A Look at the Playoff Bracket and a Holiday Weekend Long-read

2017 South Oakland Ducks

Not a huge difference between finishing 2nd and 3rd. However, the team that wins the regular season has a buy into the semis.

Based on the standings above and a quick look at the schedules, I think only 4 teams control their own destiny at this point. Bandidos, Eagles, Ducks, Oilers. Everyone else needs help, except Cranberry, South Hills and D2 who can’t win the division.

We have five games left in eleven days, plus a floater vs. the Wolfpack that their coach won’t get back to me about rescheduling. Not sure how that one’s gonna work out.

This Wednesday’s game is one of the biggest regular season games in recent memory. Probably not since the Black Sox rivalry days has this much hung in the balance.

If we win it, we can basically punch our ticket to at least the 3rd seed. The Oilers would have to finish 6-2, including a win over us to catch us, plus with a win, we can still catch Bakery Square without help.

If we lose, we need the Eagles and Bandidos to both have what would amount to minor collapses given they current records, and we would face an Oilers team on Friday that would have a chance to pull within a half game and probably that lefty again, and then the Devils on Saturday with a potentially dicey pitching situation on our hands for the third game in four days.

We haven’t won a division ever.

Here is a look at some non-first place finishes:

In 2003, we finished fifth out of six teams and won the title.

in 2004, we finished somewhere around .500 and lost to the Black Sox in the semis

Those years are foggy so I can’t really give a complete account. Though, I think I tallied it at one point.

We were then mediocre in 2005 and Swetz got hit in the sack in the playoffs and ended his pitching career. Earlier that season, Ducks legend Ian Dickman blew out his arm. We didn’t have a shortstop for the next 3 years, really.

We were bad in 2006 and 2007.

Resurgent in 2008 with an 11-9 finish including a playoff clinching win over the Ben Sorosky led Rakers. I went 0-for-3 vs. 55 in that game.

We went 16-8 in 2009, finishing 3rd, 1 game behind Brookline and six games behind Ken Cool’s team that went 20-1 and ended up losing to the TJ Morgan-led Hurricanes.

In 2010, we finished 18-6 and won the championship, but the black sox finished 16-5 and beat us twice and won the regular season.

That year the Ben Sorosky led Militia beat the Fighting’ TJ Morgans in the quarterfinals, before losing to us in the semis. The recap of that Hurricane’s Militia game is the most read blog post in the history of this blog.

We went 19-5 in 2011, with 3 losses to eventual champion Elliot who won our division.

We went 17-6 in 2014 and finished second the the North American Lions > Dirty Birds > Bandidos > Reprise

2015 and 2016 we didn’t finish over .500, but we made a great playoff run last year.

This turned into a history post at some point.

I’m realizing now, I’m already old enough to get nostalgic about my early adult league days (maybe more so than my high school and legion days). I should really be writing something more important than this, but it’s too late. Looking back through fifteen years, brings me back to a lot of the shit I had going on at various points in my life, and how great it has been to have baseball to balance that. Also that it will be great to have a little less bullshit going on at some point, so that baseball can feel less like the cause of some of the bullshit and less like another responsibility. And at times it does feel like that instead of just fun.

I’ve tried many times to find a way to work the Ducks and our league into an essay or a story of some kind for an actual publication, but it’s tough. It always feels like I’m relying too much on the corny Field of Dreams nostalgia, that doesn’t quite get at the pure joy there is to be had, even at 36, from being able to continue to play this game, and how that joy juxtaposed with the struggles in real life can lead to something work reading.

I obviously push and have often exceeded the limits of an acceptable amount of time for a single parent trying to establish a literary career while doing glorified temp work, to put into playing and managing and blogging about adult league baseball. But the more bullshit I have going on with me, the more I need to be able to set aside a few hours to just worry about a game and my teammates and my team, an at-bat.  ]And I think there are guys on our team, and in our league and other’s like it who feel the same way.

I can see it in some of my teammates faces how badly they need to leave shit behind them before they walk down those busted steps into the Duck pond. I just don’t know how to connect that idea to a bigger audience or use it to speak to a bigger truth in a manner that hasn’t already been done.

It is great to write about baseball in this setting, and try to shake off the rust when I haven’t written in a while, and at least form sentences in a low-pressure setting while providing a service for the few of you who read this, whether you hate it or love it. To give back in some way to the league that’s allowed me to play for fifteen years using this medium is great. Even though no one really blogs anymore, I don’t think.

I’m not sure how long I can keep running this team, but if I ever step down it will be with a heavy heart, and a replacement lined up who knows a bunch of pitchers, but will give the current Ducks right of first refusal for roster spots. I also am not going to step down until the Back Sox fold. Which judging by their record, could be at any moment. That’s also a story for another blog post.

Going back I also realized the Eagles have been around since 2004, which is pretty long. I give them a lot of credit for sticking around.

Anyway, right now we sit at 11-5-2, and we are as solid a team as any in Double A. We don’t quit. I don’t think anyone wants to face us with their second or third starter in the playoffs when we have our starting lineup. Except Cranberry.

We haven’t seen the best of the Eagles, but they haven’t seen our best either. On Wednesday, if we give them our best we can win. We can beat anybody. Then it’s back to our day jobs and the shit we left at the top of the busted steps.

quack.

 

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Ducks Win; South Oakland 11, Carrick 1 (5 inn.)

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

Ducks starter, Ben Sorosky (W, 1-0) struck out five, and allowed one unearned run over four innings and DJ Dover went 2-for-3 with a HBP, three-run home run, and a game ending two-run single to lead the Ducks (2-1) to an 11-1 route over the Carrick Express.

Carrick jumped out to an early lead, scoring an unearned run in the first, on a walk, an error and a single.

South Oakland sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first, and took a 3-1 lead. Casale singled and took second on a wild pitch, Gwin singled, Lombardi doubled, Koshzow was hit by a pitch then Carrick turned a home to first double play followed by singles by Strom and Pulice.

the Ducks scored six in the second, Lombardi doubled in Casale, Koshzow was hit by another pitch, Morgan doubled to the wall, and then Dover hit a ball over the left field fence. It wasn’t a cheap home run.

Sorosky got out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the fourth thanks to a 9-3 double play, turned by Moore and Koshzow, and a strike out to end the threat.

Pat “Doc” DiPaola un-retired and pitched a scoreless fifth, hitting one batter.

Carrick’s third baseman made several solid plays in the field to keep the game from getting even more out of hand.

Some sats:

Eleven Ducks had hits

Pulice: 3 for 3

J. Zuzak: 0-1, SB

Petril: 2-2, R

Koshzow: 3-4, 3 R, 2 HBP

RBI

Dover (5), Lombardi, Morgan (2),  Gwin, Pulice, Strom

South Oakland’s next game is Sunday, 8:30 PM at John Herb Field, vs. West View

quack

 

Ducks Win

2015 South Oakland Ducks Baseball, Ducks WIn, NABA, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland snapped a two-game losing streak last night, beating the WOLFPACK 7-1 at Spring Hill.

Doc_Brown

Pat Dipaola pitched a complete game for his first win as a Duck, improving his record to 1-2 on the season. He struck out 6 and walked 2.

The Ducks took a 1-0 lead in the first when Tuomisto singled in Gwin. Gwin has been hit by a pitch in every regular season game the Ducks have played against West View in the last two seasons.

NYT2009012217442370C

West View didn’t really threaten until the third when they had a guy single and steal second with one out. Limbach threw him out trying to steal third, and Pat struck out the batter to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third, the Ducks added 2 more runs on four singles. After a fielder’s choice, Strom was by a pitch in the goin for his first RBI of the season. AFter a 2-for-2 night at the plate, Strom is batting .500 on the season.

duck water gif

The Ducks scored two more in the fourth when Nichols doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a throwing error by the thirdbaseman on Casale’s infield single. Casale was thrown out at second trying to advance. Then Gwin doubled and scored on another throwing error by the thirdbaseman.

WOLFFPAAAACKKKK!!!!

That kid had a rough night. He’s normally really solid over there.

West View scored a run in the fifth, loading the bases on 2 one-out singles and a walk, and scoring on a single to right. Doc worked out of the jam, getting a wolf to ground into a 1-2 out out, and then inducing a bases loaded flyout to center.

WOLFPAAAAACK!!!

It was during this inning one of their fans taunted Morgan in right. Because the league needs more old men who come to games and scream at the slightly younger men who are playing adult league baseball against their children or grandchildren. Great stuff.

The_Pack_Wolfpack_Party_cover

In the bottom of the sixth, Morgan hit a one-out single to right, driving in 2 runs to put the game out of reach.

Their pitcher threw over 130 pitches. We had many good at bats and wore him down. We didn’t make any errors.

This was a much needed win against a good team. We crushed the defending champs a week after losing to the last place Devils. It’s been that kind of year, but things are looking up.

With the win, South Oakland imroves to 4-7 on the season. The Ducks next game is 9PM Saturday night, at Moore Park vs. the Monsters.

quack.

 

Gameday 9: Ducks as Black Sox

2015 South Oakland Ducks Baseball

kennyP

Tonight we write another chapter in the history of a storied Pittsburgh NABA rivalry. There are a lot of guys on our team that haven’t played Brookline, or haven’t played them as Ducks. But I think they’ll learn quick. In 2007, I think, The Sox split and the Rebels were formed. From the Rebels came the Gray Bats and then the Militia. This current group of Ducks has several former Militia players. Last year when we moved down to Single A, several Ducks went to the Black Sox. Former Ducks manager and current outfielder TJ Morgan played on the Sox last year, current Sock, James Fago won a title as a Duck and managed the team for a couple seasons. Skovron was a Duck for two seasons. In 2010, Mark Guthrie shut down the Sox in game three of the finals to capture the Ducks 2nd championship.

razorr_ramon

Arguably the two most successful franchises in league history, the Ducks and Black Sox have been playing each other for nine years. This is likely the last season for the Sox, before they disperse and Rob Cool starts stalking Fago and that lefty they have.

There’s something about playing in Moore Park, with the terrible lights, the cigarette smoke and spilled beer in the the concrete bleachers, trying not to break your ankle in that gully on the first base line that brings out the best in the Ducks.

KellyLeak_cig

Bad News for the Black Sox

Ducks Win: South Oakland 12, Cranberry 11

2015 South Oakland Ducks Baseball, Ducks WIn, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland snapped a two-game losing streak Monday night at Magee Field, when Brandon Culp capped a two run seventh with a walk-off single to center.

The Ducks lead 2-0 after two innings on RBI from Dipaola and Koshzow.

Then Cranberry scored five in the top of the 3rd to take a three-run lead. Some guy hit one into the pool beyond the left field fence.

The Ducks answered, scoring three runs with two outs in bottom half of the inning when Cranberry’s catcher threw a ball into center on a double steal followed by TJ Morgan’s two-run single.

5-5 after three.

Cranberry scored two runs in the top of the fourth. In the bottom half of the inning the Ducks scored two to tie the game at seven when Casale singled, Gwin reached on an error, Culp walked and Koshzow singled home 2 runs.

7-7 after four.

At this point, the strike zone seemed to shrink, and there were a bunch of walks.

In the top of the fifth, Cranberry scored three runs on two hit batters, two walks, a single, and a fielder’s choice before Duck’s reliever Ben Sorosky induced an inning ending 1-6-3 double play.

In the bottom of the fifth, of course, the Ducks scored three runs to tie the game, again. Strom doubled to right to start the inning, and pinch runner Andy Nichols scored on a single by Galvanek. Then Tuomisto doubled in Galvanek, Gwin singled in Tuomisto.

10-10 after five.

Cranberry scored one in the top of the sixth. The Ducks were kept off the score board in the bottom of the inning.

11-10 after Six.

In the top of the seventh, Garrett Moore made possibly the catch of the year on a ball down the right field line. The defensive specialist/bullpen catcher/bench coach made a Full extension diving catch to rob a sure double. Ducks pitcher, Ben Phillips (3-0), then retired the side with a K and a ground out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Tuomisto drew a one-out walk, Limbach singled, and Casale hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners on first and third with 2 outs for Gwin who singled in Tuomisto to tie the game. Then, with runners on first and second, Brandon Culp hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and Casale scored from second.

12-11 Ducks.

What a game.

We only made one error: a low throw on a pickoff attempt at first. There were several fine defensive plays by the Ducks on the evening. Naturally, our defense won us this 12-11 game. Cranberry (4-8) made four errors.

Ducks of note:

Strom: 2-for-2, 2B, BB

Koshzow: 2-for-2, 2B, 2BB, 2RBI, R

Culp: 3-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, 2R

Casale: 2-for-4, BB, SB, 3R

South Oakland (3-4) next plays tomorrow night at the Duck Pond when they take on the first place Dirty Birds (10-3).

quack.

 

Ducks Lose

2014 South Oakland Ducks, pittsburgh NABA

West View 6, South Oakland of the North Side 2.

Ducks starting ptcher Brian Stom faced 10 batters through 3, and South Oakland lead 1-0 going into the top of the bottom of the 4th.

There were a couple plays that weren’t made by the Ducks, a walk or two, and the WOLFPACK scored five in the bottom of the fourth, and we couldn’t get back in it.

We ran out of a couple innings, We had 10 hits, but we weren’t able to string anything together. it was really frustrating.

At one point one of our guys ran into their catcher who was well up the line, and their catcher wanted to fight or something. It was ridiculous. Benches partially cleared. Everyone should have been tossed. No one was.

The West View pitcher threw a good game, working out of trouble a few times. Two of their guys hit the ball pretty hard, their four hitter, and that guy who no one seems to have seen play during the regular season.

After the game, the West View coach was nice enough to offer to play game 3 at their home field. Ducks management declined the offer.

*EDIT game Saturday will be at Stoneridge, time tbd

Contemporary country music sucks.

***

In other Pittsburgh NABA news, Jefferson Hills lost in the opening round of AA playoffs in a big upset to Cranberry. Then Cranberry took one look the Cherokee’s awesome alternate jerseys in their next winners bracket game, and forfeited. The Rebels were crushed by the Bulldogs, the Black Sox beat West End, in what has become an intense seres between the two teams. The Carrick Express can eliminate Jefferson Hills on Saturday. I hope it comes down to Brookline and the Cherokee and that their is a fight in the stands and lots of guys getting beaned. It would be like old times.

The other side of the Single A bracket hasn’t started yet.

quack

 

 

A menu of how to bribe an infallible attorney and the legality of a semi-pro amateur baseball league bribe

2014 South Oakland Ducks, pittsburgh NABA

It was recently brought to my esteemed attention that a certain TEAM!!! in the NABA attempted to bribe a previous Ducks regime into throwing games for a measly $50-$100. Because that TEAM!!! is still in the league, I wanted to set forth guidelines for how to bribe Ducks super-utility and leading home run hitter Anthony Ciccone (#2). The following actions will be undertaken at the stated cost below:

$10 – #2 will steal a base if currently on first or second. No determining whether he will be safe or out, but you can hand over a $10 and call a pitch out.

$20 – #2 will take the first two pitches of an at-bat, no questions asked.

$50 – #2 will get drunk for the game. Probably whisky. Alcohol choice subject to change, paying party responsible for all related expenses.

$100 – #2 will initiate a proceeding in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to have the TEAM!!!’s manager’s criminal record expunged. After filing, the billable rate will jump to $200 an hour.

$150 – #2 will bat right handed for the remainder of the game.

$200 – #2 will fight down a member of the TEAM!!!’s DUI charge to a simple traffic violation/public nudity.

$500 – #2 will get thrown out of the game by arguing with the umps on an out call on a clear force play.

$1000 – #2 will incorporate the TEAM!!! as an LLC or LLP in Pennsylvania and/or Delaware to shield them from personal liability.

Please note that for a contract to be valid, there must be an offer, acceptance and consideration. While this may constitute an offer, and payment may constitute acceptance, the legal consideration of a contract for semi-pro amateur NABA players to throw games is under current debate with Ducks upper management.

Also, Wandy Rodriguez might be signed by the Ducks this week.

Release the Quacken.

Signed,

ILikeKevinYoungEsq.

Game Day 13: Ducks at Monsters

2014 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (9-3)

at

Monongahela Monsters (5-7)

4:30pm

Brentwood Park

South Oakland looks to avenge an early season, 5-1 loss to Monongahela today in Brentwood. The Monsters are the only team the Ducks have not defeated. The Ducks need a win to stay tied for first with the WOLFPACK!!! (9-3) and Lions (10-4).

After a 3-0 start, the Monsters have gone 2-7. Monongahela seemed solid when we played them, not many easy outs in their lineup. They must have lost a pitcher or something. Or maybe they ran into these guys:

Game Day [10]: Ducks (6-3) vs Bulldogs (3-3)

Today’s game will be the Ducks first in Brentwood. Half our roster is on vacation, so we’ll test our depth. Brian Strom will take the hill for the South Oakland.

storm_x_men_goddess_by_xanthemann-d5iognt

Bad News for the Monstres

 

I woke up still in my baseball uniform two states away, and it was January.

2014 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Ducks 11 Warriors 1.

Ducks pitcher Brian Strom allowed one hit over five innings for the complete game victory, hitting two batters, walking one, and striking out two.

Twelve different Ducks reached safely or drove in a run.

Alex Riley went 3 for 3 with two doubles.

Mike Brandt went 2 for 3. He hit a double off the top of the wall in left, and  was nearly thrown out a second.

giphy

Ben Hartranft had two hits, but drove in zero runs, and pulled both hamstrings.

Lonnie the windmill Petril drove in a run when he hit into a 6-4-5-2 double play.

Garrett Moore was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and was the second out in the above 6-4-5-2 double play.

South Oakland of the North Side (7-2) has won four straight.

First place will be on the line when the Ducks play the WOLFPACK! (6-2) next Wed. 8pm Springview Field.

quack

Game Seven Recap. Strom Thurmond’s corpse: Ducks 14, Senators 5

2014 South Oakland Ducks, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, Recap

senators steven segal

The Senators jumped out to an early lead after Joseph McCarthy led off the game with a double, stole third, exploited America’s fear of communism, and scored on a fielder’s choice.

In the bottom of the first, after a single and two walks loaded the bases, Brandon Culp struck a blow for America and took Jesse Helms deep.

helms

The Ducks scored another run in the inning on Bob Faust’s fielder’s choice.

5-1 Ducks after 1.

The Senators kept the game close for an inning, when they added two runs in the second off an error on a potential double play ball hit by Rick Santorum.

communion pants

Santorum supports the above slogan.

The score remained 5-3 until the bottom of the third when South Oakland blew it open.

iceburgh

Iceberg doubled off the wall to start the inning, Dover singled the Ducks’ catcher to third then Faust walked, and Sorosky singled in a run to put the Ducks up 6-3. Gwin walked to load the bases with 2 outs for Ciccone who hit the Ducks’ second grand slam of the game and chased starting pitcher Ted Kennedy.

carinwater

10-3 Ducks after 3.

Riley made a diving catch in right in the fourth, then got lost on his way to center field in the fifth. Dorsek played an inning without his hat for some reason then pinch ran. Fetter threw a six-pitch inning in relief.

Alexander Daigle made an appearance. The Senators scored two more to make it 10-5 after 5.

daigle94sl-1

In the bottom of the sixth, the Ducks added three insurance runs on a double, two singles, an error, and a sac fly.

Ciccone retired the side in the seventh to end the game.

There was pizza and beer.

duck pnc

Misc:

  • Lost in all the grand slamming was a solid outing by TC, and a pretty clean game by our starting defense.
  • Our smaller home field may have helped with one of the home runs, but it also kept a few really hard hit balls in the gap to singles. It’s also not very easy to see at the plate.
  • The strike zone has been really wide all year.
  • Swetz only hits with runners on base. Our three through seven hitters had the following stats:
  • Ciccone: 2 for 3, BB, HR, 2B, 4 RBI
  • Culp: 2 for 4, HR, 2SB, 5 RBI
  • Swetz: 0 for 4, RE, R, 0 LOB
  • Galvanek: 3 for 4, 2B, SB, RBI
  • Dover: 3 for 3, 2B, SF, RBI
  • If our two hitter would get on base more, we’d be in even better shape.

quack