LATHROP – Oakdale’s resume speaks for itself.
There wasn’t much Lathrop could get going against the three-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champion on Wednesday, either.
Oakdale took home its seventh straight Valley Oak League championship after a 10-0 road victory against the host Spartans (4-10 VOL, 9-15 overall).
“Lathrop – they played some good ball,” Oakdale head coach Hondo Arpoika said. “We just hit the ball well today and kept the focus.
“If you go back to (Tuesday’s) game, they got after it and played well. They were making all the plays, pitching well and got their runners in. Coach (Randy) Baltazar did a great job coaching them up.”
Oakdale opened the contest with a three-run top of the first inning, highlighted by a two-run homer by Eriksen Dickens that helped set the tone offensively. The Mustangs (12-2 VOL, 19-8 overall) scored three more in the third and two more in the fourth to jump out 8-0 comfortably.
“Oakdale stepped up their game, and we couldn’t match their intensity,” said Baltazar, Lathrop’s head skipper. “They have some good pitchers that can throw, and our Achilles’ heel this year has been swinging the bats. I think we’re improving though, and I think we’re doing a decent job of putting the bat on the ball. But there’s a reason why Oakdale is No. 1 in the (VOL).”
Lathrop got runners on base throughout the game, but Oakdale’s solid pitching and defense shut down any opportunities for Lathrop to plate any runs. The Mustangs turned double plays to end the inning in two of the first five frames. Lathrop got a hit in the second, but Oakdale’s Bryce Dyrda tossed one of his four strikeouts in three innings of work to end the second.
The Spartans put a runner on base in the third, fifth and seventh innings. However, Oakdale – which will open up the division IV postseason on May 16 -- didn’t let anything across.
Dyrda (three RBIs) one-bounced a shot to the wall in the third inning that scored Nik Garza for the 3-0 advantage. Dyrda also recorded a two-RBI single that dropped in shallow right during the fourth that scored Oakdale’s seventh and eighth runs of the contest.
“(Dyrda) is solid,” coach Baltazar said. “There’s a reason why he has a commitment to Southern Cal.”
Lathrop senior Preston Rizo wasn’t bad, either.
He pitched three innings and played well in his final game at Lathrop High. He tossed three strikeouts in three innings but also gave up six runs. Brandon Corral had a hit for Lathrop as did Michael Pereznegron.
Hilmar 5, Ripon 4
In Hilmar, the host Yellowjackets (5-7, 10-13) took advantage of two errors on the final play of the game. Breck Smith advanced to third on a botched pickoff play and plated the game-winning run just moments later.
Most of the scoring was done in the first inning, when Ripon (6-6, 14-12) took a 3-0 lead before Hilmar answered with four runs (3 unearned) in the bottom half. The Indians tied it in the fourth on Nick Price’s RBI single.
Senior Fotios Jordangalau led off the game with a double and finished 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run in his final contest. Scott Robison pitched solid in 5 1/3 relief innings, striking out five and allowing four hits and no walks.