(5) South Oakland Ducks of the North Side
(4) South Hills Devils
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 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.
South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (4-4)
Hebrew Oilers (3-1)
BIG OIL: Pearson
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
South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (1-3)
Bakery Square Bandidos (2-0)
Spring View Field
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
Infielder Andrew McCray’s number 21 will be retired this season. Until someone decides they really, really want 21, or Andrew decides to return.
The Ducks were without a shortstop from 2005 to late in the ’07 season when McCray came aboard. It was embarrassing how bad we used to lose in those seasons when we wore red and had no shortstop. We always had a serviceable lineup, decent pitching and solid hitting, with a few really good players, but no shortstop. McCray changed that and helped spark our rise to respectability. Since then, shortstop has been a position of strength.
The left-handed hitting McCray played from 07 to ’10. He hit bombs on a bad leg.
Shades of Kirk Gibson.
Retired numbers, 9, 10,13 and 17 are in play this season, but I made sure the players wearing those numbers this year would represent them well. TC’s number came down because he is playing again. I take this kind of shit just seriously enough, I think.