Oakdale’s softball complex was the site of the most anticipated softball game of the season as Oakdale (19-1, 13-1) hosted East Union (21-1, 13-1) on Tuesday, May 10. In the showdown between the two Valley Oak League giants, it was the Lady Mustangs who came out on top in a pitcher’s duel that ended in a 1-0 Oakdale victory in the 10th inning.
Living with the taste of defeat in their mouths since Oakdale’s 5-3 road loss to the Lancers on April 12, Oakdale was determined to win the rematch on their home field.
“You can tell this was a big game, by the crowd attendance, which we as a team really appreciate the support, but we also took this game more serious than any other game this season,” said starting pitcher Grace Green of the team’s focus. “We put in the work at practice and even before today’s first pitch, we could tell this was going to be an intense game, and we brought the intensity.”
Green took the mound against the previously undefeated Lancers, who entered the game without their starting shortstop Samantha Owen who was on crutches. Green pitched five innings and gave up three hits in the game while striking out three Lancers in the no decision. Freshman Lexi Webb came in the game in relief work. In the April meeting Webb gave up the walk off home run to Alejandra Rascon, but the freshman left that memory behind and pitched four clean innings, giving up just one hit and striking out eight batters in the win.
Both teams left runners in scoring position several times throughout the marathon game. Oakdale left five runners and East Union stranded four in scoring position on the evening.
With a scoreless game after nine innings, the International Tie Breaker Rule was in effect for the tenth inning. This is where each team starts their at-bat with a baserunner at second base. Webb struck out the side, giving the Lancers nothing, and Oakdale’s big bats were due up in the bottom of the tenth. With the speedy Kindra Hackbarth at second, with one out, Kindra’s sister Maddi Hackbarth stepped into the batter’s box. Maddi, who went 2-for-5 in the game, hit the walkoff double to score Kindra for the 1-0 win.
“We have battled with that team (East Union) all four years, so I take this game a little more personal with them,” Maddi said of the magnitude of the contest. “I was just looking to hit anything. I was just thinking if I can get it to the outfield Kindra would score and we would win the game. It makes it even more special that she was the one who scored the winning run.”
Maddi Hackbarth led the Valley Oak League in RBI with 30, was second in home runs with six and fourth in slugging percentage.
With the win Oakdale tied East Union for a share of the 2016 Valley Oak League title.
“This game was just awesome. This was a team effort, there were no egos or selfishness today and that helped carry us,” Kindra Hackbarth said of the total team effort.
She led the league in five major categories: runs (34), stolen bases (18), on base percentage (.684), slugging percentage (1.253) and batting average (.627).
PLAYOFFS - The Lady Mustangs entered the 2016 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Playoffs as the number two seed. Oakdale lost a coin flip to East Union to decide the top seed in the 16-team tournament. Oakdale took on the 15th ranked Cordova (11-8, 7-8) Lancers of the Sierra Valley Conference on Tuesday, May 17, following The Leader’s press time. If the Lady Mustangs were victorious, they move ahead and take on either Vista del Lago (20-4, 9-1) or Inderkum (15-9, 6-6) on Friday, May 20 at Sacramento Softball Complex with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m.