The Oakdale 12-and-under all-star baseball team concluded summer play with two tournaments in July. A young team from the start of the All-star season, they matured over the two months that they played and practiced together. After winning the Oakdale Come As You Are tournament (4-0) and then finishing a disappointing third in the District 1 tournament (1-2), the team started to really come together in post-season tournament play.
Oakdale competed in the Hilmar Invitational Baseball Tournament from July 12 to July 16 in Hilmar. After losing a close game to Atwater, the Oakdale Gold team had to fight their way through the losers bracket of the tournament. With every game being an elimination game, the team showed their resilience by combining clutch defense, extraordinary pitching and timely hitting to work back into the championship game. The team was led by Anthony Gomez, who belter an inside the park home run to power the team in hitting against Riverbank. Oakdale was also led by pitchers, Jacob Elting, Justin Jericoff, Michael Hass and Nathan Powers to keep the games close. Dylan Wright also provided a timely spark with clutch hitting to get rallies started as the Oakdale team defeated the likes of Atwater, Gustine, and Newman to make it back to the championship game. A lack of hitting against the Atwater All-Stars, though, relegated the team to a second place finish.
Oakdale then competed at the Bel Passi Baseball Tournament from July 19 to 25. In this pool play, single elimination tournament, Oakdale finished second with a 1-1-2 record in pool play. Solid defense was the key to this team as they held opponents to the lowest run total in pool play.
Due to a tough draw, the team was scheduled with two games on Saturday and Sunday when the temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. The team powered by their first opponent, Bel Passi Royal, by a score of 11-1, led by the solid pitching of Dylan Fernandez and Willem Hoekstra. Clutch hitting of Nathan Powers, aggressive base running of Michael Lin (who had two doubles) and the power hitting of Willem Hoekstra (who hit a towering home run off the scoreboard in left center) proved to be the spark needed to rally the team from behind to tie with the Ceres All-star team with a final score of 7-7.
Led by Andrew Smith’s slump-breaking double, they also came from behind with a last at-bat run to tie the score 6-6 against the Bel Passi Blue team. However the team could not bounce back in the fourth game of pool play and suffered their first loss against the Ceres Blaze 10-3. The power outage continued against the Bel Passi Royal team in the start of the elimination bracket, finishing off the team before they could make it to the championship game.
The community has reason to be proud of the squad, as the boys showed great resiliency and a no fear attitude. The Oakdale Baseball Association expressed thanks to Dan Powers, Bryan Elting, Michael Lin, and Darrin Powers for being the coaches for this all-star team. Special thanks was also extended to the parents who came out to help the team in practice and at games, including Steve Jericoff, Michael Hass, Amy Haas, Dustin Wright and John Fernandez.
Oakdale Leader correspondent Paul Westberg contributed to this report.