Sitting in first place, currently on top of the Valley Oak League, are the Oakdale varsity Mustangs baseball team. But getting there hasn’t come easily. This past week Oakdale (15-2, 8-0) faced off against Weston Ranch (9-7, 1-4) in a home and away series. It took three days to get through the two contests, with the first game suspended due to darkness on Tuesday, April 11 as the Mustangs hosted the Cougars. Oakdale won the game when action picked back up on Thursday, April 13 at Weston Ranch 5-4. Later that afternoon, Oakdale won the second game of the series, 6-0.
In a nearly four-hour, 13 inning game to start the twosome, Oakdale hosted the Cougars and found themselves in an early hole but never lost focus. Down 1-0 in the first inning, Nick Moore tied the game on a two out, two strike single to score Tyler Hall. Weston Ranch built up a 3-1 lead in the fourth but Oakdale tied it once again scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on two errors by the Cougars. A leadoff single by Moore set up the Mustangs rally, as three batters later the bases were loaded with one out. An overthrow to first base allowed Moore and Bryce Kirk to score to tie the game.
The marathon game continued to the 13th inning where Weston Ranch scored a run on a single to center field with one out to give them a 4-3 advantage. With one out in the bottom of the frame, Jordon Williams delivered the game-tying RBI on a double down the first baseline as Blake Maddock scored from second base. The game was called following the final out at nearly 8 p.m. due to darkness. The game was resumed on Thursday, April 13 at Weston Ranch. Oakdale escaped with a victory on a fake squeeze play in the 15th inning. Blake Maddock scored the winning run when Michael Juarez faked a squeeze, which ultimately saw the Cougar pitcher throw a wild pitch.
“Our guys have battled through some close league games. To this point we haven’t quite put all phases together but they have been tough in adversity so far,” head coach Nate Gregory said.
Feeding off the energy and adrenaline of that victory, Oakdale shut out the Cougars in game two of the series for the season sweep over Weston Ranch. Michael Juarez led the way with a two RBI double, and Cullen Bearden found his swing on an RBI triple. The Mustangs scored three runs in the seventh. Blake Whiting pitched seven innings and gave up just two hits and struck out 13.
This week, Oakdale is hosting its annual Mark Dickens Tournament that began on Monday afternoon with a game against Turlock. The game was held following The Leader’s press time. Oakdale returns to Valley Oak League play on Tuesday, April 25 at Sierra and will host Sierra on Thursday, April 27. The Timberwolves (9-5, 4-1) are in second place in the Valley Oak League standings. Both games are scheduled for a 4 p.m. start time.
Keeping the offense rolling, the Oakdale JV Mustangs scored 27 runs in two games against Weston Ranch, while not allowing a run to their opponents. Oakdale shut out the visiting Cougars on Tuesday, April 11 by a 17-0 final and hung 10 more unanswered runs on the scoreboard on Thursday, April 13 in Stockton. In the home win Oakdale scored seven runs in the second inning to build up an 11-0 lead and tagged on six more in the third to close the door on Weston Ranch. Hayden Knittel went 3-for-3 in the game and drove in three runs, including an RBI triple. Max Moore was also perfect at the plate and drove in three runs of his own on a pair of doubles. Alex Daoud, Dylan Oliver, Jacob Solorio, Isaac Higle and Josh Gerber all had runs batted in as well. Josh Garcia started the game and earned the win, allowing no hits and walking just one batter in three innings of work. Garcia struck out nine batters of the 10 he faced. The JV Mustangs will next host a three day tournament that begins Thursday, April 20 and is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, April 22.
Oakdale fell to 2-4 in league play after dropping a pair of games this past week. The youngest Mustangs fell to Sierra 3-1 on Monday, April 10 and then 13-8 to Central Catholic on Wednesday, April 12. The team was scheduled to be at Gregori High School in Modesto this week for the three day Gregori Tournament that began Monday, April 17 with Oakdale taking on Enochs in the first round.