Vista eliminated following second loss to Oakdale

By: Matt Long/Telegraph Sports Editor
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A dramatic comeback and late-inning victory forced a third and deciding game in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs, but Vista del Lago suffered a 4-0 defeat to Oakdale in the nightcap and their season is over. Wednesday at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi, the Eagles had to beat Oakdale twice to advance to the finals against Sonora, but following a thrilling 12-11 victory, Vista had little offense left and lost the finale without scoring a run. The day did not start well for the Eagles, as Oakdale promptly scored four runs in the top of the first inning in the opening game. The Mustangs loaded the bases on a Vista error, a hit-by-pitch and a single before Andy Morris doubled to center field to drive in all three runs. The team?s fourth run came on another Vista error. Making matters worse, the Mustangs tacked on two more runs in the second inning and led 6-0. Vista showed their heart -- and talent --as they began chipping away at the deficit. Ryan Rodriguez started the rally with a single and Wyland Silvan and Mike Majeski walked to load the bases. With two outs, Nick Rametta, who finished the game with three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored from the nine spot in the lineup, singled to drive in two runs. After Bryce Gieseke walked to load the bases, Josh Pfeffer drew a walk to score Majeski and the Eagles had cut the lead in half, 6-3. Oakdale made it 7-3 in the top of the third, but Vista put together a six-run inning in the bottom of the inning to take a 9-7 lead. Travis Fowlston and Silvan singled with one out before Nick Scolini walked to load the bases, which also brought an end to starting pitcher Eddie Machado?s day. Machado?s replacement, Shawn Harrity, didn?t fare much better. Fowlston scored on a wild pitch and Majeski tripled to score Silvan and Scolini to make it 7-6. With his second hit of the game, Rametta tied the score at seven when his single scored Majeski. Gieseke then followed with a two-run home run to left and the Vista held at 9-7 lead two innings after trailing 6-0. The Eagles added two more runs in the fourth when Gieseke doubled to score Majeski and Rametta, who both reached base on singles. Despite giving up seven runs in the first three innings, Vista starter Andrew Lucio kept the Mustangs at bay over the next three innings. With his pitch count over 100, Lucio began to tire and hit the first batter in the seventh inning. After one out, Lucio allowed a hit and the Mustangs had runners at the corners. Another single scored one run and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of leadoff hitter Mark Ortiz, who had a double and two singles in his previous two at bats. Vista coach Scott Seffens visited the mound and had thoughts of replacing Lucio for Tyler Kaim, but didn?t pull the trigger. On the second pitch he saw, Ortiz ripped the ball over the left field wall to tie the game. ?Were we trying to win one game or two?? Seffens said. ?I wanted to save Mike for the second game and I stayed with Andrew rather than go to Tyler because he had gotten us so far. I called for a fastball outside, but it was down the middle and he hit it. Andrew busted his butt the whole game. I told him before it started that he was going to have a high pitch count so I told him he would have to deal with it.? Muzzi added, ?Andrew just battled and that?s all you can ask from him.? In the bottom of the seventh, Pfeffer reached base on an error and Muzzi followed with a double over the right fielder?s head, allowing Pfeffer to score and give the Eagles a 12-11 victory. ?We had a play on where I would take a bunt and step out so I would get a fastball and amazingly enough they threw me a fastball,? Muzzi said of his game-winning hit. ?I just tried to get a good swing on it.? Everyone n the lineup had at least one hit. Following Rametta?s strong game and Muzzi?s game-winning hit, Gieseke had two hits and drove in four runs, while Majeski had two hits and two RBI?s and also scored three runs. ?Yesterday at batting practice Nick was swinging it good so I knew he was back,? Seffens said. Lucio pitched 6 1/3 innings, scattering 11 hits, while hitting five batters and walking one against nine strikeouts. In the nightcap, the Eagles managed only five hits against Oakdale?s Logan Handzlik, who struck out 10 and walked one in the complete game shutout in which he threw only 87 pitches. Rodriguez and Fowlston each had two hits, while Majeski had the other. Majeski pitched well for the Eagles, allowing six hits to go with six strikeouts, but with no offensive support, it didn?t matter. Oakdale scored the only run it needed in the third inning. Ortiz turned a pop fly to shallow center field into a double when Fowlston and Gieseke met Muzzi in center field going after the ball and no one was left covering second base. Ortiz then stole third and home to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead. They tacked on two more runs in the fifth with two hits and a Vista error. Oakdale?s final run came in the seventh inning. ?We wanted to get up in the box and hit his curve and then hit the low fastball too,? Muzzi said. ?It was tough to see the break on his off-speed pitch.? Seffens added, ?He?s a good kid and he was throwing all his pitches. We had a couple of chances, but it was tough to string hits together against him. I guess it wasn?t meant to be. I?m proud of the kids, though. We finished with 21 wins and did a lot of good things. We got two playoff wins, which was good for the program. It was a great year.?