Oakdale powers past Mahtomedi

The Oakdale American Legion baseball nine took to the road June 22 to meet the Mahtomedi Meteors in District III league play.

The game, played at Mahtomedi High School, featured some power hitting by the Oakdale Acorns. The game-clincher came in the top of the sixth, when Bryan Jost stepped to the batters box with the sacks full. His shot — 362 feet over the left centerfield fence — pushed the Acorns lead to 11-0.

Mahtomedi countered with a run in the last of the sixth, but the one run was all they could muster as Oakdale posted an 11-1 victory.

"We hit the ball up and down the order," Oakdale coach Charley Godbout said. "It was a good game for us. The best thing for us right now is that we are making the plays. We’re getting the pitching, we’re hitting the ball and we’re playing good defense. We’re having fun playing baseball."

The Oakdale team was formed because of a quirk in the rules under which District IV American Legion Baseball operates. District IV does not allow players from the Tartan Titans — even though they are in the same school district — to play for the North St. Paul American Legion Post 39.

The Oakdale team was formed as an "independent" without an American Legion post as a sponsor.

From the Meteors perspective, the game was over in the first inning. "We got hammered," stated Mahtomedi coach Steve Black. "They are a good team. They have some very good players and are just a better ball team than us. They hit the ball and we didn’t. There isn’t much more to say than that."

The win pushed the Acorns to a season mark of 7-7, while the loss dropped the Meteors to 2-7.

The Acorns pounded out 10 hits — four doubles and a home run — for 17 total bases. They capitalized on four walks, two errors and a hit batsman to prevail over the Meteors. All but two of the players in the starting lineup lineup scored runs.

On the mound for Oakdale was Grant Johnson, who will be a senior next season at Tartan. Though he didn’t throw an inning of varsity high school baseball, he moved his American Legion season mark to 2-0 with the win.

He lost his shut out in the bottom of the sixth when a two-out double by Evan Vail was followed by a solid single off the bat of C. J. Stevens to plate the only Mahtomedi tally.

Johnson — in going the distance — allowed just five hits, walked one and struck out three.

The Acorns committed just one error behind him, as only two Mahtomedi runners reached second base or further.

The Acorns produced the wining run in the top of the first. Nate Hammes led off and worked a walk. Bryan Villar followed with a slicing double into the right field corner to plate Hammes. Jake Schmidt reached first when he was nailed with a pitch. Sean Claugherty banged a shot to right center and Villar came home with what would turn out to be the winning run.

Then, a walk to Bryan Jost was followed by an infield roller by Tyler Martin that scored Schmidt. Nick Fuerst then slammed a one hop double off the left centerfield fence to plate Claugherty and Oakdale was on top 4-0.

In the top of the fourth, Oakdale went up by five. Designated hitter Tom Barilla banged a single to right. He moved to second when Alex Pierson legged out an infield hit. A fielder’s choice moved him to third and Barilla raced home on a wild pitch.

The scoring parade for Oakdale continued in the fifth. Schmidt beat out an infield hit and went to second on a wild throw at first. Claugherty — he was 2-for-2 and scored three runs — narrowly missed a home run when his shot clanked off the right centerfield fence to plate Schmidt.

Claugherty moved to third on a long fly off the bat of Jost. Tyler Martin grounded out to second and picked up a RBI when Claugherty crossed the plate.

Pierson led off the top of the sixth with a double down the left field line. An infield error also put Villar on the base paths. With two outs, Claugherty worked a walk to load the sacks.

In stepped Jost. He worked the count to 2-2 before he unloaded his grand-slam that pushed the count to 11-0.

The Acorns play their home games at Tartan High School. They next will host Stillwater at 6:15 p.m. on June 29. The Acorns travel to South St. Paul for a 6:15 p.m. contest on June 30 and return home to face Forest Lake at 6:15 p.m. on July 5.

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