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Central Valley gains confidence despite losses
Oakdale High's varsity baseball has breezed past the majority of its league opponents this season, winning by an average margin of nine runs per game.

The defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and Valley Oak League champion Mustangs notched their seventh and eighth conference victories with a sweep of Central Valley last week.

The Hawks (6-10 overall, 3-5 VOL) showed plenty of fight against the heavily-favored Mustangs (17-0, 8-0).

"You're never happy with losing," Central Valley head coach Greg Magni said. "At the same time, we faced two Division I college pitchers. We battled. We gained a lot of respect. Their coaching staff was impressed with us."

Hawk starting pitcher Greg Guerra struck out seven and gave up five hits during Thursday's 2-0 loss to visiting Oakdale during Game 2 of the VOL series. The right-handed junior tallied just one walk.

"He kept us in the game," Magni said. "He did a great job using his fastball and slider. They didn't score until the fifth inning."

Nick VanderTuig, a junior pitcher who verbally committed to San Jose State, limited Central Valley to just three hits and finished with eight strikeouts.

The Hawks collected two of their hits in the bottom of the third. Damian Adams and Israel Trevino both singled to right field. Martin Gomez fouled off a 3-1 fastball before swinging through a curveball to end the inning.

"We just couldn't get the big hit when we needed it," Magni said.

Over 100 people and several scouts attended Game 1, which host Oakdale won 4-0 last Wednesday.

Cal-bound senior Justin Jones fired a no-hitter for the Mustangs. The southpaw tallied 11 strikeouts.

"He's unbelievably talented," Magni said.

Martin Gomez, Central Valley's top pitcher, tossed a five-hitter and fanned nine batters. He surrendered a full-count, two-run double to VanderTuig with two down in the bottom of the third inning, and a two-run homer to Steven Gratigny in the sixth.

VanderTuig, Oakdale's rightfielder, also preserved the no-hitter. He fielded Jesse Hatfield's line drive in the seventh inning and fired to first base for the game-ending out.

"There was nothing we could do," Magni said. "He (Jesse) was sprinting down the line. He got thrown out by 10 feet."

The contest lasted a just one hour and nine minutes.

The two teams combined to make just three errors during the VOL series.

Central Valley will compete in the Windemuth Tournament this week.

The Hawks will play host to Arch Bishop Riordan High School of San Francisco on Saturday at noon.

Central Valley's final six conference games are against Weston Ranch, Sierra and Ceres High.

The Hawks and Bulldogs are currently tied for fourth place in the VOL standings. The top two clubs in the eight-team league qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

"We're pretty excited," Magni said."We still control our own destiny."