South Oakland looks to even their semifinal series against the Grizzlies tonight at the Duck Pond. The Ducks played the Grizzlies to a 2-2 tie through five innings in game one before the bullpen allowed five runs in the bottom of the sixth. South Oakland stranded several runners early.
The Grizzlies have not slowed down after one of the best regular seasons, record-wise, in recent memory. The Ducks will need timely hitting and another good starting pitching performance if they want to avoid elimination.
Winning this game will take all we’ve got. I like our chances at home, playing for our season.
Ducks End Regular Season on High Note. Face Devils in First Round
Back in 2003 the Piranhas had this guy Gustavo Lopez (behind Boley, holding bat), and used to just kill us. He hit like seven home runs in that first year, and hit well over .500. We played out in Ambridge on a tiny field past Economy Park on the other side of rt. 65 across from Red Cap Dry Cleaners. During the regular season, Lopez hit towering home runs into the little league field beyond ours. We would walk him late in the game even if it put the tying run on base. He was cocky, and proved to be one of the leagues first great villains. He’s probably a good guy. I don’t really know him.
In 2003, we had a so-so regular season. We were mostly all happy to still be baseball again. The morning time slot 45 minutes away from Oakland did us no favors. Almost all of us were hungover, still, drunk or smoking weed to calm our nerves on the long ride to the games. We finished fourth out of five teams, and made a run in the post season to our first championship over the Piranhas.
Lopez was a non-factor in the championship. Playing at John Herb the rainbow arced home runs he hit at Ambridge turned to fly outs. When we made the move to wood bats, he hit .176. I have no idea what he’s doing now.
South Oakland clinched the four seed behind a solid spot start from Ben Doak (W, 1-0), and clutch hitting from Mark Lombardi Wednesday night in Spring Hill. With the win, South Oakland took the season series from the feisty Piranhas who upset them earlier in the year. The Ducks will be the home team tonight at Moore Park in an elimination game against the Devils.
Playoff Gameday 1: Ducks vs Devils
South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (13-11)
South Hills Devils (13-11)
Both South Hills and South Oakland started slow this year, lost a dominant pitcher, and still put together winning seasons. The Ducks and Devils both sit at 13-11. The Ducks own the tie breaker thanks to winning a tough season series in what many believe has become the premier rivalry of AA Pittsburgh NABA baseball. There’s not much to say here that would do this one justice. It’s been a great season, and it’s a shame one of these two teams has to go home early. Hopefully the Moore Park magic of seasons past is on our side.
South Oakland split a weekend set with the Bandidos, winning Friday’s game 5-2, and dropping Saturdays game 2-1. On the season, the Bandidos won the net runs by 1, and took two of three from the Ducks. They also won the negotiating rights of disgruntled, pitcher/outfielder Greg Friend who is set to become a restricted free agent after the season.
“Maybe after next year,” a source in the Ducks front office said. “We wish him the best.”
“Is this real?” Friend asked. “I wish I’d known about this before the game.”
Bandidos management was not available for comment.
Friend made a great catch in Friday’s game and converted the save on Sunday.
South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (12-10)
Pittsburgh D2 (7-12-1)
Over the weekend, the Ducks clinched a non-losing record with their twelfth win. After a rough start, the team has rounded into form winning 9 of 12 down the stretch.
A win tonight would clinch the fourth seed and ensure a home game in the first round of the playoffs. We’d also stay mathematically alive for the three seed, depending on the outcome of the Cranberry (11-11-1) and South Side (13-9) game. A Ducks loss tonight keeps the six seed in play.
We want to stay hot heading into the meat grinder of an opening round next weekend and what looks to be an inevitable rematch with the new look South Hills Devils.
D2 has been a tough matchup for us historically. This one could go either way as both teams empty their bullpens, but we have a slight edge playing at home. Our record at the Duck Pond has been great this year.
Brandon Blackstone (W, 6-1) scattered 5 hits and walked 2 over six innings to lead the Ducks to their eleventh win of the season. South Oakland jumped ahead thanks to a five-run second inning. TJ Morgan drove in three runs with a single off the wall. Ben Doak hit what looked like a home run into the overhanging branches in right, but settled for a double. Mark Lombardi had two hits and two RBI for South Oakland. Stef Blackstone faced 4 batters in the seventh for the save (2).
The win is the Ducks first over Cranberry since 2018, snapping an eight (?) game losing streak that included multiple extra inning games and some heart breaking loses. Let this be the start of a new streak.
South Oakland has matched its win total (11) from last season with four games to play:
Two vs the Bandidos are on the schedule with Sunday’s start time up in the air and Friday’s start time moved up 8pm.
The D2 game is tentatively scheduled for Monday night in Manchester but is subject to change pending a field upgrade.
The Piranhas have not yet confirmed a time and place for our makeup game with them.
We can finish as high as third and as low as sixth.
The Ducks play next on Friday, 8pm at Mellon Park vs the Bandidos.
South Oakland (10-9) lost 3-1 to the Grizzlies (19-3) last night in Spring Hill. Bauerstown hit a solo home run in the top of the first, and never trailed. They scored on off a walk and another off a double. TJ Morgan had the lone RBI for South Oakland. The Grizzlies pitcher kept the Ducks off balance all night. Both teams worked out of jams. Walks were the difference in the game.
The Ducks host Cranberry tonight at Springview Field, 9pm. These two teams have been on different trajectories since their last game. Cranberry is 3-7 in their last 10, while the Ducks are 7-3. However, South Oakland hasn’t beaten Cranberry since 2018. The games are always maddeningly close, but the Ducks seem to come up short. Tonight we have Brandon Blackstone going, and Springview is in the best shape of its life. Tonight is a great night to break a long losing street.
Ducks Starting pitcher Randy Patton (W, 3-1) threw four strong innings, and Tom Pulice drove in three runs to lead South Oakland to the win yesterday in Spring Hill.
The game was close until the bottom of the fourth. The Grizzlies led 4-2 before the Ducks sent ten players to the plate without recording an out. South Oakland scored nine in the fourth behind a three-run double by Tom Pulice. They added two in the fifth and one in the sixth. Brandon Blackstone pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
The Grizzlies clinched first place with a 13-0 win over the Eagles in the first half of the split double header yesterday. They ran out of gas in this one, and saved arms for Tuesday.
We were playing without most of our starting infield, and four starters. Tuesday’s game should be a good one against a rested Grizzlies squad with hopefully most of our starters. We need to take wins any way we can get them down the stretch, and we played well in this one.
Ben Sorosky: 3-for-4, BB, 2 RBI
Hayden Hoffman: 2-for-4, 2 RBI
Matt Mullen: 3-for-4, RBI
South Oakland improves to 10-8 with the win.
The Ducks next game is Tuesday, 8pm at Springview Field vs Bauerstown.
South Oakland opens up a two game series with Bauerstown today in a rare late afternoon game in Spring Hill. The Grizzlies are playing a split doubleheader today. they play the Eagles at 12pm at Herschel Park before barnstorming their way across two rivers to play the Ducks on the North Side. I give them a lot of credit for making the effort to get the game in.
Around the League
Standings as of 7/10
Bauerstown can clinch first place with a win or a Bandidos loss.
Cranberry has a double header against Bakery Square today.
The Devils have the easiest remaining schedule with four against the bottom two teams in the division.
The Eagles finish with Bauerstown, Cranberry and two against D2.
We have a brutal schedule down the stretch. Starting on Tuesday, we have five games in six days (we will play the Piranhas on Thursday the 15th) with the D2 game still to reschedule. If D2 gets scheduled for Monday the 19th, that would be six games in seven days.
Individually, each game is winnable. Winning four of seven will keep us in the top half of the standings.
The last time we played Bauerstown, the Grizzlies won on a walk-off sacrifice fly. I like our chances in a close game at home.
South Oakland goes for the season sweep of D2 tonight in Spring Hill. The Ducks won against the Eagles last week. They hope to stay hot down the stretch and challenge for the third seed in the playoffs. D2 lost to Bauerstown last night, and is likely headed for the sixth seed and a play in game.
Injury update: Ducks ace, Billy Welsh suffered an upper body injury over the weekend, and may miss the rest of the season. The Ducks will lean on veteran pitchers Brandon Blackstone and Randy Patton down the stretch, and for a relatively untested bullpen to step up in Welsh’s absence.
The Ducks and D2 have played two great games this year, and tonight figures to be no different. I like our chances in a close game at home.
Billy Welsh (W, 2-4) pitched a complete game, and the Ducks offense came to life as South Oakland beat the Eagles Friday night in West End. The Ducks lead 1-0 early on a TJ Morgan RBI groundout, and scored 7 runs over the final three frames of what was a close game up to that point.
Mike Brandt, Dillon Williams, and Matt Mullen hit doubles for South Oakland. Brandt (3), Stef Blackstone (2), and Mullen: (2) also had RBI.
The eagles scored a run in the sixth.
The Ducks head into the 4th of July break having won six of their last seven games. They play next on Wednesday, 9pm at Springview Field vs D2.
The Ducks look to get back on track after a walk-off loss to the Piranhas ended their winning streak last week. Bauerstown is looking for a wire-to-wire first place finish. The Grizzlies magic number is 2 to clinch the one seed. They have put together a great regular season.
We are probably getting rained out, but if we don’t, it should be a good game at the Duck Pond tonight. Bauerstown won the first meeting on a walk off sac fly. We were missing a bunch of guys that game. Tonight we should have everyone.