The Vista del Lago High varsity baseball team could field a starting lineup of 11 athletes who played football for the Eagles in 2012.
Beating the school that stole a Sac-Joaquin Section football title from them has to be at the top if their to-do list.
Oakdale defeated Vista for the section’s top football accolade 203 days ago, and can add to their grief today, May 22, by ousting the Eagles in the second game of a best-of-three series in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
The 4 p.m. showdown at Lodi’s Tony Zupo Field is Oakdale’s shot to ensure a fourth straight trip to the SJS D-IV banner game and the next step towards a potential sixth SJS title in seven seasons.
“The kids have to just keep doing what they are doing, working hard day in and day out,” Oakdale coach Hondo Arpoika said. “We just need to grind this out one day at a time.”
Oakdale beat Vista del Lago 9-2 on May 18 to start their semifinal series with the Eagles, and saw Eddie Machado throw a spectacular no-hitter as the team eased past Cosumnes Oaks two days prior.
“Eddie has that capability,” Arpoika said. “The kids played great defense around him.
“That doesn’t happen often, but when it does you have got to embrace it, and the kids did.”
Machado downed 10 Cosumnes Oaks batters via strikes and allowed only two runners (walks) to reach first. Christian Acosta batted 2 for 2 in the win while Bryce Dyrda (doubled and scored) and Sean Harrity (RBI, run) came through.
Oakdale would rally behind Dyrda’s pitching against Vista del Lago, and scored eight runs amidst a flurry of fourth-inning activity. Machado hit safely three times while Ericksen Dickens belted two hits with an RBI and Miko Arpoika knocked in two runs.
“The kids are just getting hot at the right time,” Coach Arpoika said. “They believe in themselves in key situations and we have had two great pitching performances.”
The Eagles (24-5) managed a two-run home run off Dyrda, but couldn’t match the offensive output of an 11-5 first-round win over Ceres or the success of a 16-2 scramble through the Sierra Valley League.
Oakdale (21-8-1 overall, 12-2 Valley Oak League) can guarantee a trip to face Western Athletic Conference Champion, Central Catholic, or VOL runner-up, Manteca, by winning today’s game No. 2 or taking the third game of the series if Vista del Lago wins the first contest today.
Oakdale went 2-1 with Vista del Lago in the same series a year ago to face Sonora and ultimately claim a third straight banner.
The 2013 SJS finals will be played on May 27 at a time and location to be announced. Historically, the Division IV bracket has wrapped up at Tony Zupo Field.