Runners on Oakdale High’s varsity softball team were left stranded more than Robinson Crusoe during the opening round of the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs on Wednesday.
A relinquished 5-0 lead and 11 marooned players on the base paths effectively ended any hopes the Lady Mustangs had of repeating their 2012 banner, relinquishing a 7-5 Cosumnes Oaks victory on May 15.
“It was a disappointing way to end a great season,” Oakdale coach Larry Loger said. “We had the right batters up at the right time, but just didn’t make it happen.”
Oakdale scored four runs in the first inning, added another in the second and appeared poised to break open a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth when runners occupied every base with no outs and the all-time OHS home run leader, Shelby Cordova, at the plate.
Cordova lined a sharp grounder to third base, but was helpless to avoid the ensuing force-out at home and a subsequent lightning-fast turn to first double play by Cal-bound catcher, Sabryna Scott.
The Wolfpack would take the lead a frame later and Oakdale failed to send two runners home in the bottom of the fifth after three lazy pop-ups ended the inning.
The Mustangs challenged again in the sixth, but lost a close call at the plate on a surprising squeeze by Cordova that nearly scored a sliding Kindra Hackbarth. The Mustangs would strand two more runners after quick groundouts quelled the rebellion.
Haley Fuller smashed a one-out double to give Oakdale signs of life in the bottom of the seventh, but a deep fly-out to right center ended the season.
“If you look at our totals for this game it’s hard to see how we lost,” Loger said. “We had 14 hits for six extra base hits.
“We just didn’t get the big hit it takes to win in the playoffs.”
Cosumnes Oaks belted only five hits, but capitalized on four Oakdale errors and rallied to batter Oakdale starter Rylie Pena in the fourth and fifth innings. Melinda Koppinger tossed scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh, but the damage was done.
“I knew Oakdale was a good team, and they have some good kids,” Cosumnes Oaks coach Steve Scott said. “We are tough to beat once we get a lead, and we didn’t give this one up.”
Kindra Hackbarth, Oakdale’s speedy and talented right fielder, hit 2 for 3 in the contest with a run, double and walk. The freshman was a bright spot in the Oakdale lineup all year. Hanna Holland was also tremendous in a 3 for 3 (triple) effort, while Lauren Sanders (2 for 4, run, RBI, double), Sarah Peterson (1 for 3, run, double, RBI, walk), Madison Hackbarth (2 for 4, RBI, triple) and Haley Fuller (2 for 4, double) shined at the plate.
Oakdale ends the year with a 19-8-1 overall mark, having bested both SJS champion, Sierra, and SJS runner-up, Kimball, during an 11-3 run through the Valley Oak League.
The team graduates Cordova, Francesca Orvis and Sarah Peterson, but returns their entire pitching staff and six starters (three of them freshmen).
“I thought that since we were so young, they did a great job this year,” Loger said. “We came on strong at the end, so it’s disappointing to lose in the playoffs like that.
“We had a shot at being one of two VOL teams to make the finals and next year it might be the same.”
Kindra Hackbarth, Cordova and Peterson were named to the All Valley Oak League first team. Orvis and Sanders were second team selections while Holland was named to the all-VOL defensive team.