Ducks Win: Face Oilers in Semifinals Tonight.

2020 South Oakland Ducks, NABA, pittsburgh NABA

South Oakland eliminated the South Hill Devils, winning 9-1 in Elliot last night.

The Ducks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second before both benches received a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Ducks added three runs in the fourth, one in the sixth, and two in the seventh. The runs in the seventh inning came after the Devils starter beaned the Ducks second baseman after a bunt attempt. That loaded the bases for Pulice who drove in two runs with a fielder’s choice on a botched double-play attempt.

The Devils scored their run in the fourth.

Ducks starter Billy Welsh (W, 1-0) pitched five strong innings, and Fago went the last two to secure the victory.

Morgan and Lombardi had multi-hit games for the Ducks.

The Ducks play BIG OIL tonight, 8:00 at Moore Park. The winner advances to the championship series against the winner of tonight’s Bandidos Cranberry game.

Quack.

 

 

 

Playoff Gameday 1: Ducks at Devils

2020 South Oakland Ducks

(5) South Oakland Ducks of the North Side

at

(4) South Hills Devils

8:30pm

Herschel Park

Projected Starters:

Ducks: Welsh

Devils: Brodeur

The Ducks travel to Elliot to take on the defending champs in tonight’s first round matchup. The winner advances to play BIG OIL in the semifinals tomorrow night. South Oakland and the Devils split their season series, and finished even in net runs. The Ducks won 14-8 and 6-2, and lost 7-1 and 5-1. Twenty-two runs for and 22 against. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs, the game went ten innings. This appears to be an even matchup.

The other side of the bracket has the Bandidos and Eagles playing tonight with the winner taking on Cranberry in the semifinals. Andy has a preview on their site. Solid work as always. Andy also put a lot of work into our all decade teams, and scraping our league’s all-time stats from the defunct NABA site.

Here’s the AA team.

The Ducks are well represented. We’ve had some great players on this team. I’m fortunate to have played with and against a lot of ball players far more talented than I am over the last 17 years.Other Ducks who made it are Kenny Rayl who was named all decade in AAA for his time on the Black Sox. Ciccone spent most of the decade with the Oilers, but played on South Oakland from 2013-2014. Bandido/Dirty Birds Eddinger, Friend, and Gallagher played with us in Columbus so they’ve logged almost a dozen games as Ducks. Graff played with us for most of the decade.

2014 South Oakland Ducks

It’s been a tough season for a lot of obvious non-baseball reasons. I have a hard time getting too upset about underachieving this year when it’s amazing we were able to play at all. Still, there’s little solace in losing just because we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

I think every team in the tournament can make a run. We have a tough draw, but there’s still a path for us. We certainly didn’t peak too early this year.

We have Billy going tonight, and I don’t think we’re missing any starters.

Bad News for the Devils

Ducks Win: South Oakland 3, Oilers 1

2020 South Oakland Ducks

Ducks catcher, Tom Pulice hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give South Oakland (5-5) the win last night in Spring Hill. Brandon Blackstone (W, 1-3) pitched a complete game for the Ducks.

Mike Brandt drove in a run in the third inning with an RBI single down the line in left to give South Oakland the lead. The Oilers (4-2) tied the game in the fourth. Liam singled to start the bottom of the seventh. After a correctly called intentional drop on a line out to short, and a strikeout, Pulice hit the game-winner. The 2018 MVP’s first home run as a Duck.

With the win, South Oakland evened their season series with the BIG OIL. These were two good games. The teams appear to be evenly matched.

At the halfway point of the season, South Oakland sits at 5-5. One game out of first,  tied for third with Cranberry who swept the Ducks this season, and a half-game behind the Bandidos who the Ducks swept. The Devils and Oilers are tied for first. It’s shaping up to be an exciting finish in AA.

The Ducks open a two-game series against Cranberry on Monday, 9pm at Springview Field.

Quack.

 

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