After a promising start for first year manager Nathan Gregory and the Oakdale varsity baseball Mustangs, the team has fallen on hard times as of late. After being swept by Manteca the previous week (Oakdale was outscored 10-0 during the two-game series), Oakdale bounced back with a non-league 5-1 victory over Tokay on Friday, April 11 and managed a 5-4 victory over Sierra in Manteca on Tuesday, April 15. To keep pace with Valley Oak League (VOL) front runners Manteca and Sierra, OHS needed to complete the sweep of Sierra on Thursday, April 17 in front of the home crowd. Unfortunately, the team’s bats didn’t get the memo and failed to score for the second consecutive home game and lost 1-0.
“We’re struggling at the plate and committing errors. This is the tough stretch of our season. There is a reason Manteca and Sierra are at the top of our league, they’re very good, probably the best I’ve seen them in five years.” Gregory shared.
In the low scoring affair, the lone run came in the top of the third with two outs as an RBI single off the bat of Dakota Conners scored Kyle Oden from third.
Relief pitcher, Garrett Bryhni pitched outstanding as he collected six strikeouts, including striking out the first four batters he faced, giving up only two walks and a single hit in four and a third innings of work.
“Coach always has us mentally prepared to enter a game, no matter what position needs to be filled, so when I got the nod to shift from third to pitch, I was ready,” Bryhni commented.
Oakdale has dominated the VOL the past seven years, as they are the defending seven time league champions and four time section champions. Currently Oakdale is third in the VOL standings with a record of 12-6 overall and a league record of 7-3. With five games remaining, four against VOL opponents, time is a factor. In order to have a chance at postseason play, the team will likely have to win out their remaining games and need help with either a massive collapse from Manteca or Sierra to drop five of their seven remaining games.
“The kids are putting a lot of pressure on themselves. They’re trying to win every game and have put a lot of pressure on themselves. They need to relax and play loose. Enjoy every opportunity and we will be successful.” Gregory added.
The team will be in action this spring break, as they travel to the Bay Area to participate in a tournament before returning to VOL action Tuesday, April 29 to welcome for the final time, Sonora High School.