A continued barrage of March rain has forced Valley Oak League postponements for every sport at Oakdale High but the one that already gets wet — swimming.
And while Oakdale athletes were busy in the pool, their dry land counterparts snuck in a few contests amidst the showers to see matches on the softball diamond, golf links and tennis court.
The baseball team postponed three games in a row, but made up the first of those on Monday (vs. Kimball), though results were not available at press time.
Oakdale tagged highly touted Sierra freshman phenom, Allison Walljasper, for eight hits, and capitalized on timely knocks, wild pitches and error-prone Timberwolves’ defensive play to blast Sierra for a 9-2 blowout at home on March 22.
Oakdale hitters were spectacular in nearly every inning, defenders made clutch plays in the field and ace Brianna Parker reminded hitters why she was named the 2010 VOL Pitcher of the Year. By the time Taylor Sanders stretched for the final out in left field (a terrific catch on the run), it was obvious that Oakdale had thoroughly outclassed a Sierra team that some considered a VOL favorite this year.
But Mustang coach Larry Loger felt otherwise all along.
“It’s like I told the girls all week, we are the top team in the VOL until someone else can prove otherwise,” Loger said. “When we play with emotion we are very hard to beat.”
Parker displayed some emotion when she took a Walljasper pitch deep over the outfield fence, but just foul, in the third inning. Her next contact with the ball was a sharp grounder to short, which scored Kaila Olson and even left Parker safely on base after an overthrow at first.
Oakdale scored three in that inning to take a commanding 4-1 lead, and saw continued success at the plate give the team one more in the fourth, three more in the fifth and a ninth run in the Lady Mustangs’ final at-bats in the bottom of the sixth.
Parker finished with seven hits allowed and six strikeouts, forcing most of Sierra’s base runners to stay stranded on base through the innings. Olson made a diving catch to save a run in the fifth, and caught a sharp liner for a double play to Marissa Toy in the sixth.
Toy went 3 for 4 with a double off Walljasper, and saw teammate Sarah Peterson smash a huge triple to deep right field for a 2 for 4 finish on the day. The Peterson triple opened Oakdale’s three-run rally in the sixth that effectively put the game out of Sierra’s reach.
“I had two strikes so I was just protecting the plate,” Peterson said. “Sierra came in here with a lot of hype, and beating them like this shows us where we are right now.”
Oakdale (7-2-1 overall, 1-0 VOL) has a big game at East Union (4-4-1, 1-0) on Thursday, March 31. The Lancers beat a Merced team that topped Oakdale, but fell 8-1 to a St. Mary’s team that Oakdale crushed 12-1. East Union squeezed out a 5-4 win over Kimball to start league play.
The Mustangs will see a re-match at Sierra (6-1-1, 0-1) on April 14.
Who said you need a baton to finish a relay?
Oakdale swimmers nabbed wins in every relay event to squeeze past the Kimball boys and girls in a two-way sweep on the road on Friday.
The girls saw some tough competition, but snuck away with an 86-82 win. The Oakdale boys watched 11 first place wins propel them to a 103-48 landslide.
The boys took sharp wins in the 200-yard medley relay (1 minute, 52.98 seconds), 200 freestyle relay (1:41.14) and 400 free relay (4:07.03).
Neal Cadra won both the 200 individual medley and the 100 breast, while teammate Hank Walter took both the 100 free and 100 backstroke. Will Cavanaugh (200 free), Casey Whitley (50 free), Brandon Terwilliger (100 butterfly) and Braden Lee (500 free) finished first as well.
Oakdale’s girls took clutch wins after times of 2:04.35, 1:55.85 and 4:21.15 in the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays, respectively.
Kelsey Knollmueller (100 free), Whitney Pope (500 free) and Stevie Cordoza (100 back) each landed important event wins in the team victory.
Oakdale (1-0 VOL) is at Manteca on Thursday, March 31, with a key conference contest scheduled at Sierra on Tuesday, April 5.
Oakdale pushed past their biggest VOL rivals, East Union, with a narrow 206-209 score at the Manteca Parks Golf Course on March 22.
East Union saw lead golfer Will Brink record an impressive 34-stroke medalist performance, but Oakdale had five scores at 43 or lower to boast better team points, overall.
“The kids did a great job of keeping their core scores low,” Oakdale coach Lee McGhee said. “The wind was in a different direction than it normally is, but it was nice to see them all work together and get good scores.”
Ryan Jones led Oakdale with a 40 while Ian Stogdell, Michael Tripp and Reid Souza each carded a 41. Connor Gust shot a 43 while Isaac Rellamas beat three of East Union’s six competing golfers, but was the throw-out at 45.
Oakdale went on to defeat Kimball in a rain-shortened match on March 24 at the Tracy Golf and Country Club.
Oakdale (8-1 overall, 3-0 VOL) is at Manteca and the Parks Golf Course today.
“We have got a lot of golf left,” McGhee said. “I wouldn’t say beating East Union gave us a foothold on the league title, but it’s a step toward that direction.”
A 5-4 advantage in singles matches gave Oakdale High’s tennis team some signs of success against East Union, but the Lancers won all four doubles matches to take a 10-5 victory over the host Mustangs on March 22.
Daniel Dunning and Anton Grenvall both landed wins over Matt Eichsteadt and Brandon Manville, but let EU’s Ricky Peloso complete a three-match in his singles action. Paul Perrone upended Eichsteadt as well.
In doubles play, Oakdale’s doubles tandems of Jared Firstbrook and Jeremy Willinger, Chandler Johnson and Frank Rossier were unable to see victories.
Oakdale made up a postponed match on Monday, though results were not available at press time. The Mustangs host league frontrunner, Manteca, today.