Team Awards

2017 South Oakland Ducks, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

The Bandidos won the title, after having split from the AAA Dirty Birds of 2016. Now they will move up again. Maybe they will just fold and split again instead? They’ve done an awful lot of branding to go that route. But maybe they’ll become the Astros. Winter meetings should be interesting. They are deserving champions and from what I can tell a bunch of solid guys. The top seeded Eagles lost after a pretty dominant regular season. The Oilers and Ducks were both upset early. 11th seeded D2 was in the semifinals. I wish they would have won it, and gone from A to AAA in two years.

Those first couple Wednesdays when we don’t have a game are always tough. This was a frustrating year for the format to go to single elimination. We had too much time off, I guess, and lost to a hot Express team who almost upset the Bandidos in the semis.

Next year, I’m going to reschedule a rainout for the week prior to the playoffs so we don’t have this problem again.

After another fun season, we once again fell short. We should return most of the same guys next year. Hopefully we can add an arm or two. It was frustrating to have Ben Sorosky and Randy step up, only to have guys who pitched well for us last year not show up to a lot of games for various reasons.

Here are the team awards.

Pitcher of the year: Ben Sorosky 

After not throwing for a few seasons, he came back and gave us solid innings every Wednesday. He was a great teammate and good clubhouse presence. Also had many sweet sacrifice bunts.

Defensive player of the year: Tom Pulice

Tony is probably the best defensive shortstop in the league, but I can’t give him this award every season, plus he was hurt for a while.

Tom came in and was arguably our MVP. Teams didn’t run on us this year, and he handled the pitching staff well.

Co-Offensive players of the year: TJ Morgan and Mark Lombardi

Check their stats. They both raked. We had a good of a 3-7 in the order as we ever had.

MVP: DJ Dover

Dover had possibly the most impressive single season I’ve seen as a Duck. He broke the single season HR record, lead the league in RBI and, and got pitched around a lot towards the end of the year. Bakery Square is not upset they didn’t have to face him in the playoffs. Dover also played short when Casale was out and provided serviceable defense there. Not lost in all this is that he drove from Erie every game and made all but two games when we had guys who wouldn’t show up for seemingly no reason. Also ran BP before every game for those who could make it.

For next year, we need pitching. We offer excellent run support and a home field with shitty lights where it’s hard to hit.

I think next year, we should plan on entering a tournament because it will be fun to take the show on the road and maybe bring some ringers along.

I want to thank all the fans who came out and everyone else in the league for making this year happen. Joe Graff for running the league and dealing with all the bullshit. Thanks to everyone who read the blog.

Finally, I want to thank my teammates for giving me another year to play ball. For a singles hitting hustle guy to play on a team full of former college players, albeit old ones, is pretty great. I’m happy I can contribute. As long as I can run out there in center, I’ll keep managing this team.

Quack

 

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Playoff Gameday 1: Ducks vs Express

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA

(3) South Oakland Ducks of the North Side

vs

(6) Carrick Express

3pm

Moon Park

South Oakland looks to advance to the semifinals with a win over Carrick today in Moon. The winner will play the winner of the Cranberry / Bandidos game at 5pm in game one of the semifinals.

Their game was supposed to be played on Saturday, but was probably rained out. Not sure how that rescheduling effort is gonna work out.

So far the #11 seed Devils have upset the #4 Oilers, the Express eliminated West View with a commanding 11-1 win, and Cranberry knocked out Wexford in a 3-1 thriller. On the other side of the bracket, Bauerstown and D2 were rained out.

This season has been long and full of rain, and weird games. I think we mostly played to our potential this year. A few frustrating losses.

Every off season, I talk with the coaching staff about what we need to do to get better, and how we can take the next step to win a championship while still keeping the core group together and not just cutting off the bottom third of our roster.

For a lot of years, it’s felt like I would make moves and add guys based on what it would’ve taken to win in the previous season, only to see the other teams make bigger moves, and we’ve mostly been one or two guys short.

Our lineup is fine, we have ten guys who hit over .300 this year, 13 with an OBP over .400. Dover is probably the league MVP this year, and any other year it would likely be Lombardi with the numbers he’s put up.

Pitching will be what decides this post season. Will he have the guys there to eat up the innings and throw strikes? Will we make the routine plays on defense, and not run into outs on the base paths?

Carrick is going to have momentum coming into this game and will be playing with a lot of confidence. It would be great to get out to an early lead.

All I can ask for as a player and a manager going into a season is a chance to be in every game, and to have a shot at winning a title. We are right there, we’ve been waiting for the playoffs all season, and we have a great opportunity to advance to the semis. This season has been a lot of fun, we have a great group of guys, and I am not ready for it to end.

Bad News for the Express

 

Gameday 23: Ducks at Eagles

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side

vs.

South Side Eagles

12pm

Herschel Park

South Oakland looks to win their third straight game today vs. South Side.

This game features the two best hitting teams in the league. This is also a matchup of potential MVP candidates as Dover (24) and Noonan (21) will vie for the RBI title. I know counting stats are somewhat meaningless, but both of those guys are on Hack Wilson-esque paces. Ducks outfielder Mark Lombardi is also in the MVP conversation along with a bunch of other Eagles. I need to start padding our stats more. We also should have league awards.

Here’s a link to a site some guy on Cranberry created. 

It has all the playoff probabilities for each team. I think it’s lagging behind the league site in games played, but it’s pretty great.

This season went fast, like it always does. Let’s play hard and enjoy this one before the playoffs get here and I start chain smoking and pacing in the dugout. Our record against the top four teams isn’t great (2-3-1), and we don’t want to get swept by these guys. A win today would do us some good going into the post-season, even if we are pretty much locked in to the 3 seed.

Bad News for the Eagles

 

Lost Scooter, Acid Flashbacks, and Roster Expansion

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

After losing out yet again on a division title with a tough loss to the Eagles last week and ceding the Brendan Chartier Memorial Spring Hill Scooter to the rival Oilers, South Oakland rebounded and won two games by a combined score of 25-4.

Friday, 7/7

Ducks 2, Oilers 5: I don’t know what happened here. We were short 6 starters and played the Oilers tough for seven innings before losing to that lefty again. Vinny Casal reached base 3 times, recording 2 HBP, and one walk. TJ Morgan, who is quietly putting together a spectacular season at the plate, went 1-2 with a HBP, and I think an RBI. I was on vacation. My bad, guys.

Wednesday, 7/12

Ducks 12, Wexford 4: South Oakland trailed 3-1 after two innings, but sent ten batters to the plate in the third, scoring 6 and the Sorcerers never really threatened after that. Dover went 2-for-2 with a sac fly and a walk. Sorosky pitched five innings for the W, and John Zuzak pitched two solid innings in relief, with 4Ks in his second appearance on the mound this season. Chris Heisler went 0-2 with a HBP.

Note: Sorosky pinch hit for a Ducks outfielder after what was an apparent mild acid flashback in the middle of an at bat. This year, we’ve had a pitcher and a pinch hitter enter a game in the middle of an at bat, both times due to injury.

Friday 7/14

Ducks 13, Devils 0: DJ Dover went 2-for-2 with two doubles, 2 intentional walks, and 5 RBI.

We called up the Camello brothers from the Single A Mariners to pitch, and they shut down South Hills, both of them had a hit as well. If the Mariners ever fold, they would look good in green and gold.

Ducks Shortstop Tony Casale almost completed and an Ozzie Smith-esque diving stop/barrel roll throw for a put out, but the Devils runner beat out the throw by a step. The Casale brothers turned a sweet double play up the middle. Lots of brothers in this game. It would have been great if Chuck showed up. John Zuzak, drove in a run with a bases loaded walk in the fourth, and added an RBI single in the fifth.

Joe Graff played an inning at shortstop, and an inning at third base. He has played every position this season. Matt Swetz went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.

South Oakland’s next game is Sunday,12pm at Herschel Park vs. the Eagles

quack

 

Gameday 19: Ducks vs. Eagles

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (11-5-2)

vs

South Side Eagles (12-4-1)

9pm

Springview Field

 

Both teams are rested and ready to go after the holiday weekend. We lost a tough game to the Eagles, 5-4 early in the season, but both teams should be better tonight. I expect another close one. The Bandidos keep winning at the top of the standings, but I feel they are due for a tie in some kind of weather or electrical failure in their last few games.

We can move into second place with a win and keep our hopes for a division title alive. I’ve already written too much about the importance of this game in yesterday’s post. So here’s the Dude:

Bad News for the Eagles

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.

 

Comeback Kids. Ducks 8, Grizzlies 6; Ducks 8, Grizzlies 8

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (11-5-2) came back from a six run deficit, scoring seven runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to beat the Vancouver Grizzlies last night in Spring Hill.

The Grizzlies starting pitcher was solid, and kept the Ducks off balance while Vancouver staked a 6-1 lead after five.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth, Dimas Maldonado hit a 2-run double, igniting the offense. Maldonado’s double was followed by four straight singles by Gwin, Dover, Lombardi and Pulice.

Here’s a recap of the game via NBA Hang Time for Sega.

Ducks starting pitcher, Mike Annerino gave South Oakland a strong start, allowing one earned run through four, and reliever Randy Patton had some bad luck on a tough hop on a grounder to third with two men on that lead to four runs in the fifth, but kept the Ducks in it.

Jon More recorded the save.

In the suspended game, some guy hit a cheap home run to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. South Oakland’s left and center fielder were camped under the ball and watched it land just on the other side of the fence.

After the Ducks left a runner on third in the top of the seventh, Ben Sorosky entered the game and kept the Grizzlies off the board to secure the tie.

Play of the night was Ducks left-fielder Lonnie Petril throwing out the potential winning run at home to end the game. Going back to the rain-delayed first five innings of the game, the Ducks came back from an 8-5 deficit to tie the game.

Watch out for the Grizzlies in the playoffs they are better than their record might indicate. I bet Big Country is going to get in to five games before the post season to crush teams in the low post.

South Oakland is now in third place, half a game behind the Bandidos, and one game behind the Eagles, with one game in hand on Bakery Square and two big games vs. South Side left on the schedule.

We have a tentatively scheduled game vs. the Devils this Friday, 8:30 at Springview, but management is trying to reschedule the game.

Quack

 

Gameday 17: Ducks vs Bauerstown

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (10-5-1)

vs

Bauerstown Grizzlies (7-7-1)

9pm

Springview Field

A win for the Ducks tonight would pull the team back within a half game of the Eagles (12-4-1) and the Bandidos (13-6). The Grizzlies are trying to stop a three game losing streak and get back over .500.

League-wide, this season has been characterized by a bunch of ties and blackouts. It reminds me of my early twenties, most which I also spent playing for the Ducks. Seven of eleven teams in Double A have a tie, and the new guy at the city can’t keep the lights on. The stretch run this season is going to be interesting.

We’ve already had a tie, a rain-shortened game, a suspended game, and a game in which the lights went out in the bottom of the first inning.

South Oakland’s previous game against Bauerstown was called early due to a thunderstorm with the Ducks leading 8-7 heading into the bottom of the sixth. That game will be made up after the regularly scheduled seven inning game is played, if time permits, and the lights stay on.

The Ducks are coming off a big win against the Express, and should field a more complete lineup than the last meeting between the two teams.

Bad News for the Grizzlies

Derailed. Ducks 9, Express 1

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Brian Strom went 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI, and Randy Patton mowed through five innings to lead the South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (10-5-1) past the Express (7-8) last night in Carrick.

After the Ducks went down in order to start the first, the Express took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the second, Brian Strom hit a bases loaded double followed by Jon Moore’s RBI ground out to take a 3-1 lead.

The Ducks added a run in the fourth when Chuck Zuzak beat out a double play ball for an RBI fielder’s choice.

In the fifth, the Ducks broke it open. Casale singled and scored on Gwin’s double to right. Lombardi walked, Morgan beat out an infield single, before Pulice hit a scorcher that some guy threw away, plating two more runs.

7-1 Ducks after five.

South Oakland added a run in the sixth off Sorosky’s RBI fielder’s choice, and another run in the seventh when Lombardi doubled home Dover.

Then their pitcher appeared to throw at Lonnie for some reason. If this was 2009, it probably would have resulted in a shit show.

Chuck Zuzak pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings, striking out 3 batters.

We haven’t lost two in a row this season

Big team win after dropping last week’s game vs. last place Cranberry. Everyone contributed. We beat a great pitcher.

Bloomfield residents Strom, Gwin and Moore went a combined 7-for-10 with two doubles and four RBI

Other stats of note:

Lombardi: 3-3, BB, 2B, RBI, 3R

Mike Brandt: 0-0, HBP

Lonnie Petril: 0-1, HBP

The Ducks next game is Wednesday, at Spring Hill vs. Bauerstown. Time tbd, in case we finish the suspended game first.

quack

Gameday 17: Ducks at Express

2017 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (9-5-1)

at

Carrick Express (7-7)

8pm

Volunteer Field

South Oakland of the North Side looks to rebound after a tough loss to Cranberry tonight in Carrick.

We always play like the walking dead against that team at least once a year.

Here’s a quick look at the standings, followed by some expert analysis that someone will undoubtedly take offense to and get me beaned.

Someone once told me good writing contains fractals, the way the narrative breaks apart naturally into threads and those threads move in an arc towards the conclusion.

Will 2 Dirty 2 Birds: Return of the Bandidos have such an arc, continuing to win titles before being forced to move up and break apart and buy new unis every other year? Will the teams with games in hand make them count? Will this blog ever have good writing, aside from Donnie’s guest posts?

Quick info  on the Bandidos motorcycle gang linked below. Interesting for the other team that plays in Bakery Square to be named after these guys.

Big missed opportunity for Eagles Sunday, day game unis

The Eagles stormed out of the gate before hitting a rough 0-4-1 stretch and returned to the pack a little. They have won two straight, I think. They’re still in first and still probably the team to beat. They hit the shit out of the ball.

The Oilers dropped one to Cranberry as well last week, and have likely been struggling to find consistent pitching aside from that lefty. This is all a guess. Perhaps we jumped the gin on their ringers coming in and shutting it down, but I’m sure that have something up their collective sleeve for the stretch run.

Bauerstown is overall pretty solid. We are hopefully going to finish our suspended game before starting our second game against them on Wednesday. That will be a big night for us if we can hold on to the win in the game in which we are up 1 in the bottom of the sixth, and potentially sweep that night. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

West View scuffling along at .500 is probably the biggest surprise of the season. Maybe teams aren’t as intimidated by the atmosphere at John Herb anymore. Who knows. It will be interesting to see if they get a bunch of rain outs rescheduled in time, and how that will effect the standings.

The Cranberry, D2, Wexford, Devils grouping is still good enough to sneak a game here and there form a top team. Should be an exciting stretch run.

The Express are still the Darkhorse to make a deep run this season. With the emotions of this likely being their last year under current management and their future in doubt they have extra motivation. Plus the pitching depth.

But they still have a long way to climb up the standings. Tonight, we can pull within a game of the Eagles, and keep pace the Bakery Square. We always give Carrick a good game. Four of the last five have been decided by one run. We need to hit tonight.

Smoking man seems fitting for this game.

Bad News for the Express