An undefeated romp through the Valley Oak League has Oakdale High’s varsity baseball team in the driver’s seat for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs, but as of Monday, Oakdale was still waiting for someone else to get on the bus.
The Mustangs awaited the results of Monday’s outbracket game between Sierra Valley Conference No. 3 seed, River City, and Western Athletic Conference No. 3, Patterson, though results of that game were not available at press time.
Oakdale plays the winner at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The winner gets a shot at either WAC champion, Central Catholic, or SVC No. 2 for a best two-out-of-three semifinal round of the postseason. Two victories in that round (May 19-23) will propel the winner to the SJS finale (May 28).
“They have been focused on getting better every day,” Oakdale coach Hondo Arpoika said on Monday. “They are doing what they are supposed to do and they continue to stay hungry and not disappoint themselves.”
Oakdale maintained its position as undefeated VOL champs by blasting Lathrop 11-0 on May 8 and 13-5 a day later. The games weren’t necessary to secure a No. 1 seed into playoffs, but ensured the absence of a letdown against a Lathrop team that had stunned Sierra, Sonora, East Union and Kimball during league play.
“They didn’t want to let down at the end, even when they had clinched the top seed with three games to go,” Arpoika said. “They brought the same work ethic to the series against Lathrop and I am proud of them for staying strong.”
Eddie Machado tossed a brilliant five inning effort with no walks, 11 strikeouts and just two hits allowed during the first win. Justin Martin was 2 for 3 with a triple and four RBIs while Lane Branch was 2 for 3 with two runs. Andy Morris (two RBIs), Spencer Thomas (two runs), Stefan Aguilar, Craig Handzlik (two RBIs, double), Mark Ortiz, and Erickson Dickens (two runs) also managed a base hit in the win while Kody Simons walked twice and scored. A day later, Andy Morris (one inning), Shawn Harrity (three) and Drake Judd (two) combined for a win over Lathrop to end the regular season. Thomas was 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs while Morris belted a triple, scored two runs and finished 2 for 3. Mark Ortiz hit 2 for 3 while Bryce Dyrda (double, two RBIs), Dickens (home run, two RBIs) and Simons (double, two runs) all belted a hit.