Gameday 15: Ducks vs Devils

2019 South Oakland Ducks

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

vs

South Hills Devils (9-8)

8pm

West Field

The Ducks and the Devils will try to separate from the middle of the pack in a matchup full of playoff implications, tonight in Munhall. South Hills looks to avenge an early season 8-1 loss to the Ducks. Tonight’s game figures to be a much closer contest.

A win tonight, and our upcoming forfeit victory against West View and suddenly we could find ourselves on a three game winning streak. So it’d be a 2-for-1 tonight if we can beat the Devils at home.

Bad news for South Hills

 

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Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, Biscuits 1

2019 South Oakland Ducks

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side defeated the Bandidos by a score of 4-1 on Biscuits Day, Sunday morning in East Liberty. South Oakland started the game with 8 players, and Bakery Square was unable to capitalize.

Ducks starter Colton Fago (W, 2-2) pitched four strong innings; Ben Sorosky struck out 4 in 1 2/3 innings, and James Fago recorded the four-out save (3).

The game was played under protest due to a potential misinterpretation of a rule by the plate ump. In question was whether two base runners making contact on the base paths counts as a runner passing the baserunner ahead of him. It came up because of a wild play late in the game.

In the fifth inning, with runners on first and second, Casale doubled up the hill in center. The Bandidos centerfielder almost made the catch and then made a great relay to the plate, but the ball was dropped after the first tag was made. Initially both runners were called out, but the umps conferred and got the call right, which would have been nice last game.

I was walking back from the bathroom when this happened, and watched from the parking lot in center field. I think the protest is moot at this point.  It was a really good throw and some not super base running/coaching, which has been a trend lately. We’ve veered from aggressive and smart to reckless and stupid on a few occasions.

Another weird footnote this season. The time we were almost victimized by an amazing 8-4-2 double play. That ball would have rolled forever at West Field. Or maybe Friend would have been playing deeper at West Field and it would have been caught. Who knows?

Here’s where I digress into a mid-season summary of the AA season, using Cranberry and the Bandidos as primary points of reference since we just played them both.

 

The Bandidos (2-11) are really struggling this season, while first place Cranberry (11-1) has been the surprise of AA. Everyone else is jumbled in the middle.

The Ducks (7-7) have lost to Cranberry twice by one run in games that came down to the last at bat. We beat the Bandidos twice, 6-4 and 4-1, two well-played close games. Cranberry beat Bakery Square 8-7 in their lone matchup this season.

Has Cranberry just gotten every bounce this year while the Bandidos have been on the wrong side of every bounce? Will there be hard core correction to the mean in the second half for both teams? Who knows. Probably not. Now we’re getting into intangibles and confidence and that stuff, while overrated in general, is certainly contagious.

I’m not sure what this means except AA is really competitive this season, and a lot of this comes down to a few plays. Random lineup decisions that come back to hurt teams, or when a couple starters are out and there’s a hole in the defense, and maybe you skate by because you have your best pitcher going or maybe you save him for the next night and that game is rained out. Cranberry has done an awesome job at minimizing bad luck. Bakery Square hasn’t, and we’ve been average at it. Weddings, work schedules, vacations, benders, rain, setting the pitching rotation and then more rain, etc. So much shit that’s unrelated to baseball impacts teams, or can, and I think dealing with it is both the most frustrating and rewarding part of managing. But there’s still so much luck involved. When we win with our B team, and guys take advantage of opportunities, it’s great. When we lose, every decision was wrong.

So is the difference between Cranberry and Bakery Square one run or 9.5 games?

So I don’t know if we’re unlucky or what, but I know we have pitching, finally, and we haven’t been able to put together enough big innings.

My conclusion: Everyone in AA has a shot to make a run in the playoffs. Except for West View.

The Ducks next game is 8pm Wednesday night at West Field vs the Devils.

Thanks to the Friends for the use of their bases for my daughter’s softball game, which she won.

Gameday 14: Ducks vs D2

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (6-7)

vs

Pittsburgh D2 (4-8)

8:30 pm

Herschel Park

South Oakland will try to get back to .500 tonight in Elliot. The Ducks have lost the last three games by a total of five runs. South Oakland lost 4-0 to D2 the last time the teams met.

We’ve been shutout three times this season, but our pitchers have also thrown two shutouts. The goal now is to finish in the top six, avoid the play in games, and get our offense in a better place for the playoffs. You don’t want to peak too early.

Some combination of Fagos will throw tonight. Maybe 55, will give us an inning.

Bad news for D2

Gameday 13: Ducks vs Cranberry

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (6-6)

vs

Cranberry Crusaders (8-1)

8 PM

West Field

South Oakland looks to even the season series against Cranberry tonight in Munhall, and keep their slim hopes for a first round bye alive. The Ducks dropped the last meeting between the two teams 5-4 in 8 innings.

Cranberry is winning a lot this season. If all the previous years’ standings and hadn’t been lost in the site migration, I’d look at the variance in runs for and allowed and try to figure out if this season is lucky or based on overall improvement.

In a relatively short season, streaks are obviously even bigger. A team can play over its head for a month and never see a true regression to the mean. Throw in a couple good pitchers and you can run away with it.

At 6-6 we are underachieving, and have only scored about 4 runs per game. On the plus side we’re allowing 3.5 runs a game, and any other year that would probably be good for a couple more wins at this point. We’ve had bad luck with runners in scoring position.

Our team is going to start hitting or we won’t. I think we’re due.

Bad news for Cranberry

Gameday 13: Ducks at Oilers

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

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (6-6)

at

Hebrew Oilers (9-5)

6:45 PM

Mellon Park

South Oakland can sweep the Oilers and keep their slim hopes for a first round bye alive with a win tonight in East Liberty. Field conditions will not be great, but the BIG OIL has their grounds crew standing by.

The Ducks have not found their groove offensively yet, which is disconcerting given we are past the halfway point of the season. Good pitching has kept them in every game. Hopefully the team heats up in the second half. If not we will be fighting to stay in the top six and avoid a play-in game.

Bad news for the Oilers

 

Gameday 12: Ducks vs Jays

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (6-5)

vs

Sheraden Jays (6-3)

8pm

West Field

South Oakland looks to take the season series from Sheraden tonight in Munhall as the teams meet for the second time in a week. The Ducks won last Wednesday’s game 5-2.

The Ducks sit in fifth place, a game behind Sheraden. A win tonight will keep the team in the hunt for a bye.

We should have most of our starters tonight, and Colton is going to pitch again after recording nine strikeouts against the Jays last Wednesday.

Bad News for the Jays

Gameday 9: Ducks vs BIG OIL

Uncategorized

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

at

Hebrew Oilers (7-3)

7:30pm

Mellon Park

South Oakland starts off a week of playing the two most likable teams in AA in East Liberty tonight when they take on the defending champs who have no ringers at all and are a completely legit AA team that in no way is good enough to move up.

Tomorrow the Ducks play Sheraden at West Field. The commissioner will be in uniform for South Oakland, and I wonder if the Jays will be stupid enough to start another fight. I think I’ll have a brief history of NABA fights next week. My two readers can look forward to that one.

Anyway, let’s take care of tonight first. We need a win to stay above .500 and keep the Oilers within striking distance.

Bad News for Big Oil

Gameday 7: Ducks at D2

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (4-2)

at

Pittsburgh D2 (1-5)

8:30pm

Herschel Park

South Oakland looks to keep pace with the division leaders with a win tonight in Elliot against a D2 team with a surprisingly poor early season record. Last year we swept D2, but they had a bunch of good pitchers. I don’t even know what D2 stands for.

But they are not twice as many laughs as the original.

If we’re not flooded out, this is the start of 4 games in five days. This weather has been brutal. It should be a close game tonight if we play. Memphis will probably bean some guys if he pitches. Hopefully the week off doesn’t favor the team full of 22 year olds.

We have Quinn pitching tonight, who is second on the team in Ks per 7, with 11 strikeouts in 7 innings so far this year (Zingle, 1.1 IP, 3K).

Bad News for D2

Ducks Win. South Oakland 8, South Hills 1

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

Ducks starter Blaise Smiley (W, 1-1) pitched four innings, allowing zero earned runs on three hits and zero walks. Blaise won his first game as a Duck and recorded his first base hit of the season on a bunt in the sixth inning that sparked a five-run rally to put the game out of reach.

Both teams were short-handed, and the Devils were playing their third game in two days.

South Hills scored an unearned run in the first and lead 1-0 through three. South Oakland took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on three doubles and a walk from Lombardi, Pulice and Colton and James Fago.

In the top of the fifth inning Ducks outfielder, Mark Lombardi singled, advanced to third on two passed balls, and scored on a ground out to put the Ducks up 3-1.

In the top of the seventh, South Oakland chased the Devil’s starter, and scored five runs on four hits, an error and a couple walks, some of which were off the South Hills relief pitcher.

Ducks reliever, Cody Quinn pitched two scoreless innings, and James Fago blanked the Devils in the seventh.

South Hills drops to 4-4 on the season, while the Ducks improve their record to 4-2, and stay within striking distance of undefeated Bauerstown (5-0), and the Hebrew Oilers (6-2).

South Oakland plays next vs D2, Wednsday, 9pm at Springview Field.

 

 

Gameday 6: Ducks at Devils

2019 South Oakland Ducks

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

at

South Hills Devils (4-2)

12:30pm

Herschel Park

South Oakland looks to get back on track after a tough loss to the Grizzlies when they travel to Elliot to take on the Devils. This is a rematch of last year’s epic 10-inning loser’s bracket semifinal that basically assured neither team would be rested or have enough pitching to advance to the finals.

Devil’s manager, Rich Rodi will likely deploy the neutral zone trap, in an attempt to stifle the Ducks breakout.

It will be the Devil’s third game in two days, band both teams figure to be short handed due to the holiday weekend. I’m excited to play a day game. 9pm on a weekday feels a lot later than it did ten years ago. Anyway…

Both teams have championship aspirations, and both teams are currently chasing the Grizzlies (4-0) and Oilers (6-2) in the standings. It should be a closely contested affair.

Bad News for the Devils