Website special report
When Sierra High’s previously unbeaten varsity softball team took the field at Oakdale High on Tuesday, March 22, it carried with it the swagger and confidence of a Valley Oak League team looking to prove a new order in a conference race perennially dominated by Oakdale.
But it didn’t leave that way.
Oakdale tagged highly touted 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.
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 out-classed 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 two 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 Sara 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) is at Weston Ranch on Thursday. The Mustangs will see a re-match at Sierra (6-1-1, 0-1) on April 14.
Catch additional information on the Oakdale softball team and other local sports in the March 23 and 30 print editions of The Leader.