Oakdale tops Red Wing for first Legion playoff win

The Oakdale American Legion baseball nine established a record July 22 when they posted a 12-2 triumph over the visiting Red Wing Post 54 nine.

For the first-year Oakdale players, the victory was the first ever post-season play win.

Oakdale, playing in the 30-team District III American Legion baseball league, was seeded 13th. The Oakdale nine hosted the 20th seed Red Wing River Ramblers.

Behind the 6-hit, 8-inning (in district play the teams play 9-inning games), 13 strikeout performance of Jake Schmidt, the Mavericks pounded out 13 hits as they took advantage of three River Ramblers pitchers.

Leading the offensive onslaught for the Mavericks was outfielder Bryan Villar. The right fielder was on base five times, he was 4-for-4 at the plate (three singles and a double and he also walked), scored four runs and had one RBI.

Holding down the opposition bats was Concordia College-bound Jake Schmidt. He went the distance to pick up the Maverick’s first-ever playoff victory.

“They couldn’t catch up to my fast ball,” Schmidt said smiling. “That set up my changeup. This was a big game for us. We came through with the bats. Everybody in the lineup is hitting well. We’re playing well right now.”

Oakdale manager Charlie Godbout echoed Schmidt’s words.

“That was a nice workman-like job by our kids. Villar was outstanding getting on base five times. But everyone in our lineup is hitting the ball well right now. We need to hit through our lineup to be successful. Right now we are doing that. Hopefully, we can keep it up.”

The Mavericks put a pair of runs on the board in the bottom of the first. Villar started things with a one-out single to right. A pop-up later, Nate Hammes, the Maverick’s leading hitter with a .476 batting average, stepped in and launched a bomb. The artillery shot sailed some 418 feet into the left centerfield parking lot, to make it 2-0, “Home”.

“He’s on fire,” Godbout said of Villar’s hitting prowess of late. “He’s hitting the ball in every game. Not only that, he’s hitting against some of the highest ranked teams and their best pitchers. We hope he can keep it up.”

In the last of the third, the Mavericks put another run on the board. Villar led off with a double into left. His shot was followed by a one-hop double off the center field fence by Bryan Jost that plated the fleet Villar.

In the upper fifth, Red Wing posted their second tally when Kyle Blahnik knocked a one-out single up the middle. Andy Bauer plated Blahnik with a double into the left centerfield gap.

Schmidt then tightened the cinch as he retired 11 of the remaining 12 batters he faced. In the final stretch, Schmidt allowed only one ball out of the infield.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Mavericks put the game on ice. Villar belted a one-out single. Walks to Jost and Hammes set the stage.

Schmidt stepped to the plate and slashed a shot into the right centerfield gap. The ball caromed off the fence and Schmidt raced to third with a 3-RBI triple that widened the margin 6-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Mavericks continued to taunt the River Ramblers. Nick Fuerst led off and was thwacked with a pitch. Kyle Ranum sacrificed him to second. A pop-up later, Villar singled and Fuerst touched home. On the play Villar moved to second on an error.

Jost followed and looped a single behind the shortstop. With two outs, Villar was running and crossed the plate to boost the tally to 8-2.

As play moved to the bottom of the seventh, the Mavericks continued their assault. Sean Claugherty and Schmidt (he was 3-for-5 at the plate with seven total bases) banged back-to-back doubles. Fuerst then hit sharply up the middle to pick up two RBI and push the count to a comfortable 10-2 leeway.

As Schmidt mowed down the River Ramblers in order (he picked up his final two strikeouts in the top of the eighth) the Mavericks could not be stopped.

Hammes got things going in the bottom of the eighth when he reached on an error. Claugherty was safe on a fielder’s choice as Hammes reached second on the second error of the inning.

Then, up came Schmidt to bang his second double. The Maverick’s ace picked up his fourth RBI as Hammes came home.

On the play, Claugherty tagged and moved to third. The game ended when Tyler Martin lofted a long shot to center. Claugherty came home after the catch to push the total to a final 10-run, 12-2 difference.

Oakdale claimed their first District III playoff win as they moved their overall mark to 16-21.

The Mavericks and the River Ramblers squared off July 23 in Red Wing. Oakdale continued to make history as they downed the River Ramblers by 12-8 to move into the final 16.

Once the District III field is reduced to 16 teams, they will enter double elimination play, scheduled for July 27-31, at fields in Apple Valley and Burnsville.

With the Oakdale victory over Red Wing, they move on to play July 27, 8 p.m., at the Ali Magnet Field Number One, in Burnsville.

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