It’s very early in the Oakdale Mustangs varsity baseball season; in fact the 2016 Valley Oak League season is only two games old. Oakdale opened the VOL campaign with a home and away series with Manteca that began with a 5-4 road loss on Tuesday, March 22. Oakdale’s troubles continued the following day as they gave up a three run lead to fall 13-5 to the visiting Buffaloes.
In the season opener, Oakdale took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Their lead went into the bottom of the fourth when Manteca tied it up. Oakdale answered with three runs in the fifth to take a 4-1 advantage. However, Oakdale could not close out the game as they surrendered four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the difficult road loss.
When the Mustangs returned home to face the Buffaloes for the second consecutive day, it seemed Oakdale was on the right path for the home win. Much like their first encounter, Oakdale took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when first baseman Austin Manning hit a one out RBI double to center field to score outfielder Ben Solorio. In the bottom of the second inning Oakdale expanded its advantage when shortstop Sean Gingerich used his speed on the base paths, as the junior stole home as the Manteca catcher overthrew his pitcher resulting in Gingerich scoring from third. Gingerich went 3-for-4 with two stolen bases. With runners on the corners and two outs, Manteca made a call to the bullpen. Solorio’s second hit of the afternoon gave Oakdale a 3-0 lead in the second inning.
The script was flipped on Oakdale in the top of the fourth inning when Manteca got on base with four straight hits to tie the game. Manteca tacked on one more fourth inning run on an RBI single to right field with one out to take a 4-3 lead. If the fourth inning was a nightmare, the top of the fifth was downright disastrous. Things started on a positive note for Oakdale when outfielder Cullen Bearden made a leaping grab for a ball in left field for the first out. Oakdale’s magic abruptly came to a halt as the Buffaloes scored six runs in the inning including a three run home run to dead center field by Tyler Graves-Kelso to expand their lead to 10-3.
After getting out of the extensive inning, Oakdale got a run back in the bottom half of the fourth. The Mustangs loaded up the bases and junior third baseman Tyler Hall hit the ball deep enough to right field for an RBI sac fly to score Solorio from third to make it 10-4. Oakdale left two runners in scoring position the rest of the inning.
The Mustangs final run of the game came in the bottom of the fifth inning as utility player Logan Hall hit the ball down the first base line and into the grass to score speedy Gingerich on an RBI triple. Oakdale was outscored 3-0 in the final two innings resulting in the 13-5 loss.
“We left some guys on base today. Things got away from us in the third inning,” head coach Nate Gregory said.
This week, Oakdale is hosting the annual Mark Dickens Invitational with first round action taking place on Monday, March 28. Full results of the tournament sponsored by Golden Bear Physical Therapy will be included in the April 6 issue.
Oakdale’s JV squad split their VOL series against Manteca. On Tuesday, March 22 Oakdale lost 4-3. In the loss sophomore Kyle Seese went 2-for-4 at the plate and came away with two RBIs. On Wednesday, March 23 Oakdale bounced back with a 2-0 win. Oakdale’s Dakota McNeil pitched a complete game shutout. In the shutout McNeil gave up three hits, striking out seven. Oakdale took place in the Mark Dickens Invitational past The Leader’s deadline. The junior varsity team resumes VOL action against East Union on Wednesday, April 6.
Pitcher Justin Jericoff pitched a no hitter in the team’s 11-0 home win over Manteca. Leading the way at the plate were Max Moore and Jacob Elting, who each had three RBIs, and Hayden Conitle also had a multi-RBI day for Oakdale.