For the first time under head coach Nate Gregory, the Oakdale High School varsity baseball team has won the Valley Oak League title.
“This group of seniors has been committed to Oakdale since they came in as freshmen. They have made it a point to revive tradition within our program,” said Gregory, who became head coach of the Mustangs in 2014. “They deserve all the credit for the success they are having as a team.”
Oakdale (20-5, 12-0) clinched their first title since 2013 on Tuesday, May 2 with a 6-0 road win over Central Catholic (2-9, 5-17). In the win, senior Michael Juarez brought in three runs on a single and fellow senior Bryce Kirk had a two hit day and brought in two more runs for the Mustangs. They scored five runs in the second inning to put the game out of reach for the Raiders.
Pitching a complete game shutout for Oakdale was senior Vito Rodin. In the win Rodin gave up two hits, one walk and struck out six. This was his sixth win of the season and he has an ERA of 0.59.
“I owe a lot of my success to the players behind me. They don’t commit errors and play smart baseball. I grew up with these guys and I love playing on the same team as them,” Rodin said of his teammates.
Two days later the team returned home and defeated the Raiders once again, this time by a score of 12-1. The Mustangs dominant pitching helped carry them to the win as senior Blake Whiting pitched five innings, giving up four hits, one run, three walks and struck out a half dozen. Whiting is having a senior season to remember as he ranks first in batters struck out (75), and second in both ERA (0.44) and wins (seven).
The long ball also played a part in the win as junior Dane Gibson blasted a three run homer over the fence for his second home run of the season. Senior Cullen Bearden racked up four more RBI in the win as well. He is now the Valley Oak League leader in RBI with 27. He is also in the top five for home runs (2), slugging percentage (.625) and runs (20).
On Monday, May 8 Oakdale honored 12 seniors for Senior Day 2017 before they took on Kimball (12-10-1, 4-8-0). The game was held following The Leader’s press time. The Mustangs wrap up the regular season on Wednesday, May 10 at Kimball High School in Tracy with a start time of 4 p.m.
Like the varsity boys, Oakdale’s JV squad made short work of Central Catholic. On Tuesday, May 2 they defeated the Raiders 9-2 on the road. Oakdale scored five runs in the third inning to help carry them to the win. Max Moore and Colton Walker each had a triple and drove in two runs apiece. Starting pitcher Josh Garcia pitched four innings in the win. On Thursday, Oakdale returned home for a 14-2 win. Moore powered the Mustangs with a two hit day and brought in three runs.
A trio of games led to three wins for Oakdale’s freshman team. On Monday, May 1 the boys defeated Kimball 3-1 behind Brett Maddock’s complete game shutout that included 10 strikeouts. Oakdale’s catcher Austin Meeks threw out a pair of runners attempting to steal. On Wednesday Oakdale defeated Central Catholic 6-0. Once again it was a strong pitching performance by Jaiden Williams and Diego Valdez. Evan Waite, Angel Medina, Brett Maddock, Pedro Acosta, Jackson Ruvalcaba each racked up a couple of hits. Oakdale wrapped up the week with a 12-2 victory over East Union on Friday. Austin Meeks had two hits, including an RBI triple, and also pitched five innings for Oakdale. The frosh team’s season came to a close on Tuesday, May 9 at home against Manteca following The Leader’s press time.