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Sweet Success - Varsity Softball Squad Enjoys Senior Night
softball seniors
Six Lady Mustangs were honored prior to the start of their home finale against Sonora on May 5. Shown, from left, Hanna Holland, Melinda Koppinger, Lauren Sanders, Anneliese Davis, Kelsey Hardey and Rylie Pena. - photo by DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER

Monday night, May 5 had all the pregame storyline build up for an exciting evening of softball for Oakdale’s varsity girls team. Oakdale welcomed Sonora High School to town for the final time in its historic rivalry. Mix that with Senior Night festivities and a possible share of the Valley Oak League title, and the Oakdale fans were ready for some softball action.

Six Oakdale seniors were honored prior to the game as Hanna Holland, Lauren Sanders, Rylie Pena, Melinda Koppinger, Anneliese Davis and Kelsey Hardey lined up on the first base line along with their families while teammates read letters that the players wrote reminiscing about seasons past. After the humorous and heartfelt speeches, it was time to play ball.

Oakdale got off to a white hot start and didn’t cool off as they ran away with the grudge match, 34-0 in five innings. The Lady Mustangs scored four runs in the first, including a two run in the park home run off the bat of Holland, who also hit for the cycle for the first time in her four-year career.

“After I hit the ball to deep center, and was rounding first to get to second, I was super excited because I’ve never hit for the cycle before. It is a major accomplishment and a great way to cap off senior night for me,” Holland commented. She went 5-for-5 with a walk and gathered six RBIs in the home victory.

The Lady Mustangs took a 9-0 lead into the bottom of the third and Oakdale’s bats erupted for 20 additional runs. Twenty-four at bats, 20 runs, 11 hits, and 47 minutes later, the inning came to a close.

The combination of Pena and Koppinger’s near perfect pitching (only one hit was given up, and neither gave up a walk in the five combined innings of work) closed things out for Oakdale.

The victory not only closed the final chapter in the Oakdale/Sonora rivalry, but also secured a share of the 2014 Valley Oak League crown for the Lady Mustangs.

“It’s a bittersweet night for us. For six of us, it was our final regular season home game and the final game against Sonora. We are excited for the victory, but also looking forward to playoffs,” Sanders shared.

Sanders went 3-for-3 with a pair of walks and drove in a run.

Oakdale now gears up for a first round playoff game Thursday, May 15 at Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton. Their opponent was still to be determined at press time, with a scheduled game time start at 5 p.m.