Shortly following the conclusion of the 2017 season, members of the Oakdale High School baseball clubs reunited for awards night. Coaches, players and family members gathered inside the Gene Bianchi Community Center for the annual postseason awards ceremony.
Varsity head coach Nate Gregory opened the evening with heartfelt appreciation offered to the parents, coaching staff, and families for their contributions and sacrifices throughout the season.
“I am blessed to have such an intelligent staff. Oakdale coaching staff has so much experience and they care for our players,” Coach Gregory said. “It makes the players want to play hard for us.”
First year freshman head coach and Oakdale alumni Joey Machado took the podium and introduced his players and staff. Before handing out the team awards, Machado thanked Coach Gregory for the opportunity to coach the freshman players.
“It has been a great experience and I was eager to start the season, and I am looking forward to next year. I am excited to see the growth of the players as they move on to play at the junior varsity level and the varsity level,” Machado said.
The first freshman winner was Jayden Williams for Most Improved. Austin Meeks was awarded the team’s Best Defensive Player as he played multiple positions on the field. Pedro Acosta won the team’s Best Offense Award. Machado called him “the most technically sound player on the field.” The final freshman award was presented to Brett Maddock for the team’s Most Valuable Player. Machado credited Maddock for his play, leadership and called him very coachable.
Second year junior varsity coach Chris Henry addressed the crowd to honor his players.
“I am proud to be a part of this program. I played here, and now I am coaching the best program in the area,” Henry said. “This team had the best camaraderie and they trusted each other and the system. They made it easy to coach and the result of our season showed it.”
The junior varsity team finished with an overall record of 21-5. Most Improved was presented to Jacob Solorio, with the coach noting that Solorio started the season slow but picked up his hustle and met his potential. The next award handed out was for Best Defense. According to Henry, the award was a no brainer and the players voted pitcher Josh Garcia as the winner. Garcia pitched 56.2 innings and held a 9-1 record. Their Best Offense Award went to catcher Max Moore. He suffered an injury early in the season but when he returned to the lineup he proved to be a spark. The final award for the junior varsity was the Most Valuable Player Award.
This was a tough one. A lot of players could have won this award. Hard to choose just one,” Henry said.
The junior varsity MVP was presented to Alex Daoud; he had a batting average of .530 on 45 hits this season.
The varsity team had plenty to remember this season. Oakdale finished 25-7 overall, winning the Valley Oak League title while going 14-0 in league play.
The Coaches Award is decided by the coaches and was presented to Tyler Hall. Gregory said that Hall was “very coachable, came to work prepared and was a hard worker both on and off the field.” The next award was presented by coach Joe Peterson to outfielder Cullen Bearden for Coaches Award. Peterson credited Bearden as a tremendous athlete and leader. Oakdale’s pitching was key to the team’s success in 2017 and earning the best pitcher award was Blake Whiting. He had an ERA of .078 and struck out 102 batters in 63 innings this season. Fellow pitcher Vito Rodin also had a great season on the mound and was unanimously voted Team Captain. Mr. Mustang award was presented to Michael Juarez for his hard work, dedication and determination on the field and in the weight room. Jordan Williams won the Most Improved Player award.
Coach Scott Gahl handed out the Best Defense Award to shortstop Blake Maddock.
“He is the best shortstop I have ever seen. Blessed to have him on our team,” praised Gahl.
Nick Moore took home the Best Offense Award, with Gregory describing Moore as a clutch hitter, unbelievable worker and leader. Bryce Kirk earned the final award of the evening, winning the MVP award. The power hitter led the Valley Oak League in home runs with four this season.