Since 2014, the Oakdale High School softball team has had its sights on a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title. They have come close since, but have watched others hoist the blue banner in triumph. On Thursday, May 23 that changed.
After suffering their only loss of the season on Tuesday night, Oakdale rattled off four straight wins over a two-day span to earn their CIF Sac-Joaquin Division III Championship.
On May 21, Oakdale lost 2-0 in the third round of the playoffs to Vanden. The number four seeded Vikings shut out the top seeded Mustangs in a game that featured nearly 20 mile per hour winds. Vanden scored both runs in the third inning. Unable to get a run across, this was Oakdale’s first and only loss of the season. The Lady Mustangs were 12-0 in Valley Oak League play to take the VOL crown.
With a double-elimination format in the Section tournament, Oakdale knew they couldn’t lose the rest of the way. Wednesday, May 22 the girls took on second seed Del Campo. In the game, Oakdale scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Emily Smith had two RBI and senior shortstop Brittany Bye added another, both off doubles. Lexi Webb pitched all seven innings, striking out nine and giving up seven hits.
Later that night Oakdale had to go toe-to-toe with Vanden for the second time in 24 hours. The Lady Mustangs avenged the loss from the night before as they defeated the Vikings 3-1. The win put Oakdale into the section championship against third ranked Golden Valley. Oakdale had to win both games in the two game series in order to claim the blue banner.
In game one, Bye drove in all three runs in the team’s 3-2 win over the Cougars. In the top of the first inning Bye hit an RBI double to score Rilyn Cassaretto from second with no outs. The Cougars tied the game on a leadoff home run by freshman Naomi Moore off Webb in the bottom of the first inning. Golden Valley then took a 2-1 advantage in the third inning. In the top of the fifth inning Bye connected on a two run home run to center field with one out to give Oakdale the 3-2 lead and ultimately the win.
“I just wanted to come out here and help my team in any way. We don’t want this ride to end,” said Bye after the game.
With the win, Oakdale forced the winner-take-all showdown with the Cougars. In the top of the first of the championship game, Oakdale jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back in their 12-2 victory. Bye got the team rolling with an RBI double. Mariyn Waterman connected on a two-RBI single, Alexa Aguilar, Emily Smith and Sophia Ortiz all brought in runs in the inning. The Cougars scored twice in the bottom of the first but could not keep up with Oakdale.
Webb, who pitched every game this postseason, showed up at the plate as well as she hit a solo home run in the fourth inning with one out to go up 8-2.
“This is very special to me, my senior year I could not ask for a better group of girls to accomplish this with,” said Webb.
Oakdale added on four more runs to put away the game in five innings.
One of the bright spots was catcher Sophia Ortiz, a freshman, who stepped into duty behind the dish when sophomore catcher Rylie Goodridge went down in the opening round of the playoffs due to injury. Ortiz drove in a total of five runs in the final two games.
“I always wanted to catch Lexi Webb; she is amazing so I will never forget this experience. Rylie is an amazing catcher and I learned a lot from her,” said Ortiz.
Oakdale’s three seniors, Bye, Webb and Smith all went out with a championship. “These are my best friends and for us to accomplish this, in the way that we did, is truly amazing. I will never forget these girls, or this night,” said Smith.
Oakdale finished the season with an overall record of 29-1-1. Oakdale is coached by Larry Loger, Mike Bye and Trent Merzon.