SACRAMENTO -- There's only one problem with baseball weather, and that's baseball weather.
Oakdale and East Union high schools began their best-of-three series in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV baseball championships at high noon Saturday, with an emphasis on high.
The sun seemed -- and felt -- a whole lot closer, maybe to get a better seat, as Oakdale took on Placer of Auburn and East Union met Bear River of Lake of the Pines.
It was so hot wrapped in all that gear that the plate umpire for East Union's game left the field before the start of the fifth inning, nauseous. During the delay, Oakdale (23-3-3) scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead en route to a 3-2 win. On the other diamond at McAuliffe Field, the coaches agreed to proceed with one man in blue, even though the ill ump returned in the last of the sixth to keep watch on the bases as the Lancers (14-10) defeated Bear River 6-4.
Game 2 in each series is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday with a third game to follow, if necessary.
"We haven't had a chance to acclimate ourselves to this weather," East Union coach Dan Triglia said.
Said Oakdale coach Hondo Arpoika, "We tell the kids to hydrate. We expect to play in it."
Sophomore Nick Vandertuig pitched a four-hitter for Oakdale on a day when the Mustangs' bats weren't so hot. Vandertuig had two of Oakdale's four hits, RBI doubles in the fourth and fifth.
The delay produced another measure of concern for East Union, when senior left-hander Trae Lopez was forced to sit for about 15 minutes.
"We talked about that," Triglia said. "We kept him relaxed and cooled down, and he looked super."
Lopez struck out James McCririe when the game resumed and followed a four-batter fifth with a 1-2-3 sixth. Two hits, including an RBI double, and a bad decision on a fielder's choice that failed to produce an out helped Bear River (17-9) score twice in the seventh, but Lopez struck out clean-up hitter Drew Loftus to end it. Lopez walked two and struck out nine, and the Lancers didn't commit an error.
"For the most part, we were pretty solid again, and the way Trae was throwing, we felt confident Trae was going to finish," Triglia said.
Meanwhile, next door, Oakdale didn't record its first hit until the fourth, when Vandertuig's double to left-center drove in the first run, and it was 3-1 through six innings. That had the East Union-Bear River crowd taking an occasional peep over the left shoulder to stay caught up.