section champs OAKDALE MUSTANGS,CA DIV 4
June 2, 2010


CHAMPIONS! - Mustangs Top El Dorado For SJS Title










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June 2, 2010




By Ike Dodson








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Oakdale players celebrate the section championship
victory with a dog pile.

 


IKE DODSON/THE
LEADER


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Trailing Oakdale High’s
baseball team late in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title game, El
Dorado players began to try out all kinds of superstitious hocus pocus.


They donned rally caps,
began uttering tribal chants and even started talking to loose baseballs
scattered about the dugout.

But
destiny had another plan.

Back-to-back
strikeouts from Mustang reliever Matt Butler ended El Dorado’s final
at-bats, awarding Oakdale a 9-4 victory at Lodi’s Tony Zupo Field and an
SJS championship.

“This
is a phenomenal feeling,” Oakdale coach Hondo Arpoika said, moments
after the blue SJS banner was awarded. “Everybody chipped in and
everybody worked to make this possible.”

Oakdale led just 2-1 after three innings, but
scored three in the fourth and added four more in the fifth as El
Dorado fumbled to four costly errors.

The Cougars rallied back with three runs in the sixth and even
loaded the bases to put the tying run on deck. The inning came to a
close when Craig Lefebvre snagged a grounder and out-touched an El
Dorado runner at third.

Lefebvre
had turned a routine single into a double when he caught an outfielder
napping, and even made a valiant dive to first base on a sharp infield
knock that nearly counted for a single.

He could not have hustled more in his final
game in Mustang uniform.

“This
feels so great,” Lefebvre said. “This shows what hard work and good
players can do.”

Brennon
Williams started for Oakdale, and struck out six in six innings with
just four hits allowed. He was switched to right field after loading the
bases in the sixth, and watched Butler struggle with his control until a
dominant final inning.

With
El Dorado hitters taking nearly every pitch, Butler battled to 0-2
counts and fanned each of his last two hitters for a crowd-rousing
ending.

“(Butler) has done that
all year for us,” Arpoika said. “That’s what his expectations were, and
he really closed strong.”

Williams
smashed an RBI double to deep right to start the Oakdale scoring and
finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. He plated Braydon Stephens (2-for-3)
and Kody Simons (two-RBI double in the fifth) with a big hit in the
fourth.

“We knew that we had the
ability to do this,” Williams said. “We came to play and we did what we
wanted to do.”

Seniors
Tanner Combs (RBI double) and Joey Machado (double off the wall) each
came through with monster knocks in big spots.

The two were equally impressive in an earlier
4-2 win over Rio Linda that propelled Oakdale to the section finals.
Williams struck out 11 with only three hits allowed in a complete game
effort. Lefebvre (triple), Combs (2-for-3) and Zach Abbott (2-for-3, two
runs) had big days at the plate while senior Cole Branch made a big
slide at second to keep the game-winning inning alive.

Oakdale went 4-0 in the postseason to finish
24-8 on the year.

“These
kids made for a tight mix of players, and they kept it together,”
Arpoika said. “They did everything we asked all year.”








 
















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section champs OAKDALE MUSTANGS,CA DIV 4
June 2, 2010

CHAMPIONS! - Mustangs Top El Dorado For SJS Title


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June 2, 2010

By Ike Dodson

Article Image

Oakdale players celebrate the section championship victory with a dog pile.

...