Ducks Win. South Oakland 8, South Hills 1

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

Ducks starter Blaise Smiley (W, 1-1) pitched four innings, allowing zero earned runs on three hits and zero walks. Blaise won his first game as a Duck and recorded his first base hit of the season on a bunt in the sixth inning that sparked a five-run rally to put the game out of reach.

Both teams were short-handed, and the Devils were playing their third game in two days.

South Hills scored an unearned run in the first and lead 1-0 through three. South Oakland took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on three doubles and a walk from Lombardi, Pulice and Colton and James Fago.

In the top of the fifth inning Ducks outfielder, Mark Lombardi singled, advanced to third on two passed balls, and scored on a ground out to put the Ducks up 3-1.

In the top of the seventh, South Oakland chased the Devil’s starter, and scored five runs on four hits, an error and a couple walks, some of which were off the South Hills relief pitcher.

Ducks reliever, Cody Quinn pitched two scoreless innings, and James Fago blanked the Devils in the seventh.

South Hills drops to 4-4 on the season, while the Ducks improve their record to 4-2, and stay within striking distance of undefeated Bauerstown (5-0), and the Hebrew Oilers (6-2).

South Oakland plays next vs D2, Wednsday, 9pm at Springview Field.

 

 

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Ducks Win. South Oakland 6, BIG OIL 4

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

Mark Lombardi hit a second inning, 2-run home run to give the Ducks an early lead they wouldn’t relinquish, as South Oakland (3-1) held off the Oilers by a score of 6-4 last night in Spring Hill. Lombardi also threw out a runner at home on a 7-2 double play, and scored on an infield hit later in the game.

Before the game, both teams provided the IDs of all players involved, and after lengthy debate and cross-referencing, all players were deemed legal. However, that piping on Dave Winfield’s pants looks so good it should be outlawed.

Ducks starter, Cody Quinn (W, 1-0) went four inning for the victory, allowing one run on a solo home run by Witer Jimenez in the first. Quinn worked out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the second and cruised the rest of the way. Ducks reliever, Steve Bielefeld allowed one run in the fifth, and Smiley pitched a perfect sixth. James Fago recorded his second save of the season, entering the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs. Fago struck out some guy, walked someone, then struck Jimenez out. The Oiler’s first baseman grounded out to end the game with the go-ahead run on first.

South Oakland has won three straight to pull within a half game of the first place Oilers (4-1).

  • The Oilers left the bases loaded in the second, fifth and seventh innings.
  • Brandt, Clark, Patton and Lombardi had RBI for South Oakland
  • Pulice and Clark hit doubles
  • Overall, another solid outing from the bullpen
  • The defense was also solid, I think we had an error-free game

The Ducks play next against the Sheraden Jays, Sunday, 3pm at Chartiers Field.

Quack.

Gameday 4: Ducks vs Oilers

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (2-1)

vs

Hebrew Oilers (4-0)

9pm

Springview Field

South Oakland looks to win its third straight tonight when the Ducks take on the defending AA champion Oilers. Reports of the Oilers demise have been greatly exaggerated, apparently. They are returning a good team and have been in first place for the entire rain-drenched, opening month and a half of the season.

The Ducks swept the last regular season series against the Oilers, but lost to them 3-2 in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. It should be a good matchup.

The Brendan Chartier Memorial Scooter Series kicks off with the nominal rivalry trophy on the line. I don’t think anyone really wants to hold onto the actual scooter, which we confiscated from some local kids who threw it at us from the basketball court before a Ducks/Eagles game in 2016. This year the teams will play three times at three different venues (Springview, Mellon, West Field). Winner gets the trophy. The trophy is named after the Ducks former catcher who also moonlighted as an Oiler in a scrimmage game against Kenyon College.

We need to close the gap here so the Oilers don’t put too much distance between them and the rest of the league before everyone has to play four games a week to make up  all the rainouts. This is the start of a tough stretch for us, with the Devils and Grizzlies coming up. If the rain ever stops, this season is going to very competitive.

Oilers games are always fun. They’re a good litmus test. We will have almost a full squad tonight, so we will at least have them outnumbered. I like our chances at home.

Bad news for BIG OIL

 

A history of Illegal players and team forfeitures

2019 South Oakland Ducks

Things were more relaxed in the early to mid 2000s. We all filled out paper forms, ideally, and we played. There wasn’t much to do about ringers. The only rule was that a guy was on the roster before the playoff deadline, but no one checked and no one cared.

Our first championship, in 2003, was against a stacked lineup of Fed League players and guys from the Warriors franchise who filled in on the team that was supposed to be the Maulers. It was either play against the players who showed up or don’t play.

We were rained out in our first attempt to play the game, and we didn’t find out about it until game time when no one showed up. I think John Herb had a grass infield then, or maybe it just does in my memories of it. We got there early, took infield/outfield, and then we waited until half an hour after game time and no one showed up. I didn’t have a cell phone then so I borrowed a teammates, called the commissioner, and got the message of the somewhat suspect cancellation. We rescheduled, beat that team full of ringers, and got kicked out of Hemingways.

There weren’t a ton of controversies early on because no one cared much. Most of us were just happy to play. However, there were a couple instances where teams were kicked out of the league. Two that come to mind are Insulright in 2005, and the Yankees in 2004.

The Yankees were a team full of CCAC players and other local DIII guys who went undefeated but never paid. I think the core of the early Black Sox teams were Yankees. Only Craig Boley knows who I’m talking about. They no-hit us that season before they disappeared.

Insulright was sponsored by the insulation company of the same name, and they played in shorts out in Monroeville at Gateway. The back of that infield fell off like a cliff into a deep outfield surrounded by a rusted chain link fence. Moore Park without the charm. Gateway was somehow hard to find for those of us coming from the city, our early GPS systems sent us in an awkward U-turn around 376, near rt. 48, and it was easy to wind up in Trafford accidentally. Insulright was always ready to fight, and their shorts made them that much worse. They had this guy Hoover who could throw hard, and a few decent players, but their Umbros made the young Pittsburgh NABA look even more bush league than it was. Thankfully they were kicked out of the league, and lead to the rule that states we must wear pants as part of our uniforms, otherwise known as the Insulright Rule.

After Commissioner Graff took over for Boley, things shifted gears.  During the years that encompassed the Ducks short stop-less Red Scare Era, the league grew and thrived. The Black Sox brought in a former Blue Jays prospect, the Owlzzzz brought in a guy from the Wildthings, and the league added a ton of local small-college players. I consider 2006 to 2010 the golden age of the league. After the switch to wood bats, and before Elliot joined the league and beat everyone before moving on to the DNL.

During these years, the player rules became more strict, and there were more clashing personalities. Two of the most outrageous incidents occurred during these years. The first, and the most insane, was the Matador incident.

 

 

They tried to bribe teams to throw games so that the Bulldogs wouldn’t make the playoffs. Former Ducks manager, TC Jones told me he spent an hour on the phone with Ken Cool’s brother discussing the Owlz managers disgust that (Matador’s manager) Ron Tiedeman (sic) bribe him to lose on purpose. That’s an hour TC will never have back, one of the risks when you manage a men’s league team, I suppose.

There are always a few guys who are certain Joe favors his own team. (We haven’t won anything in the last five years, so he’s not very good at it, if that’s his plan.) So this guy tried to rig the playoffs to fuck over Joe. Perfectly rational. It didn’t work. The Matadors lost to the Bulldogs in the playoffs, and eventually became the Sharks then the Wolfpack. Teideman left years ago.

Back to player eligibility.

The worst incident probably in league history, was the result of poor administrative practices. In 2010, following their first league championship, members of the Hurricanes threatened the commissioner over a handful of Hurricane’s players being ruled ineligible. The issue being that they weren’t in the system by the deadline. The overreaction by the ‘canes to a decision that wasn’t open to interpretation is what makes this incident stand out in the league mythos.

I’ve personally filled out the online info for guys that had played but couldn’t register for some reason. It’s not fun, but it doesn’t take too long.

There was a vote on whether or not to allow them to forfeit their season like Insulright and the Yankees.

It was decided that games the had played in already wouldn’t be ruled forfeits, but they couldn’t play in the playoffs. That season, the Militia upset the short -handed Hurricanes in the second round before losing in the semifinals to the Ducks.

Since the split to three divisions, and the ruling on active college players playing in AAA pending approval from AA managers, there has been renewed debate about player eligibility. One such instance, and subsequent apology, was noted on this blog a couple seasons back. The incident involved the Oilers bringing in a former pro who hadn’t played in years and was thus, eligible to play in AA. The funny thing about the incident is the uproar was due to a different guy pitching for them who was accused of being said former pro, but was a JV player on Point Park, I think. Anyway, that season the Oilers lost in the first round to the Devils, but the next season their former pro delivered the championship-clinching hit against the Grizzlies.

Over the last few years, a few AAA teams have had questionable players in games and usually they don’t get called on it until after they’ve played. This is mostly with Steel City and Jefferson Hills. Both have been accused of playing guys in the playoffs with fewer than five games played.

I have nightmares about Beedle Park and driving all the way down 51 to roast in those dugouts.

There’s a pretty standard practice by teams to try to bring in ringers. First try to change the rules in the league meeting, second, try to break them, third, go out of your way to find other teams who are breaking the rules, and act indignant that anyone would harm the sanctity of our league and this great game of baseball that in no way has a history of cheating at the highest level.

In some cases, it’s a matter of just cooking the scorebook and online stats to make sure all pitchers and important players have enough games played. A smart manager will do this early when no one knows who anyone is, as to avoid going back and making changes in June when they might be noticeable. It’s also assumed that no one will ever really call a team out on it, because the sentiment is that you look scared if you do.

I’ve been hesitant to do it in the past because I think challenging a player who turns out to be eligible is a good way to fire up the opposing team. I’ve never been 100% and I don’t want to have to issue another public apology for accusing a team of cheating that isn’t. Maybe that makes me part of the problem. A problem that’s really not that big in the scheme of our league, and even smaller outside our adult baseball bubble.

This season with the website crashing, it might be more difficult to track stats and eligibility. In AA the biggest issue is active college players without waivers. In AAA, it’s getting five games in for playoffs or not. So cheat early and cheat often, but please don’t threaten the commissioner. 

South Oakland plays the Oilers tomorrow night, 9pm at Springview Field, weather permitting.

Ducks Win: South Oakland 7, West View 0

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

Three South Oakland pitchers combined to one-hit the Wolfpack for the Ducks first shutout since 2014. Ducks starter, Randy Patton (W, 2-0) went four, working out of a bases loaded jam in the third; Blaise Smily faced the minimum over two innings, and James Fago pitched the seventh. Patton and Smiley each picked off a runner at first.

The Ducks scored four runs in the first on two bases-loaded walks, and a blistering single to left by Colton Fago.

Mike Brandt singled home two runs in the fourth, and Maldonado drove in a run with a sac fly in the sixth.

South Oakland improves to 2-1 on the season; the Wolfpack drop to 0-2.

  • Casale had a double
  • Zuzak extended his three-game hitting streak
  • C. Fago was hit by a pitch and scored. He now leads the team in hbp (2)
  • I can’t look up the exact date of our last shutout because the league site is trashed and the hosts lost our records in an attempted migration.

  • Thankfully, I saved our all time stats last season
  • Here’s the temporary Ducks page until the league office gets everything figured out

 

South Oakland plays next vs the Devils, Sunday, 8:30pm at Herschel Park

Quack

Ducks Win: South Oakland 6, Bandidos 4

2019 South Oakland Ducks

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (1-1) defeated the Bakery Square Bandidos (0.5-1) by a score of 6-4 last night in Spring Hill. Bakery Square opened the scoring when their new guy hit one to the fence and their other new guy singled him in, breaking a scoreless tie. There were some walks, and the Ducks trailed 3-0 going into the bottom of the fourth.

South Oakland scored four in the fourth. Muslin walked, Casale doubled, Pulice, Clark, and Fago singled. Colton Fago was hit by a pitch and Gwin drove in a run on a ground out.

Cody Quinn struck out the side in the fifth, and the Ducks added two more in the bottom of the inning when Brandt was hit by a pitch, Zuzak doubled, and Casale hit a sac fly. Zuzak scored on Pulice’s second hit of the night. I might be missing something in there, but that was basically what happened.

Tom picked a guy off first in the seventh then new guy grounded out to end the game. Fago recorded the save for the Ducks, capping off a strong night for the bullpen.

  • Eight of the first nine outs Ducks starter, Randy Patton (W, 1-0) recorded in the game were either strikeouts or groundouts to the pitcher.
  • The bullpen allowed one run on one hit over the last three innings
  • James Fago had two hits and recorded his first save in six years for the Ducks
  • Mike Brandt and Colton Fago were hit by pitches, and are tied for the team lead with one (1)
  • We might have got a couple calls in the field, but it was a pretty evenly played game. We had the ump with the AL East strike zone.
  • Only one error after committing seven in our first game
  • This was a quality win over a good team
  • South Oakland takes game one of the Columbus tournament inter-squad challenge

South Oakland plays next vs D2 on Sunday, 8:30pm at Herschel Park.

Quack.

Gameday 1: Ducks vs Eagles

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (0-0)

vs

South Side Eagles (0-1)

9pm

Springview Field

South Oakland opens its the season tonight at the Duck Pond vs the winless South Side Eagles. I think there are six teams that have a legit chance to win the title this season, including the Eagles and Ducks. South Oakland will start last year’s workhorse, Randy Patton who earned the victory over the Eagles in the playoffs last year. The Eagles will have their full pitching staff at their disposal after a week off between their opening day loss to BIG OIL. It should be a good game.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the Ducks blog. I’m a novelist and professional writer, and I’ve been giving this content away for a decade. Thank you to the five of you who still read it. I’ll feature some greatest hits from the blog this season.

Historical notes

This will be the Ducks seventeenth season in the Pittsburgh NABA. The Eagles were an early expansion team, starting in 2005 when Whittaker and Jesse Jones starred for them. South Side used to beat us even though they had a lefty shortstop for a while there. South Oakland’s best lefty shortstop was Rob Swanger, who played the position for a few games in the pre-TC Jones era of 2005-06. I wish Rob would’ve been able to stick around for the revival. He wanted to win as much as anyone.

My favorite photoshop of all time. NBD, we just have grey uni’s and are called the Rebels

Above is Ray Finkle and the Rebels winning the ’07 title, lead by Jesse Jones, former Eagle. That Rebels team also had Matt Daulton, the first former minor leaguer in league history, I believe. They were an off-shoot of the Black Sox, one of several Black Sox splinter groups that formed over the years. Ex Sock, Dan Stell, who maybe hates me, played on that team. He left when they folded to join the Militia with Tremel. That Militia team featured a bunch of current Ducks.

Every off season, I look for pitching, and usually I just draft guys. This year we had a bunch of pitchers come our way, and how many of those guys pan out will likely dictate how our season goes. I think they are all high floor high ceiling guys, compared to the one kid who blew his arm out in his first outing in 2015, effectively ending that season and forcing Doc to pitch pretty much every game. That season the Eagles knocked us out of the playoffs. Never turn away pitching.

We also needed to get younger.

So we added a few arms that will hopefully hold up and a couple guys from the Express, another Black Sox off-shoot that folded last season. We will see how it all plays out.

 

Since the end of the first Fago era, I’ve tried to strike a balance between doing as much as I can to make the team better vs. fucking over guys who have been here for years. The best way to strike a balance was to bring back an old friend who played in South Oakland for years, and will make us better. Here’s to the second Fago era in South Oakland.

Bad News for the Eagles

Ducks & Friends: South Oakland wins two in Capital City Tournament

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

Here’s the Bandidos blog preview. Solid work there as always.

Tournament Recap

Game 1:

The Ducks defeated the Detroit Giants 7-3 behind a 103-pitch, 10 strikeout complete game from pitcher Colin Dougherty (Bulldogs). The Ducks trailed 2-0 going into the bottom of the fifth when Culp drove in Tuomisto with an RBI single. In the sixth Detroit added an unearned run to make the score 3-1.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Ducks sent 8 men to the plate. Casale lead off with a double, Eric Friend was hit by a pitch and after ground balls to the right side by Dover and A. Ciccone (Oilers) the Ducks were within one. Tuomisto was hit by a pitch and Levire (Wolfpack) gave South Oakland the lead with a 2-run double to left.

After Dougherty struck out the side in the top of the seventh, the Ducks scored three more runs when Eric Friend (Bandidos) tripled home Gallagher (Bandidos), Dover doubled in Friend, and A. Ciccone singled home Dover.

Dougherty retired the last ten batters he faced, including one guy he picked off.

Game 2:

After driving across town, the Ducks faced Tri-Cities (Cleveland) in the second game of pool play, and won 8-6 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

South Oakland received another great performance on the mound, this time from the Bandidos ace, Ryan Gallagher. The Ducks scored six runs in the first two innings, chasing the opposing starter. G. Friend had an RBI hit-by-pitch in the second.

There was a sweet strike em out throw em out double play in the game by Gallagher, Leviere and Casale.

The Ducks scored two mote in the fifth on a Toumisto double and singles by Z. Ciccone (Oilers), Culp and Gwin.

Casey Thompson (Oilers) doubled later in the game.

Tri-Cities scored four in the bottom of the ninth, but South Oakland held on for the win.

Due to a last-minute cancellation by Chicago, the tournament only had 9 teams, so after all teams played two games on day 1, they were seeded 1-8 for a one-game elimination round before the semis.

The Ducks kept the game close through five, but a six run sixth, lead to an 11-1 loss to the host team Columbus Pirates.

We got screwed out of at least one game by the Chicago team dropping out, but if I pulled Gallagher after 8 in game 2, instead of trying to save pitching, maybe we don’t allow those 4 runs, and we would have been seeded 2nd going into Day 2, and faced Tri-Cities again instead of a stacked Pirates team with home field advantage.

Also of note, the only team that knew all the scores of all the teams was the Columbus coach who also ran the tournament. Someone has to put up a website for this thing.

The fields were fantastic. If Pittsburgh were to host a tournament, I don’t know where we’d even have games.

Overall, it was a fun experience and I plan on putting a team in again next year.

Thanks to everyone from other teams who filled out the roster. Especially the Ciccones and Friends for their recruiting efforts.

We represented our league well for all but one inning. Kind of like a Ducks game. Next year, we add a couple pieces, avoid that one inning and this tournament is winnable.

Tournament MVPs

Zach Ciccone: 7 for 10, 3 RBI, SB, R

Colin Dougherty: W, CG, 9 IP, 10 K, HBP

 

 

Season Over: Express 7, Ducks 5

2017 South Oakland Ducks

We made one error, and made some phenomenal plays in the field, especially Jon Moore at third base and a couple nice double play turns. In the end we still allowed 7 runs, and couldn’t hit our way out of it. True to form, we had the go-ahead run at the plate when we ran out of gas.

Patton pitched a solid 5 innings, allowing 4 runs. We were up 3-1 going into the fifth, when the Express scored 3. Sorosky got nicked for 3 in the sixth on an error, a few bleeders and then a double down the line on a hanging changeup. Moore pitched a perfect seventh.

The Express hit well. The last time we had this pitching matchup between these two teams, we won 9-1. We were up 3-1 most of the game, but couldn’t break it open after a three-run first and Heineke (sp) settled in for Carrick. We couldn’t handle his splitter.

Five games over .500 was one of our best regular season records as a team. Since 2014, this team has been a lot of fun, and it’s always shitty when it ends short of a title, because we’ve been right there all but one of the last four years. This one hurts wore than any of the last few seasons.

We haven’t have a true ace who could take over a game and strike out fifteen guys since Fago left when the team split. All our pitchers are solid ground ball pitchers, but sometimes ground balls get through. Hats off to Carrick. As I’ve said before, they are definitely better than their regular season record indicates. They have the pitching depth to get through a series if they keep hitting. We got a shitty draw, and an underrated, overachieving team in our elimination game and some of that is just bad luck.

So we have Carrick vs. Bandidos on one side, and upstart D2 vs. the Eagles on the other side of the bracket. Not what most would have expected.

This was an emotional loss for myself, and a couple guys who have been around the league for a while. This might have been TJ Morgan’s last game, pending a potential move east, and if it was his last game, there will be a proper send off on the blog, and our first number retirement of a post-Fago era Duck.

Speaking of which, maybe the Black Sox will finally fold, and we can bring a few former Ducks back to the flock next season. Double A is pretty fun, guys, if you’re reading. Probably more fun than going 5-16, which is no knock on anyone.

I really thought we had a good shot at it this season, and for it to end after one playoff game stings. Next year it will be the same core guys who put up 156 runs in 23 games, with the same resilience, and hopefully just a few games better in the regular season so we can avoid the one and done situation.

I’ll have a brief season recap at some point and team awards in the next week or so.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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