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Lady Mustangs Win Opener In Section Play
Senior first baseman Emily Greenwood looks to turn a double play after getting the runner out at first in the Lady Mustangs 13-3 first round win. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER

The 2016 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III softball tournament began this past week with Oakdale as the number two seed. First on tap for the Lady Mustangs were the 15th ranked Cordova Lancers on Tuesday, May 17. In a rematch from last year’s first round playoff game, where Cordova won 6-1, it was Oakdale who came out on top this time, 13-3, at Sacramento Softball Complex.

In the 10-run victory, Oakdale hit a total of four home runs to help power the Valley Oak League co-champions into the next round. Three of those home runs came off the bat of senior catcher Maddi Hackbarth. She went 4-for-4 with five RBI on the evening.

“This was a big win for us. They (Cordova) beat us in the first round last year, and we wanted to prove to them that we are not the same team from a year ago,” the Fresno State bound senior said of the team’s focus. “For every pitch, every hit, every at bat we are coming into this tournament with full intensity.”

The Lady Mustangs wasted little time as leadoff batter and center fielder Kindra Hackbarth got on base with a single in the bottom of the first. Sophomore Grace Green delivered a deep shot to center field to score the speedy Hackbarth from first on an RBI triple. With Green at first, Maddi Hackbarth stepped into the batter’s box and delivered the first of her home runs on a two run shot to give Oakdale a 3-0 lead.

Cordova displayed some power of their own as they got on the board with a solo home run in the top of the second to cut the lead down to 3-1. The Lancers added another run in the top of the third to trim the Lady Mustangs lead to 3-2. Without hesitation Oakdale answered with a two run bottom of the third, as senior Haley Fuller connected on a two run homer with no outs to give Oakdale a 5-2 cushion. Not going away quietly, Cordova hit their second home run of the evening on a solo home run by their starting pitcher in the top of the fourth inning.

Oakdale pulled away in the bottom of the fourth inning, hanging four runs on Cordova. Following a double by freshman Britney Bye, Green connected on her second hit of the day on an RBI single to score Bye from second. Green went 2-for-3 in the game with two RBI. With one out, Maddi Hackbarth blasted her second home run of the evening to score herself and Green to make it 8-3. Following a one out double by Fuller, Oakdale starting pitcher Lexi Webb reached base on an error by the first baseman and Fuller scored from second to make it 9-3 Oakdale. Webb pitched four innings, striking out five batters and giving up four hits and three runs.

Oakdale put the final touches on the evening with a four run bottom of the sixth. Maddi Hackbarth connected on her third and final long ball over the center field fence to lead off the inning, building the Lady Mustangs lead to 10-3. A sharp hit from Webb scored Fuller from first, on an overthrow to second base, Webb scored on the error making it 12-3. With no outs, and Cierra Duke at first, junior Shay Trent ended the game on a walk off RBI single to center field to score Duke.

“I was struggling heading into that at bat (0-for-3) and knew that my team needed me to get that hit to send us home and end the game,” Trent said.

Heavy rain delayed the tournament from progressing as Oakdale’s second round match up with seventh seeded Vista del Lago originally scheduled for Friday, May 20 was postponed to Monday, May 23. The game took place under the lights at Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton. The game was held after The Leader’s press time.