In the final home game of the season, family, friends, alumni and enthusiastic fans gathered at Oakdale High School on May 7; to honor the eight seniors on the varsity baseball team for Senior Day 2014, as well as watch the team clash with Lathrop High School in Valley Oak League play.
Prior to the team’s final regular season home game, the team honored its seniors in a ceremony that included a brief reading of each player’s most memorable moments, achievements and announced where each player will be attending college. The student athletes included: Christian Acosta, Colt Parshall, Tanner Morgan, Trent Pierson, Taylor Leach, Garret Bryhni, Bryce Dyrda and Mike Stout.
“It’s been fun to watch them grow as both players and students over the last year and throughout their high school baseball careers as a whole. Each of them have worked hard, and continue to work hard, while representing not just the team or the school, but the community as a whole in such a respectful way,” head coach Nate Gregory said proudly of his seniors.
Much like it has throughout the majority of the season, Oakdale’s high powered offense produced in the first inning. The Mustangs jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, forcing Lathrop to change pitchers after just two-thirds of an inning.
Oakdale would expand its lead in the bottom of the third, as Dalton Stewart blasted a ball deep into right field, scoring Ben Solorio from second base, giving Oakdale a 7-0 advantage after three innings. The Spartans would get their lone run in the top of the fourth; Richard Chavez came across the plate after an RBI from Chucky Garcia to cut into the Mustangs lead. However, Oakdale would answer with six runs of their own to put the game out of reach in the fifth. Although it was Senior Night, freshman Bryce Kirk entered the game in a pinch-hitting role with bases loaded and made the most of his at bat, driving in all three base runners with a three-RBI double to cap off the Mustangs rout.
“Coach asked me to step in, and I made the most of it. The whole team did a great job hitting today” Kirk said.
With eight of the seniors graduating, junior Nick Mattos is expected to play a large role on next year’s team. Mattos, who made his first start of the season, was productive in the win; allowing only one run in four innings of work.
“It felt great. Everything is falling into place not just for me but for the team as well,” shared Mattos.
Coach Gregory was impressed with Mattos as well.
“He has improved every time he steps out on the mound. He has been putting in work as a reliever. He got the nod today and he is developing into a starter.”
With the victory, Oakdale finished the regular season at 17-8 overall and with a league record of 11-3. That was good enough to earn a spot in the CIF Sac Joaquin Section playoffs, for a play-in game against Los Banos High School from the Western Athletic Conference on Monday, May 12 at Oakdale High School at 4 p.m.
Los Banos finished their regular season with an overall record of 15-8, but rode a four game winning streak into the postseason.