Five Oakdale baseball players, a Riverbank player and several more from Turlock met with Oakdale High graduate and current California State University, Berkeley pitcher Justin Jones earlier this month during the college World Series in Nebraska. They also saw Cal compete in the CWS, but Jones could not take the mound because of injury.
So the local youth played for him.
The collection of youngsters took on a tough field of competitors at their own tournament near the CWS Omaha venue. The team went 2-0 in pool play and 3-0 to open the championship bracket, ultimately finishing 5-1 after a 7-3 loss to the Oklahoma Cowboys in the tourney’s title game.
“I thought the whole trip was really fun,” NorCal and Oakdale High baseball coach Nate Gregory said. “They were able to see where hard work has taken some really good baseball players.”
Oakdale’s Devin Odom pitched a complete game during NorCal’s 10-2 rout of Oklahoma to open the team’s tourney action. Oakdale’s Josh Snow and Wyatt Hansen combined for the win during game two and watched Oakdale’s Blake Whiting throw a complete game shutout in a 10-0 win over a team from Chicago to propel NorCal to the finals. Oakdale’s Wesley Allen hit for a sharp .417 batting average in the tournament as well.
Riverbank’s Eric Solario led hitters with 12 base knocks and an .800 average during competition (triple, home run).
Turlock’s Ben Lascano (.667 batting average, three doubles), Calvin Grover (.500 average) and Kyle Zapian (complete game win) also stood out during play.