Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, D2 0

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn

Box score

John Zuzak (W, 1-0) threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in his first career start to lead the Ducks to a 4-0 victory in Elliot last night. Zuzak was also 2-for-2 at the plate. Tom Pulice drove in the game winning run with a single in the first inning. Maldonado, Lombardi and Gwin were hit by D2 pitchers. The shutout was South Oakland’s fourth of the season. The Ducks (16-8) finished the season with the fewest runs allowed (65) in AA, and have won nine of their last ten games. D2 falls to 8-14 with the loss.

The Ducks will play D2 in the first round of the playoffs this Saturday.

 

Gameday 24: Ducks at Pittsburgh D2

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (15-8)

at

Pittsburgh D2 (8-14)

6:15 pm

Herschel Park

The Ducks look to avoid being swept by D2, and clinch second place tonight in Elliot. South Oakland has struggled this season against D2, losing 4-0 and 6-4 in two earlier matchups. Today’s game will determine whether the Ducks will get the 2 or 3 seed and D2 can still finish between 7 and 9 depending on tie breakers. These two teams could meet again on Saturday in the playoffs.

D2 will throw one of their seven starters, maybe the same guy who shut us down twice already this year. I don’t know if they’re trying to save arms for Saturday or what.

D2 may have based the color scheme of their new unis off the red, white, and blue team USA jerseys in D2: The Mighty Ducks. Also went with white primary color to honor the jersey change to the Anaheim home Ducks jerseys at intermission during the finals that brought the team together. I think it’s a great homage.

The Commish is on the hill for the Ducks tonight.

Bad news for D2

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 7, Bauerstown 3

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

Box Score

Tony Casale lead the way with four hits, and the back end of the Ducks rotation pitched five solid innings to help South Oakland to its fourth straight win yesterday in Shaler. Cody Quinn started and went two innings, pitching around a couple fly balls that could have been caught, and allowing one run. Ben Sorosky (W, 1-0) pitched three solid innings before James Fago converted the six-out save (7).

The Ducks took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Lombardi doubled in Casale, and Clark singled home Lombardi. Bauerstown scored in the bottom half of the inning off a double, HBP and a single.

South Oakland added two in the fifth on a walk, fielders choice and two singles. Then they added three more in the seventh on four straight hits, and an RBI double by Fago to put the game out of reach. Cody just missed going yard.

Fago’s seven saves is a single season Pittsburgh NABA record until someone tells me otherwise.

Casale for MVP.

 

The Ducks finish up the season on the road against D2, Tuesday night, 6:15 at Herschel Park.

Quack.

 

 

 

Gameday 21: Ducks at BIG OIL

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (12-8)

at

Hebrew Oilers (13-7)

7pm

Mellon Park

South Oakland looks to sweep the season series against defending champion BIG OIL tonight in East Liberty. The Ducks and Oilers both have an outside shot at overtaking the Grizzlies (14-5), and theoretically Cranberry (13-2) could also collapse. It should be a good matchup in the latest chapter of the Ducks/Oilers rivalry.

With the WOLFPACK’s forthcoming dissolution imminent, the Oilers and Jays have to be neck and neck for most hated team in Double A. We will see the Jays on Saturday on the field with no mound, provided last night’s rain didn’t destroy it.

The odds of winning the division or getting the two seed are not in our favor. We still want a home game in the first round, and a better draw in he tournament, so our last four games are important. 

We want to go into the post season playing well. A win tonight would at least prevent the Oilers from getting the two seed, and that should be plenty of motivation. 

Bad News for BIG OIL

Gameday 19. Ducks vs Grizzlies

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side

vs

Bauerstown Grizzlies

8pm

West Field

The Ducks look to right the ship when they take on the Grizzlies tonight in Munhall.

We need a win to secure a spot in the top six and avoid the play-in games. I think our magic number is 2. The Eagles and D2 both have 12 losses, and we are at 11 wins if we count our never rescheduled game from April against West View as a win. Both those teams have the tie-breaker over us.

Somehow we’ve lost 4 games combined to two six-win teams. Add that to a few other close losses this year, and I can’t tell if we’re lucky to have ten wins, or if we should have fifteen right now. I don’t think we’ve really hit well yet, but we’re running out of time for our luck to change.

We finish with five games against four teams ahead of us in the standings, and one more against D2 who we can’t seem to beat this season. The Grizzlies won like twelve in a row at one point, and with Cranberry’s magical season, everyone else has basically been playing for third place all year unless someone collapses. But we want to be playing well heading into the postseason, and tonight against a tough team will be a good gage to see where we are at. I like our chances at home.

Bad news for the Grizzlies

 

Gameday 18: Ducks vs D2

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (10-7)

vs

D2 (5-12)

9pm

Springview Field

South Oakland looks to extend its four game win streak tonight against Pittsburgh D2. It should be another good game, as we played to a frustrating 4-0 loss earlier in the season after we left a bunch of guys on base, and made a few costly errors. We should have a better turnout tonight than we did for last game against D2, so maybe that will help.

I don’t know how D2 has such a poor record. I feel like they have five, 20-year-olds that throw strikes, and they can run. I have no idea what “D2” stands for. District Two? some kind of nebulous corporate sponsor? Who knows.

This is the start of a hectic stretch of games to end the season. We play tonight, Grizzlies on Wednesday, Oilers Friday, Jays Saturday, Grizzlies again on Sunday, and we still have another makeup game with D2 to schedule.

The other postponed D2 game was going to be played Monday, but somehow the WOLFPACK! are breathing their last breath on the final week of the season just to make teams that weren’t scheduled to play them in June waste arms, and take up rain dates from teams that didn’t forfeit a whole month’s worth of games. We will get a forfeit for the WOLFPACK! game that was rained out in April that we tried to reschedule but didn’t get a response from West View management. What a shit show. That West View win, means our next victory this year will secure a .500 record, which is a step along the way to hopefully positioning ourselves to get a good draw in the playoffs and make another deep run this year.

I like our chances tonight at the Duck Pond.

Bad News for D2

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 15: Ducks vs Devils

2019 South Oakland Ducks

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

vs

South Hills Devils (9-8)

8pm

West Field

The Ducks and the Devils will try to separate from the middle of the pack in a matchup full of playoff implications, tonight in Munhall. South Hills looks to avenge an early season 8-1 loss to the Ducks. Tonight’s game figures to be a much closer contest.

A win tonight, and our upcoming forfeit victory against West View and suddenly we could find ourselves on a three game winning streak. So it’d be a 2-for-1 tonight if we can beat the Devils at home.

Bad news for South Hills

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, Biscuits 1

2019 South Oakland Ducks

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side defeated the Bandidos by a score of 4-1 on Biscuits Day, Sunday morning in East Liberty. South Oakland started the game with 8 players, and Bakery Square was unable to capitalize.

Ducks starter Colton Fago (W, 2-2) pitched four strong innings; Ben Sorosky struck out 4 in 1 2/3 innings, and James Fago recorded the four-out save (3).

The game was played under protest due to a potential misinterpretation of a rule by the plate ump. In question was whether two base runners making contact on the base paths counts as a runner passing the baserunner ahead of him. It came up because of a wild play late in the game.

In the fifth inning, with runners on first and second, Casale doubled up the hill in center. The Bandidos centerfielder almost made the catch and then made a great relay to the plate, but the ball was dropped after the first tag was made. Initially both runners were called out, but the umps conferred and got the call right, which would have been nice last game.

I was walking back from the bathroom when this happened, and watched from the parking lot in center field. I think the protest is moot at this point.  It was a really good throw and some not super base running/coaching, which has been a trend lately. We’ve veered from aggressive and smart to reckless and stupid on a few occasions.

Another weird footnote this season. The time we were almost victimized by an amazing 8-4-2 double play. That ball would have rolled forever at West Field. Or maybe Friend would have been playing deeper at West Field and it would have been caught. Who knows?

Here’s where I digress into a mid-season summary of the AA season, using Cranberry and the Bandidos as primary points of reference since we just played them both.

 

The Bandidos (2-11) are really struggling this season, while first place Cranberry (11-1) has been the surprise of AA. Everyone else is jumbled in the middle.

The Ducks (7-7) have lost to Cranberry twice by one run in games that came down to the last at bat. We beat the Bandidos twice, 6-4 and 4-1, two well-played close games. Cranberry beat Bakery Square 8-7 in their lone matchup this season.

Has Cranberry just gotten every bounce this year while the Bandidos have been on the wrong side of every bounce? Will there be hard core correction to the mean in the second half for both teams? Who knows. Probably not. Now we’re getting into intangibles and confidence and that stuff, while overrated in general, is certainly contagious.

I’m not sure what this means except AA is really competitive this season, and a lot of this comes down to a few plays. Random lineup decisions that come back to hurt teams, or when a couple starters are out and there’s a hole in the defense, and maybe you skate by because you have your best pitcher going or maybe you save him for the next night and that game is rained out. Cranberry has done an awesome job at minimizing bad luck. Bakery Square hasn’t, and we’ve been average at it. Weddings, work schedules, vacations, benders, rain, setting the pitching rotation and then more rain, etc. So much shit that’s unrelated to baseball impacts teams, or can, and I think dealing with it is both the most frustrating and rewarding part of managing. But there’s still so much luck involved. When we win with our B team, and guys take advantage of opportunities, it’s great. When we lose, every decision was wrong.

So is the difference between Cranberry and Bakery Square one run or 9.5 games?

So I don’t know if we’re unlucky or what, but I know we have pitching, finally, and we haven’t been able to put together enough big innings.

My conclusion: Everyone in AA has a shot to make a run in the playoffs. Except for West View.

The Ducks next game is 8pm Wednesday night at West Field vs the Devils.

Thanks to the Friends for the use of their bases for my daughter’s softball game, which she won.

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