It was as close to a playoff atmosphere as a game in April can be, as the varsity Mustangs approached the midway point to a promising baseball season. Approximately 150 fans made their way to the ballpark to watch the Mustangs host the Buffaloes of Manteca this past week. The battle included two of the Valley Oak League’s premier pitchers as Oakdale’s Bryce Dyrda, who signed with USC, took on Manteca’s lefty, Jacob Corn, who signed to a fellow PAC12 school, Oregon. Corn and the Buffaloes would out dual Dyrda and the Mustangs, handing Oakdale its first VOL loss of the season 3-0 on Tuesday, April 8.
Dyrda surrendered a leadoff walk to Michael Garibay to begin the game and then gave up a single to the next batter, Dom Pisano. With one out and runners on the corners, Dyrda would throw a wild pitch that got away from freshman catcher, Bryce Kirk and Garibay would come across the plate and give Manteca the early 1-0 lead. Corn would help his own cause as he connected on a deep ball to center field for the RBI single scoring Pisano to extend the Buffaloes lead 2-0 to end the top of the first.
Senior left fielder Trenton Pierson got things rolling for the Mustangs in the bottom of the first, as he laid down a bunt and reached first on a throwing error. Tanner Morgan would lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance Pierson to second. With a runner in scoring position and one out, it appeared as though the Mustangs would get on the board and cut into the Buffaloes lead. However, Oakdale would leave a total of 10 base runners on throughout the frustrating game, six of which were in scoring position, including leaving the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings. Offensively, they struck out nine times and came up empty throughout the course of the game.
“We have to make adjustments, and execute when we have runners in scoring position,” explained Coach Nate Gregory.
Both Corn and Dyrda would pitch shutout innings from the second inning through the sixth heading into the seventh and final inning. With one out in the top of the seventh, Pisano would get his third hit of the game on a blooper to right field. With the green light from his coach, Pisano would successfully steal second. Dyrda gathered his second strikeout of the day, setting up a two outs with a runner on second situation. However, Dyrda intentionally walked Corn, and then gave up a single to third baseman, Lucas Vaughn loading up the bases for Manteca. Dyrda’s day came to an end having pitched 6.2 innings, while giving up seven hits, four walks and striking out two. He also held the responsibility of the runners on base. Nick Mattos entered the game in relief of Dyrda, and walked in the third run of the game, giving Manteca the 3-0 lead.
With just three outs remaining for the Mustangs, the heavy hitters were due up in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Dyrda gathered his team high second hit of the day. Garret Bryhni would hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
“This was a high pressure game and we all came up a little empty. It’s frustrating from a pitcher, player, and coaches standpoint. We had several chances to put runs on the board and we couldn’t bring them in today,” Dyrda commented.
Dyrda also offered praise for Manteca pitcher Jacob Corn.
“He is a good pitcher. Oregon doesn’t just sign anybody. He is talented and he showed that today.”
Coach Gregory agreed. “Corn was tough today. I tip my cap to him.”
The Mustangs looked to avenge their home loss but came up empty again against Manteca, falling 7-0 on the road Thursday. The Mustangs were held to just five hits and committed four errors in the loss.
Oakdale will look to regroup as they travel to Sierra on Tuesday, April 15 and return home to complete the home-and-home series with Sierra on Thursday, April 17 with a start time of 4 p.m.