Gameday 9: Ducks at Oilers

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

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

at

Hebrew Oilers (3-1)

7:30pm

Moore Park

Probable Starters:

BIG OIL: Pearson

Ducks: Welsh

South Oakland travels to historic Moore Park to play the Hebrew Oilers tonight. This is our first game played under “yellow” conditions. If I did anything right as manager, it was quitting before this season. What a mess. The last game between these two teams played at Moore Park ended in a 6-6 tie. It was so long ago, I still had enough of an arm to throw out a runner. Those were the days. Outfield assists and no pandemic.

BIG OIL lost to Cranberry 13-3 on Sunday, but they only had eight guys. We’ve had a good rotating cast of villains in this league (including the Ducks) and our share of rivalries. The Oilers are right up there in both categories.

They have always beaten us when it matters, though, and as evenly matched as we’ve been over the years, they have a title and another finals appearance under their belt. Both years they beat us in the playoffs after we beat them in the regular season. This is kind of how it was with us and the Black Sox for years. We could never get passed them until we brought in Fago the first time. Since 2010, we’ve made most of our personnel additions from within the league. Usually when teams fold (Hurricanes, Owlz, Militia, Bulldogs and most recently the Black Sox) or their manager pisses off a bunch of players like the Bulldogs. Longevity has benefitted us in this regard. The Oilers don’t add many guys from within the league.

This is a big series for both teams.

We have a few former Black Sox who will feel at home in Brookline tonight. Hopefully that gives us the edge we need.

Bad News for the Oilers

Ducks Win: South Oakland 6, Bakery Square 3 (8 inn.)

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Box Score

The South Oakland Ducks of the Northside won their third straight game Sunday in Spring Hill. Billy Welsh (W, 1-0) threw 7 innings for his first win as a Duck, and James Fago struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth for his first save of the season.

The Ducks held a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, then Bakery Square tied the game on an Eric Friend, two-out, two-run double to left. John Friend led off the inning with a bunt single.

Matt Mullen led off the eighth with a single and stole second. Tom Pulice drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with a double to the right-center gap. Gwin and Brandt also drove in insurance runs in the inning.

Big missed opportunity by the Bandidos to not rebrand as the Toros, and go with these unis.

The win brings the Ducks record to 3-3. The Bandidos fall to 2-2.

South Oakland plays next against the Devils, Monday night, 8pm at Volunteers Field in Carrick.

Quack.

Ducks Win: South Oakland 14, Bakery Square 8

2020 South Oakland Ducks

Box Score

The Ducks (3-2) overcame an early 6-0 deficit and stormed back to beat the Bandidos 14-8 in Spring Hill Wednesday night. Randy Patton (W, 1-0) scattered 8 hits over six innings for the victory, and Brandon Blackstone pitched a scoreless seventh. Yohei Sekiya went 2-3 with 4 RBI for the Ducks. The Bandidos fell to 2-1 on the season.

This was a wild one. It was 6-0 Bandidos heading into the bottom of the second. Then their starter walked a bunch of people, and we scored 4 runs. They added another run in the top of the third, and we answered with a six-run inning. It was 10-7 after 4.

Patton settled down and had a couple quick innings.

Then They brought in another guy, and we scored two in the fifth, and two in the sixth.

Eric Friend pitched the sixth for Bakery Square. He made a nice catch earlier in the game in center field.

Our 4-7 hitters this game (Lombardi, Rayl, Gwin, Fago) have over 50 years of NABA experience between us. We all reached base at least twice. Veteran at-bats.

Gutsy performance by Patton on a night he got hit around a little. It looked like this one might get away from us, but we battled, and he gave us a chance to come back.

Missed opportunity by the Bandidos to not get 80s Padres style uniforms when they got new ones.

The Ducks and Bandidos play again Sunday, 9:30am, at Spring View Field

Quack.

 

 

Gameday 5: Ducks vs Bandidos

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (1-3)

vs

Bakery Square Bandidos (2-0)

9pm

Spring View Field

Projected starters:

Ducks: Patton

Bandidos: Friend

South Oakland looks to start a winning streak tonight against the resurgent Bandidos. After a thrilling extra inning win against South Side last weekend the Ducks are back in the win column and feeling confident. Tom Pulice earned his first win as Ducks manager. He’s the fifth coach to win a game for South Oakland.

Ducks managers by year:

  • Gwin: 2003-07
  • Jones: 2008-09
  • Gwin: 2010-11
  • Fago: 2012
  • Morgan: 2013
  • Gwin: 2014-19
  • Pulice: 2020

Based on this pattern, I’ll be back in 2022. The Billy Martin of the Pittsburgh NABA.

Last year the Ducks swept the Bandidos. In 2019, Bakery Square had a statistical anomaly of a season, winning like five games and suffering a bizarre defeat to a short handed Eagles team in the playoffs. But it looks like the odds may have swung back in their favor this season as the Bandidos are off to the best start in team history.

These teams have been rivals since the days of Zack King and the Mon Valley Dirty Birds, when the aforementioned King tried to fight our whole team for some reason. 2014 was a great year. That season, the Dirty Birds played at West Field before the renovation.

After a two year hiatus, the South Oakland Ducks of the North Side are returning to the North Side. We will play our home games at Spring View Field.

West Field was nice, I guess, but the borough was impossible to deal with, and the seeds/maintenance situation was ridiculous. The big dugouts were a nice change of pace, but the lights were impossible there. We tried to get a couple early season dates there this year, and after they charged me for them, they said they were cancelling the whole summer, and turned around and gave a DNL team a permit. I’m still waiting on my refund.

Tonight is a homecoming for the Ducks.

Bad News for the Bandidos

 

 

 

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, Bauerstown 1

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

Mark Lombardi drove in three runs and Matt Mullen (W, 2-0) scattered four hits over six innings to lead the Ducks past the Grizzlies last night in Munhall.

Mullen worked out of a jam in the first after a hit batter, a single, and a delayed steal put runners on second and third with two outs. Mullen got their five hitter to groundout and end the inning.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth. MVP candidate Tony Casale moved to third on Derek Clark’s single and scored on Lombardi’s sacrifice fly.

Mullen worked around a single and two hit batters in the fifth with the help of Tom Pulice who threw out a guy trying to steal second.

The Ducks left the bases loaded in the fifth.

Lombardi threw out a guy trying to stretch a single to a double in the top of the sixth, but Bauerstown clawed a run across with a single and a series of ground outs.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Ducks scored three to put the game out of reach. Casale singled to start the inning, and went first to third on Pulice’s well placed single up the middle two batters later. Maldonado, running for Pulice, took second with the infield playing up. Lombardi drove in two runs with a single to left, and took second on the throw home. Mullen drove in Lombardi for the Duck’s fourth run.

James Fago recorded his franchise record fifth save of the season.

  • Big win against a good team
  • Grizzlies employed the no doubles defense for most of the game, leading to a few 300 foot singles
  • Casale’s numbers this year are MVP worthy. He’s at least in the conversation. That guy from Cranberry and the Grizzlies guy are also good.
  • Ran out of baseballs right at the end of our last home game. Perfect timing.

South Oakland’s next game is Friday night against the Oilers, 7pm at Mellon Park

Gameday 17: Ducks vs Bandidos

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (9-7)

vs

Bakery Square Bandidos (3-13)

8pm

West Field

After a forfeit win over West View on Sunday, the Ducks looks to extend their winning streak to four tonight against the better-than-their-record-indicates Bandidos.

In a celebration of South Oakland’s seventeenth season in the Pittsburgh NABA, and the rich history of our league, the Ducks will host throwback night tonight in Munhall. Players will wear their oldest NABA jerseys in what will be a collage of awesomeness out on the turf.

The 2019 Ducks feature players who have played for the Hurricanes, Black Sox, Owlz, Knights, Orioles, Rakers, Gray Bats, Militia, Bulldogs, Bombers, (Steel City when they were still a fed league team), Maulers, Oilers and the Express. Possibly more. Also, many of the Bandidos have played on the Ducks in recent tournaments in Columbus, and made solid contributions to the franchise on and off the field.

Nine of the teams mentioned earlier are defunct. Only the Bulldogs and Oilers remain. I think TJ Morgan might be the last Hurricane in the league. A franchise that burned so brightly for a few years it was destined to destroy itself with its own power.

Running a team is hard. Keeping a men’s league team going for the better part of two decades is probably a symptom of a mild psychological disorder. Last year the Black Sox folded and this year the Express dropped out, and I think that’s all the Brookline off-shoots in the league. The Black Sox spawned like five different teams.

I repeat a lot of these stories on the blog, but I think it’s important to have a perspective on the league’s history, and now with the old website dying, we’ve lost most of the stats from the last 16+ years. Baseball more than any other sport, for better and worse, is about numbers and nostalgia and tradition. Our stats don’t really matter in real life, but they are part of the story of the league and a record of a past summer. Stories of ringers and sandbaggers and fist fights and cheaters. For the Ducks, aside from maybe four seasons, it’s a story of being one piece away from a championship. As we added that missing piece, others left, or the rest of the league took a bigger step forward then we did. Hopefully we cam put it together and make a run in the playoffs this year before I hand over the managerial reigns.

Sorry for the digression.

We can’t overlook the Bandidos. They are clearly reeling, but it’s hard to sweep anyone in double A. Bakery Square is bound to snap out of it and start winning at some point. Let’s make sure it’s not tonight.

Bad News for the Bandidos

 

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

Everyone Cheats – South Oakland Ducks 2018 Preview

2018 South Oakland Ducks

If you haven’t paid, you need to pay me. Everyone needs to register on the league site before Tuesday. Same deal as every season. For fuck’s sake, register and pay your league dues. Guys who haven’t paid will sit.

No metal spikes on the new field. Get turf shoes, molded cleats or sneakers.

The first week of the schedule is up. We open with back-to-back games.  4/17 at BIG OIL; 4/18 vs WOLFPACK!!!

Tuesday at Mellon Park, 6:45pm. Former Oiler Randy will start in the grudge match, provided we aren’t snowed out.

Wednesday, West Field, 9pm. Starter TBD.

Roster Notes:

We have added a couple guys who can hopefully pitch, and first baseman Eric Tuomisto is back in town.

We lost utility player and closer, John Moore, and there are a couple guys who are up in the air right now. We have essentially the same lineup as last season.

This season marks our fifteenth in existence. With the Black Sox folding, the Warriors are the only other original five franchise still in the league (they were the piranhas in their first season, and we beat them for the our first championship). I started the Ducks when I was 22 and could still run and my back wasn’t all fucked up. Someone please take over for me. I’m old.

The Black Sox were our greatest rival when both teams were winning games, and this league was arguably at its peak. Certainly the blog was at least readable back then. So much has changed. Baseball lends itself to nostalgia. It’s fucking weird to be nostalgic about the early years of an adult league, but probably healthier than being nostalgic about high school or college ball. I’m incredibly grateful and very fortunate to still be able to play baseball and enjoy it. I don’t take our team and the league for granted.

Having said that, I will probably tear my ACL on the turf during warmups before our first home game.

I think Craig Boley and I are the last two players who have been in the league all 15 years of its existence. Boley kept the league running in the sketchy early days, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts. I’m trying to get Boley to come play for us this season. I’ll poach the shit out of your players, Newman! Contract talks with Boley are ongoing.

We have a new home field. West Field in Munhall, former home of the Homestead Grays. It was recently renovated, and is now all turf. Pittsburgh NABA’s North American Lions used to play there back in 2014.

Over the years, I’ve put hundreds of hours into getting Spring Hill playable and I’ll never have that time back. Now, with the turf field, we should have fewer rainouts, and I will never have to rake it. It should help our infield play, and reduce the risk of dangerous bad hops. The dugouts are actually big enough to fit our whole team.

We will play two home games at the Duck Pond this season. Spring Hill is never in good shape, but I loved playing there. I might feel differently if I was an infielder. I’ll miss driving up that hill past all the meth addicts out on their stoops. The flying scooters, and how pissed off some teams were that they had to play in Spring Hill.

Ducks, another reminder: Pay me. Register. See you Tuesday.

Let’s win it this year. If our new pitchers work out, we have a great shot at it.

Quack.

Gameday 6: Ducks vs. Eagles

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

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (4-1)

vs

South Side Eagles (3-0)

9pm

Spring View Field

The Ducks look to win their fifth straight tonight when they play the undefeated South Side Eagles.

These games are always close. We beat them by 2 in the playoffs last year, like 13-11 or something. I assume tonight’s game will be lower scoring, but also close.

I still remember when the Eagles had a left shortstop who also pitched and had this huge looping curve ball that was pretty good. That was in like 2007. The Eagles franchise has been around for a while. Ducks pitcher Adam Smith defected one year to play for the Eagles in 2008, which intensified the rivalry between the clubs and between him and one time Ducks manager and pitcher, TC Jones.

I don’t know. Since the early days, the eagles haven’t really had much of an identity other than the team that can hit. Ducks and Eagles were in different divisions for a while after the A – AA split, and then again, I think, after the second reshuffling when the Ducks dropped down, the Eagles moved up which has made it hard to develop much of a rivalry.

That guy with the mouth piece sure fucking talks a lot though. However their coach makes sweet bats. Cancels out I guess.

We have a chance to put some distance between us and the middle of the pack and put some pressure on the Oilers and the WOLFPACK! and the Bandidos who are surprisingly 1-3, but I think are going to be good.

55 is on the hill tonight.

Bad news for the Eagles

 

 

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