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Mustang Softball Program Crafts Solid Preseason
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Morgan Merzon continued her torrid hitting pace over the weekend as the varsity Mustang softball girls swept a doubleheader from Ben Holt Academy. Jeff Kettering/The Leader

By PETE SIMONCINI - Sports Correspondent

The Oakdale Mustang varsity and junior varsity softball teams had good and excellent experiences respectively the week of March 27 through April 1. The 8-3 varsity team dropped a tough 2-1 nailbiter to the Lincoln Trojans from Stockton on Monday, March 27. Pitching was the key in this game as Mustang senior Delainey Everett and her counterpart Daniella Hunter matched each other in intensity. Everett, pitching four-and-two-thirds innings, gave up two unearned runs on four hits while striking out 11. Her younger sister, junior Raegen Everett, surrendered a lone hit while striking out four over an inning and a third. Contrastingly, Hunter gave up a run on three hits while striking out seven.

Head coach Larry Loger tersely lamented: “Lincoln scored two runs without a hit in the fourth inning. We can’t do that against teams as good as they are.”

The Mustangs offense was back in play in a big way on Saturday, April 1 as they swept a double header against the Bobcats of the Ben Holt Academy by the lopsided scores of 16-0 and 20-0. Finally getting to play home games, the Mustangs pounded out 32 hits compared to two hits for Ben Holt over the two games. Sophomore Morgan Merzon continued her early season tear from the plate going 2 for 2 in the first game with a single, a home run, and 4 RBI. Delainey Everett went 2 for 2 with a double and a round tripper for 3 RBI, while Presley Barnes stayed hot from the plate going 2 for 3 with a double and a triple for 3 RBI. From the circle, Delainey Everett worked three innings surrendering no hits and striking out 9. Fellow senior Katy Thomasson gave up one hit and struck out two in relief.

In the nightcap, the Mustangs, led by Taylor Suarez, recorded 19 hits to overwhelm the Bobcats. Suarez went 3 for 4 (all hits were doubles), scoring 2 runs and driving in five. Raegen Everett worked three innings of perfect ball from the circle, striking out eight.

The Mustang Junior Varsity of head coach Don Gonzalez had a perfect week defeating Lincoln 10-0 and Central Valley 13-0. Leading the way for the Mustangs was pitcher Emily Thomasson who has recorded a perfect 0.00 earned run average so far this season. Against Lincoln, Thomasson struck out 10 while giving up 3 hits and walking only 1, and against Central Valley she allowed but two hits while striking out 6 and walking 1. Thomasson attributes her success in going 5-0 so far this season to her approach to pitching.

“My approach when in the circle is to stay calm and know that my teammates have my back.”

The sophomore sensation also cites family as being a key to her success. “I believe my success has come from my mom and my sister always supporting my decisions and always pushing me to keep going. It also comes from the hard work that has been put into this sport and the dedication.”

Offensively, the JV team was sizzling last week. Against Lincoln, the Mustangs collected ten hits. Leading the way was Grace Constant who hit an inside the park home run. Against Central Valley, Mia Ortiz led the way by driving in four runs, going 2-for-2 at the plate including a double in the first inning and a triple in the third.

In addition to the varsity and JV teams, the freshman softball team has also been in action, with one game last week. Overall the freshmen are 2-3 under first year coach Haley Fuller (OHS Class of 2016). In last week’s only game, the Ponies dropped a 12-5 decision to Lincoln of Stockton. Said Fuller, “Our girls are working extremely hard and I see improvements every week. It has been a lot of fun coaching these young athletes and I look forward to the rest of the season.”

Both the varsity and JV teams were scheduled to host Manteca on Tuesday, April 4 to open up Valley Oak League play. On Thursday, April 6, both teams will hook up with the East Union Lancers at home for key early season league games.