a bloop single to left which dropped in and allowed Lombardi to score. Gwin hit into a weird double-play situation just behind second base which left both runners in no-man’s land. His at-bat did plate Kenny, which pushed the Ducks ahead for good at 5-1.
Stef Blackstone stepped in to relieve his brother Brandon in the 7th. Stef threw some smoke, but the first batter hit a spray hit to shallow right field where Lombardi raced in to make a diving catch to record the out. It was a dope display of athleticism. If that ball were to drop, it feels like the inning may have got away from us. Alas, it was not to be for D2. After a Spring Hill Hop over second baseman Brandon Blackstone (who was subbed in at second for Stef Blackstone who was subbed in to pitch for Brandon Blackstone), D2 had runners on first and second.
The next batter had a tipped third strike caught by Pulice for the second out.
The final batter of the night hit a soft dribbler to third where Kenny Rayl made a slick scoop and toss. Ballgame: Ducks 5, D2 1.
The Ducks took the back-to-back games from D2 by a score of 8-3.
These two teams square off one more time this regular season back at the Pond in early July, with South Oakland already claiming the series win in the best-of-three.
D2 likely feels as if they had some chances where they didn’t cash in; two fairly matched squads.
The fans were great. There were women, wives, babies, dogs, coolers filled with ice and beer, siblings, girlfriends and grandparents. All on a pleasant evening in June. Gosh it felt like a southern night and we were all back in 1986 casted in a music video for one of those great “Alabama” songs, not like the modern country music videos with the over-the-pants-handjob visuals and recreational fingerbanging references. This felt like good-ol’ wholesome, American fun.
The Ducks will enjoy a week off then look to keep the winning streak alive while staying back at the Pond to host the Senators next Wednesday.
Ducks starter Billy Welsh (W, 2-3) was dominant last night in Elliot. Welsh threw a 13K, complete game gem, and TJ Morgan drove in the winning run in the seventh inning to lead the Ducks to their third straight win. D2 scored two unearned runs without hitting the ball out of the infield. The Ducks never trailed in the game.
South Oakland can take over sole possession of fifth place with a win tonight. Ducks (6-7) vs D2 (6-6-1), 9pm at Springview Field.
South Oakland opens a home and home against D2 tonight in Elliot. D2 took last season off after a run to the finals in 2019. That year D2 made a run to the finals. They started the playoffs with a forfeit win over the WOLFPACK when West View folded. Somehow the Ducks played a home game at Herschel Park that year and lost a brutal game behind a terrible missed call, the lights going out, and a freak injury to their star catcher. Hopefully the lights stay on tonight.
D2 always has good pitching, and are historically a tough matchup for us. I think they also have some former Jays on their team, so that should lend itself to a festive atmosphere. Tonight should be a close game. I think we have most of our starters. A win will give us a chance to get back into the mix for a bye out of the first round of play in games. Right now we’re a game and a half out as we kick off a stretch of four games in nine days. It seems like the bounces are starting to go our way again. I like our chances in a close game tonight.
South Oakland abolished the filibuster, and held off a late obstructionist push by the Senators, winning a 6-4 thriller in extras yesterday in Homestead.
Ducks starter Randy Patton left with a 3-2 lead in the fifth. The Senators tied the game in the fifth and the seventh, but could not take the lead. The Ducks went ahead for good on a two-out, two run single by Gwin in the ninth. Brandon Blackstone got the win in relief, and recorded his first hit as a Duck.
Cody Quinn, TJ Morgan, Mike Brandt, and Kenny Rayl hit doubles.
Morgan is gunning for another batting title.
We were short handed, but our pitching staff did a great job.
The bullpen not only pitched well, but took advantage of getting some rare at bats.
I may be getting the innings wrong. It was hot. The Senators battled.
We really need guys to show up this week vs D2. These two games are huge. They are right in front of us in the standings.
The Ducks next game is Tuesday vs D2. 8:30pm at Herschel Park