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Business As Usual For Oakdale On Diamond
Oakdale High senior Logan Bruce gets rewarded for his hustle when Manteca could not handle the throw to first during Oakdale’s 8-4 win over the Buffaloes. - photo by JAGADA CHAMBERS/THE LEADER
First year Manteca High baseball coach Gene Ballardo knew that his squad would have its hands full with the Valley Oak League’s undefeated top team and that was exactly the case as Oakdale High took two from the Buffaloes to remain perfect in VOL action.
Manteca did display rays of hope as they pushed across two earned runs against Oakdale ace Justin Jones in the first inning of their second meeting, but that would be as close as Manteca would come to victory, dropping the contest 8-4, following up a 10-1 loss on April 28.
The Mustangs immediately responded to the up-start Manteca opening, narrowing the deficit with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Oakdale regained control with a four-run third inning, giving Jones all the cushion he would need.
Eddie McGrath went 1-for-2 in the contest, driving in three runs with a double to the right-centerfield gap. Steven Gratigny closed the day with a hit and a pair of RBI to help pace the Mustangs.
Jones was his typical self, bouncing back after the rough opening frame to strike out 14 in the win. Jones only surrendered one free pass over six innings of work.
The standout lefty has amassed an amazing 108 strikeouts versus only eight walks over the entire season.
Not to be outdone was game one starter Nick VanderTuig.
VanderTuig fell one erroneously thrown ball short from a complete game, no-hit shutout in his 10-1 victory. VanderTuig struck out 10 Buffaloes on the way to his eighth victory on the season.
The duo leaves VOL opponents with a hard equation to solve, leaving squads with no weakness to look forward to when facing the Mustangs in the league’s home-and-home series.
Oakdale’s success throughout the VOL season is no shocker. The program is currently a sweep of Sonora away from posting two perfect VOL runs over the past three seasons.
Oakdale’s only league loss over the past three seasons was at Sierra High when the Mustangs forfeited a 9-3 lead as Sierra scored seven times in the bottom of the seventh for the win. The Mustangs have won 16 straight league games since.
Oakdale will look to finish off strong against a talented 9-3 Sonora squad to close out VOL play. The Mustangs already have a portion of the VOL title, but finishing off a perfect season and heading into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Baseball Tournament on a winning streak is extremely important for the Mustangs.
Oakdale will play host to the Wildcats in the VOL finale on May 7 at Oakdale High. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

The Oakdale High junior varsity baseball team improved to an amazing 26-0 over the season and 13-0 in VOL play with a pair of league wins over the Manteca Buffaloes.
Brennon Williams continued to excel, striking out 12 in a 7-0 Oakdale win. The sophomore also went 2-for-3 to help his cause in the win. Jordan Yussman finished the game 2-for-3 to pace the squad.
Matt Butler handled the pitching duties in a six inning 6-4 win over Manteca in the first meeting. Butler had six strikeouts, while Jake Martinez (2-for-4 with a home run) and Braydon Stephens (2-for-2, one run) paced the offense.
The Mustangs will look to remain undefeated as they meet up with the Sonora Wildcats on May 7 at 4 p.m.