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Parker, Mustangs Rally To Huge VOL Wins
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Oakdale High pitcher Brianna Parker gave East Union a rare opportunity to score after booting Kourtni McCall’s soft grounder to start the bottom of the seventh inning in Monday’s battle (April 26) for sole rights to first place in the Valley Oak League at Northgate Softball Complex.Making matters worse, she fell behind in the count, three balls and no strikes, against East Union’s deadliest slugger, Cassie Waggy, and cleanup batter Brittany LaMar loomed in the on deck circle with no outs.As quickly as things got scary for the Lady Mustangs, Parker quickly vanquished East Union’s hopes and preserved the 2-0 victory.“Her thing is that she gets a little too emotional, so we have to tell her to breathe in between pitches because she gets so fired up,” Oakdale coach Larry Loger said. “She stepped up big. They had some big hitters in that part of the lineup.”Parker battled back and worked the count full to Waggy, but on that second strike McCall began to make her way toward second thinking it was a ball because the plate umpire delayed his call. Parker gunned her down at first.She wasn’t out of it yet, though.One pitch later, Parker got the second out with a swinging strike and then mowed LaMar down on strikes to begin the celebration.Parker finished with eight strikeouts to no walks while giving up just two hits. Oakdale (10-1, 15-6-1) scratched across the first run in the sixth after loading the bases with no outs. Parker sent a routine grounder to Waggy at first, but the throw for the force at the plate was offline to score Kaila Olson (leadoff single).In the seventh, McCall robbed Alanna Jones of a possible infield hit with a circus catch at shortstop, but on the next pitch the momentum swung back in Oakdale’s favor when No. 9 hitter Brooke Magnussen slammed a solo home run to center field.“We think we’re as good as them when we play well, but we don’t always play well,” Loger said. “Today we were definitely ready. This was big. I told them before the game that this wasn’t a do-or-die, but that’s not how I really felt about it.”Oakdale went on to top Sierra in a 1-0 thriller on April 30. Parker struck out 14 hitters and walked just one with no hits allowed. Danielle Onken walked and scored the lone run on a Mackenzie Taylor RBI.“Our defense has really stepped it up and our offense continues to out hit our opponents,” Loger said. “Someone new seems to come up big in each game. With five road games left we are right where we want to be.”Oakdale is at Manteca today (May 5) and hosts Sonora on Friday. If the Mustangs can repeat their wins over Manteca, Sonora and Ceres, they will win a league title and face the Pioneer Valley League No. 3 seed in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Oakdale Leader staff reporter Ike Dodson contributed to this report.