DUCKS WIN AGAIN: SOUTH OAKLAND 5, D2 1

Uncategorized

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.

It is also a 12-minute drive from home plate to where the donger landed on Mutzig St.

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.

Gwin’s fundamentals are fun and mental.

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.

Blackstone watches on as Blackstone delivers a pitch. “Blackstone and Blackstone” may sound like attorneys at law but they are not; however, being from Sheraden, they likely have had legal representation at some point in their lives.

The next batter had a tipped third strike caught by Pulice for the second out.

If you zoom in close enough, you can actually see just how miserable Pulice is.

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.

Kenny awaits the dribbler; Kenny hates dribblers.

SOFT TOSS:

  1. The Ducks took the back-to-back games from D2 by a score of 8-3.
  2. 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.
  3. D2 likely feels as if they had some chances where they didn’t cash in; two fairly matched squads.
  4. 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.

Quack.

Guest Blogger: @donnieducko @lonzelle

Ducks Win: South Oakland 6, North Park 4 (9 inn.)

2021 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

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

Quack.

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

Ducks Win: South Oakland 14, South Hills 13

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

South Oakland (4-8) came back from an early 2-1 deficit behind an 8-run fifth inning, and then held off a late rally by the Devils (3-8) to win a wild one in Spring Hill yesterday. Ducks starter Randy Patton (W, 2-1) pitched four strong innings before turning it over to the bullpen. The bullpen had mixed results.

The game was tied 4-4 heading into the bottom of the fifth. The umpires were bad, but just typically bad up to that point. Then it escalated. They missed some calls for the Devils pitcher in the fifth, and the Ducks took advantage when he had to put it down the middle. TJ Morgan hit one off the fence in right that was a foot from going out. We hit a couple doubles and wound up putting eight runs on the board. The plate ump started arguing back with the Devils.

The ump told us we didn’t deserve better umpires. This guy was calling pitches when they were halfway to the plate. I’ve never seen that before. He was out of position all game, and let the game get out of hand.

South Oakland led 12-4 after 5. Our reliever had one out and one on, and the plate ump missed called strike threes on consecutive batters that would have ended the inning. Instead those guys walked. Then there were more bad calls and we walked in two runs. There was a double that cleared the bases, then a 2-run home run. The Devils put up 7 on three hits in the inning.

The Ducks added two in the bottom of the inning to take a three-run lead into the seventh.

Then the ump made more bad calls, tried to issue a warning, and he threatened to leave. He said he should give us $5 back and quit. He told one guy that if he wanted good umpires it would cost $300. One great line was, “Why don’t you get some grandma to stand behind the fence and call balls and strikes.”

It was ridiculous.

The Devils scored two runs in the seventh before Hoffman came in to close the game for South Oakland, stranding the tying run on second.

  • The Devils new uniforms are pretty nice
  • If our record was better, Stef Blackstone would be the hands down AA MVP this year. If we finish strong, he should win it.
  • TJ Morgan is having an incredible season at the plate
  • If there was ever a loss that could give a team momentum, it was yesterday’s for the Devils. They battled.
  • It would have been a devastating loss for us after we finally put together a big inning against a quality starting pitcher. This was a big win for us.
  • The umps really spoiled what was an important game in the standing for both teams. I don’t understand why some umps what to make the games about them. The other extreme is they are totally checked out sometimes and won’t even make fair/foul calls. Just be as consistent as possible, and try to get in position to make the right calls. That’s all anyone can ask for.

South Oakland plays next on Wednesday night, 9pm at Springview Field vs the Bandidos.

Quack.

Ducks Win: Face Oilers in Semifinals Tonight.

2020 South Oakland Ducks, NABA, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland eliminated the South Hill Devils, winning 9-1 in Elliot last night.

The Ducks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second before both benches received a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Ducks added three runs in the fourth, one in the sixth, and two in the seventh. The runs in the seventh inning came after the Devils starter beaned the Ducks second baseman after a bunt attempt. That loaded the bases for Pulice who drove in two runs with a fielder’s choice on a botched double-play attempt.

The Devils scored their run in the fourth.

Ducks starter Billy Welsh (W, 1-0) pitched five strong innings, and Fago went the last two to secure the victory.

Morgan and Lombardi had multi-hit games for the Ducks.

The Ducks play BIG OIL tonight, 8:00 at Moore Park. The winner advances to the championship series against the winner of tonight’s Bandidos Cranberry game.

Quack.

 

 

 

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

Ducks Win: South Oakland 3, Oilers 1

2020 South Oakland Ducks

Ducks catcher, Tom Pulice hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give South Oakland (5-5) the win last night in Spring Hill. Brandon Blackstone (W, 1-3) pitched a complete game for the Ducks.

Mike Brandt drove in a run in the third inning with an RBI single down the line in left to give South Oakland the lead. The Oilers (4-2) tied the game in the fourth. Liam singled to start the bottom of the seventh. After a correctly called intentional drop on a line out to short, and a strikeout, Pulice hit the game-winner. The 2018 MVP’s first home run as a Duck.

With the win, South Oakland evened their season series with the BIG OIL. These were two good games. The teams appear to be evenly matched.

At the halfway point of the season, South Oakland sits at 5-5. One game out of first,  tied for third with Cranberry who swept the Ducks this season, and a half-game behind the Bandidos who the Ducks swept. The Devils and Oilers are tied for first. It’s shaping up to be an exciting finish in AA.

The Ducks open a two-game series against Cranberry on Monday, 9pm at Springview Field.

Quack.

 

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

Ducks Win: South Oakland 6, South Hills 1

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Box Score

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (4-4) took advantage of a six-run fourth inning and a solid start from Randy Patton (W, 2-0) to beat the Devils (4-3) last night in Spring Hill. Matt Schmidt pitched 2/3 inning for the save (1) in his first appearance as a Duck.

TJ Morgan had 2RBI for South Oakland to put the game out of reach.

The Devils and Ducks split their two game series. Each team won 6-1 at home.

Early season scoreboard anomalies in AA

We’ve won two extra inning games by three runs, beating the Eagles 7-4 (9 inn.) and the Bandidos 6-3 (8 inn.).

The Eagles have lost 2 extra inning games this season. Losing in 9 to the Ducks and the Oilers.

The Oilers (3-0) won their first two games on their last at bat. Walk-off wins against the Devils and the Eagles. They beat Cranberry by 6.

South Oakland opens a two game series with undefeated BIG OIL next Tuesday. Time and location tbd. We might play at historic Moore Park. That would be fun.

quack

Ducks Win: South Oakland 6, Bakery Square 3 (8 inn.)

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Box Score

The South Oakland Ducks of the Northside won their third straight game Sunday in Spring Hill. Billy Welsh (W, 1-0) threw 7 innings for his first win as a Duck, and James Fago struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth for his first save of the season.

The Ducks held a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, then Bakery Square tied the game on an Eric Friend, two-out, two-run double to left. John Friend led off the inning with a bunt single.

Matt Mullen led off the eighth with a single and stole second. Tom Pulice drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with a double to the right-center gap. Gwin and Brandt also drove in insurance runs in the inning.

Big missed opportunity by the Bandidos to not rebrand as the Toros, and go with these unis.

The win brings the Ducks record to 3-3. The Bandidos fall to 2-2.

South Oakland plays next against the Devils, Monday night, 8pm at Volunteers Field in Carrick.

Quack.