Valley Oak League champions, the Oakdale High School varsity baseball Mustangs are swinging the bat with confidence early in the postseason. In two games of action in the 2017 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Championship tournament, Oakdale is 2-0 and are one win away from playing for the Section crown. The number two seeded Mustangs blanked 10th ranked Rio Americano 7-0 on Thursday, May 18 and made a statement against Yuba City 11-1 to take the first game in a best-of-three series on Saturday, May 20.
In their playoff opener against Rio Americano, both teams struggled offensively until Oakdale scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to get things. In the bottom of the fifth, Cullen Bearden’s single to left field was Oakdale’s first hit of the game. With one out, a Dane Gibson single scored Bearden from second for the first run of the game. Getting a big hit for the team was Dylan Wright who connected on a single to spark the struggling offense. Tyler Hall connected on a RBI single and Michael Juarez finished the scoring in the fifth with an RBI single to give Oakdale a 3-0 lead.
The bottom of the sixth inning saw Oakdale tack on four more runs, with RBIs by Hall, Bearden and Blake Maddock. On the mound for the Mustangs was senior Blake Whiting. He pitched five shutout innings, striking out 11 batters and giving up two hits in the win.
“I felt pretty good, I was a little nervous in the first but talked to Coach (Nate) Gregory and calmed down after that,” Whiting said.
In game one of the best-of-three series against the Honkers, Oakdale scored a run in the second inning, piled up five more in the third and put a wrap on the game scoring five more in the fifth. Vito Rodin pitched a gem for Oakdale and Cullen Bearden’s fifth inning three-run home run at McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks in Sacramento powered Oakdale to the victory. Nick Moore contributed with an RBI triple, and Tyler Hall brought in two runs. On the mound Rodin gave up one hit and struck out three Honkers. Game two and, if necessary, game three of the series will be Wednesday May 24 at McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks with the first game scheduled for 4 p.m.
A second game would only be required if the Honkers take the 4 p.m. contest, setting up the one-game winner take all showdown.
If Oakdale advances past Yuba City, they will play for the Section Championship on Monday, May 29 against either number one seeded Christian Brothers or Valley Oak League rival, fourth ranked Manteca. Time and location was not available at press time.