Prior to first pitch, eight seniors on the Oakdale varsity baseball team were honored on Senior Day 2016. Brad Smith, Logan Hall, Austin Manning, Ryan Poff, Ben Solorio, Crue Freeman, Tanner Emes and Alex Pena were honored by teammates, family and the community.
Oakdale (20-7 overall, 10-4 VOL) and the seniors went out with a bang as Oakdale knocked off visiting Kimball (12-13, 3-11) by a score of 11-2 in the regular season finale.
The Mustangs began their offensive attack in the second inning, scoring five runs to jump out to a 5-0 advantage. Leading the attack was junior Cullen Bearden who hit a leadoff triple deep to center field. The swift Bearden took advantage of a wild pitch and stole home for the first run of the game. With two outs and bases loaded, senior Manning hit a three RBI triple to left field advancing the lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the second. Junior Sean Gingerich brought Manning home on an error, as Gingerich beat out the throw at first as the Kimball first baseman had his foot off the bag, completing the five run inning. Gingerich finished the season with a league leading .456 batting average and finished fifth in RBI with 19. Logan Hall, who finished the season with a league high 19 stolen bases, led off the bottom of the third inning with a triple, and was brought home on an RBI fielder’s choice by Nick Moore to make it 6-0.
On the mound for Oakdale was Crue Freeman, making his season debut. The senior did not give up a hit until the top of the fifth inning when he gave up a one out double down the third base line. For Freeman, that was the only hit he allowed as he worked five-and-a-third innings giving up one hit, striking out three batters and walked two.
“It felt great getting the start today. I finally got my opportunity to start and throw this year,” Freeman said of his first action of the season.
Oakdale added on two runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning. With two outs in the inning, Moore and Vito Rodin came across the plate as the Kimball catcher attempted to throw out Rodin who was stealing second, but the ball sailed into center field resulting in the speedy junior getting back to his feet and safely making it to home, building the Mustangs lead to 7-0. Rodin went 2-for-2 from the plate with an RBI and scoring two runs of his own on the day.
Kimball cut the lead down to 7-2 after scoring two runs in the top half of the sixth inning. However, Oakdale answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth to defeat the Jags. Moore’s two RBI single with two outs and an RBI triple by Rodin capped off the scoring for the Mustangs.
PLAYOFFS - The 2016 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs began on Monday, May 16, following The Leader’s sports press time, as Oakdale hosted Pioneer. Oakdale earned an eighth seed in the division that features four Valley Oak League teams in the 12-team field. Pioneer (13-12, 10-8) took third place in the Tri-County Conference and entered the tournament as the ninth seed. Should Oakdale advance, the Mustangs would travel to McAuliffe Memorial Ballpark of Sacramento to face off against the top seeded Vista del Lago Eagles (22-3-1, 14-1-0) on Thursday, May 19. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.