The South Oakland Ducks defeated the Sheraden Jays 4-3 to advance to the NABA Double A Championship Series, Sunday evening in Spring Hill. It was the Ducks third straight road win at Springview Field in three days.
TJ Morgan and Alex Swauger led the Ducks offense with three hits apiece, pacing the team to a 9-6 victory over the Bandidos. Tom Pulice had 3 RBI and Anthony DeFilippo hit a solo home run. Casen Wolinsky (W, 2-0) pitched five strong innings, and Luke Hudic recorded the two-inning save (1).
In the losers bracket semi-final, Zach Gift pitched a complete game (W, 1-0), and the Ducks scored 5 runs in the first inning to chase D2’s starter. Tom Pulice hit a solo home run in the fifth to put the game out of reach. Final score: Ducks 6, D2 2
In the losers bracket final, the Ducks came back from an early 2-0 deficit behind a strong start from Randy Patton and another save from Hudic (2). Patton (W, 1-1) allowed one earned run through six, but the Jays capitalized on two, first-inning Ducks errors. South Oakland scored one in the third, two in the fourth and one in the sixth. The Jays added a run in the bottom of the sixth on a fielder’s choice.
With the Ducks leading 4-3 in the seventh, Hudic picked off a runner for the first out after a questionable catcher’s interference call, struck out the Jays’ leadoff hitter, walked a batter, then struck out MVP candidate Luke Gapinski to end the game.
The Ducks will face the South Side Eagles in a best-of-three series for the title.
The Ducks advanced to the finals for the fourth time in team history. We beat the Piranhas in 2003 and the Black Sox in 2010. We lost to Elliot in 2011.
We are 5-1 in the playoffs with five of six games as the visiting team. Our one home game was at Herschel Park, and we played three consecutive road games at Springview, our home field.
We beat D2 twice by a combined score of 16-4. D2 beat us 10-0 when we last played them in the regular season.
Before this year, we had never played the Bandidos or Cranberry in the playoffs. We played them both this post-season: a 7-0 loss to Jon Hart at Cranberry, and a 9-6 win over the Bandidos on Friday.
After hitting zero home runs in the regular season, we have hit three in six playoff games (Rayl, Defilippo, Pulice).
Entering the tournament as the no. 7 seed, we beat the 8, 6 (twice), 5, and 2 seeds to reach the finals against the no. 1 seed South Side Eagles.
The Eagles earned a double bye in the playoffs, and beat the Bandidos and Sheraden in the winners bracket to advance to the Championship Series.
Today’s win got us back to .500 on the season (15-15).
Date and time of Game 1 of the Championship Series is tbd.
What a run.