Another year of stellar baseball gave way to another Sac-Joaquin Section title for the Oakdale High Mustangs this year.
The team was honored with four selections to the 2013 Modesto Sunrise Rotary Baseball Classic all-star game on June 8, but with only one prep accolade left on the horizon, the baseball Mustangs landed another chance to don scarlet and gold.
Recent graduates Ericksen Dickens, Nick Ippolito, Nik Garza and Eddie Machado were all honored with selections to the 23rd Annual High School All-Star Baseball Classic on Thursday, July 11. The game will begin at 5:15 p.m. on the Delta College campus in Stockton.
Dickens and Ippolito said they will likely miss the all-star action to participate in travel ball functions, but they certainly have not made their last appearance on the competitive diamond together.
According to Dickens, the slugging first baseman received a four-year full-tuition scholarship, plus $1,000, to play baseball for Stanislaus State University. Ippolito (shortstop/pitcher) said he accepted a three-fifths, four-year tuition scholarship for Stan State as well.
Machado had verbally committed to join the pair at Stan State, but recently opted out of that commitment and will play baseball at MJC. Garza said he won’t play baseball in college.
The all-star selections are the result of a sterling 23-9-1 season that saw Oakdale topple Central Catholic 4-1 for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV crown for the fourth consecutive season and sixth title in seven years.
The success of the team hinged on the play of their all-star crew, a bunch that also excelled as Oakdale aided their Sunrise Rotary team to victory. Their efforts on Thursday should be no different.
“It’s going to be cool to represent Oakdale one last time,” Machado said. “It’s something I have been thinking about.”
Dickens and Ippolito said tournament play with the NorCal Valley travel ball team will make the all-star appearance unlikely. Both carry a long tradition of competition baseball success, starting with the Oakdale Baseball Association and continuing with the famed Oakdale Colts program.
Their success landed them under the tutelage of CenCal Baseball coach Mike McNeil, who witnessed their progression through the youth baseball system. When McNeil was named recruiting coordinator and assistant coach for Stan State, he became an easy tie-in to Oakdale’s top graduates.
McNeil played an important role in landing Dickens, and stepped in to bring Ippolito on board after the Downey-transfer had already zeroed-in on a scholarship offered by Fresno Pacific, a nonleague rival.
“I was debating between the two, but once Ericksen committed to Stan State, Stan State seemed committed to getting me,” Ippolito said. “I just wanted some type of scholarship to show a college wanted me and believed in me.
“It’s always been my dream to play in college.”
Ippolito and Dickens will be roommates in Turlock, and expect to play early when Stan State begins the season in 2014.
“It’s going to add to the whole experience having Nick there,” Dickens said. “I am pretty proud of how this has turned out so far.”