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Baseball Hosts Dickens Tournament, Girls Travel To Tracy
Varsity VOL Victories
Varsity softball head coach Larry Loger gathers his players for a brief conference during a home game against East Union. Oakdale is 7-0 in VOL play, in first place. Leader Photo By Jeff Kettering

In the opening game of the 2022 Mark Dickens Invitational Varsity Baseball Tournament, the fans were treated to an excellent game as the host Mustangs edged the Enochs Eagles from Modesto by the score of 2-1. Senior pitcher A.J. Sapwell hooked up in a dynamic pitcher’s duel with the fine Eagle sophomore Kannon Sharpe and the seven-inning game sped along with limited offense. In fact, Sapwell held the Eagles to only one first-inning hit. While Sharpe gave up four hits over five innings in the game, he struck out 11 compared to Sapwell’s three. At one point, Sapwell had retired 10 batters in a row. In the top of the sixth inning, following a walk to the Eagles’ second hitter, big first baseman Titus Wheelock hit a sharp line drive up the middle, which Mustang second sacker Tate Cassaretto ‘climbed the ladder’ to snare and then doubled up the baserunner. Cassaretto’s play reminded some old timers at the ballpark of Yankee Bobby Richardson’s amazing catch of a Willy McCovey line drive to end the 1962 World Series at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Cassaretto’s play was certainly the defensive play of the game in a contest that saw the Mustangs make a number of excellent plays in the field.

The Mustangs were able to scatter a total of five hits (Eagle reliever George Hernandez surrendered one hit in the sixth inning) between the third and sixth innings. John Wylie was perfect from the plate (hit by a pitch, two walks and a single) and scored both Mustang runs. Cassaretto hit a huge two out double to drive in Wylie and tie the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning. In the fifth, with one out, Wylie singled and then went to second as Cassaretto, attempting a sacrifice bunt, reached first on an error by Wheelock at first. With two out, catcher Preston Vieira drove a single into the right center field gap, scoring the fast-moving Wylie from second base. That drive would become the game-winning hit. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Mustangs loaded the bases on walks to Wylie and Nate Criswell and a single by Alex Jones, but ended up stranding the runners.

After sailing along from the second through the sixth innings, Sapwell began the top of the seventh by striking out the leadoff hitter. The second hitter reached on an error, but the next hitter popped up to Landon Nunes at shortstop. Sapwell then hit the next batter and tossed two balls to the hitter that followed, prompting pitching coach Matt Miranda to pull Sapwell in favor of Wylie, coming to the mound from center field. Wylie, inheriting a 2-0 count, eventually walked that batter, loading the bases. He then struck out the next batter on four pitches to end the game and earn the save.

The one hour, 35-minute game kept fans on the proverbial edge of their seats and seemed to foreshadow an exciting tournament, being played out this week during spring break. Other teams in the tournament are the Thomas Downey Knights, the Los Banos Tigers, and the Turlock Bulldogs.

On the eve of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s spring break last week, the Mustang varsity team overcame a shaky start to defeat the visiting Weston Ranch Cougars by the score of 10-5 at the Mustang ballpark. Earlier in the week, the Mustangs had scratched out a 4-0 win over the Cougars in Stockton behind the three-hit pitching of Wylie. He also contributed significantly from the offensive side of the plate by going 3-for-4, with a run scored and two RBI. He was joined offensively by Landon Nunes (2-for-4, RBI), Gannon Camp (2-for-3, RBI), Alex Jones (1-for-2 with a run scored), Nate Criswell (1-for-3 with a run scored), and Preston Vieira (1-for-).

On Thursday, the Mustangs fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first inning with the Cougars garnering three unearned runs against starter Nate Criswell on two hit batsmen, a walk, a wild pitch with the bases loaded scoring the first run of the game, and a two-RBI single by catcher Steven Bustamante. Not to be outdone, the Mustangs came back in the bottom of the first on singles by Wylie, Tate Cassaretto, Lucas Cox (RBI), and Criswell (two RBI) to knot the game at three apiece. The Mustang hitting juggernaut continued in the second and third innings, after Criswell had settled down and surrendered only a walk and a double over the span of the next three innings. In the second, Jones, Wylie, Cassaretto and Nunes all singled to push across two more runs, with the Mustangs then taking a 5-3 lead. In their half of the third inning, the Mustang bats exploded for five runs on four hits, with the Cougars also committing their only error of the game. Jones doubled in two more runs (three RBI on the day) and scored a run. Wylie reached on the aforementioned error, while Nunes, Criswell, and Donovan Johnson (hitting for the injured Camp) each singled. Cox led off the inning by being hit by a pitch and eventually scored, with Criswell, Johnson, Jones and Wylie also crossing the plate to give the Mustangs a 10-3 lead. The Cougars took advantage of three walks, a hit batsman, and a double in the top of the fifth to push across two more runs, narrowing the Mustang lead to 10-5. Things looked dicey for the Mustangs in the Cougar half of the seventh inning after the leadoff batter reached on an error followed by a single, an out and a hit batsman. Then, relief pitcher Devon Rogers got Cougar Ayden Tinsley to hit into a controversial 6-4-3 double play. The base umpire initially ruled that first baseman Cox had pulled his foot on the relay throw from Cassaretto. On appeal from Mustang head coach Joey Machado and a conference between the two umpires, the call was reversed to end the game.

The Mustangs are now 12-6 overall and 6-2 in the VOL, good enough for second place in the league. They resume Valley Oak League home play against the always tough Manteca Buffaloes on Thursday, April 28.




The Oakdale Mustangs varsity softball team (7-0 VOL, 18-1 overall) used explosive offensive and overpowering pitching by junior Delainey Everett to overwhelm the visiting East Union Lancers 10-0 on Wednesday, April 13. Over five innings, Everett gave up but one hit while walking one and striking out 12. In fact, Everett struck out the side three times, including in the final inning, as only three Lancers reached base (a hit, a walk and an error) during the game. Everett also helped herself at the plate by hitting a towering two-run homer over the right-center field fence in the bottom of the first. Adding to the offensive juggernaut were Bailey Peterson, 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI; Amanda Bricker, 2-for-3 with a run scored; Presley Barnes and Sophia Ortiz, each with a hit; Danny Romo, 1-for-3 with two runs scored. Also, Kylie Valente with a walk, hit by a pitch, and a sacrifice fly for one RBI and Raegen Everett, 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBI.

The Valley Oak League-leading Lady Mustangs scored in each of the four innings that they came to the plate including scoring five runs, mostly by the bottom of the order, in the third inning. After the Lancers had batted in the top of the fifth inning, the umpires invoked the mercy rule (10-run lead) and ended the game.

The varsity Lady Mustangs will play in an off campus tournament during Spring Break, headed to the Nor Cal Classic in Tracy and starting off play on Thursday, April 21.

Their next home game will be on Friday, April 29 against the Manteca Buffaloes.