If this postseason is beginning to look familiar to Oakdale High's baseball team, there's a very good reason.
The Mustangs are on the verge of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship game for the second consecutive season -- but they'll need to beat a familiar foe to reach that game.
Oakdale (23-3) takes on Placer (16-8) today at 4 p.m. in Game 2 of the best-of-three series, and a win sends the defending section champion back to the final. Oakdale swept Placer a year ago, and beat Bear River 12-0 for the crown.
Should Oakdale falter, the two teams will play a deciding Game 3 at 7 p.m.
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East Union (14-10) is in a similar spot when it plays Bear River (17-9) at 4 p.m. The Lancers beat the Bruins 6-4 in Game 1, and one win today puts East Union in the final.
Today's action is at McAulliffe Field, adjacent to Sacramento State, and the title game is Monday at Sacramento City College.
The 10-run mercy rule was applied for three of Oakdale's four playoff wins a year ago, but the Mustangs slipped past Placer 4-3 in Saturday's game. Junior Justin Jones (10-0, 0.50 ERA) is expected to start today at 4, with Justin Boyd (6-1, 2.52) a likely starter if a third game is played.
Oakdale and East Union each have a section title -- the Lancers won in 1998 -- and could play for a third time this year in an all-Valley Oak League section final.
Oakdale won the earlier games 10-0 and 11-0, but EU has won its last four in a row -- beating rival Sierra twice during the last week of the season to secure a playoff berth.
EU's Marshall Swift (5-3, 3.57) beat Center 9-1 with a six-hitter in the first round and is the likely starter today, while Bear River will throw Vince Viola (9-1, 0.88).
Bear River lacks a strong No. 2 hurler, so EU's other choice is to hold Smith for a possible Game 3 -- and hope its offense can produce a victory in Game 2.
EU's Wade Morten and Teddy Anderson have combined for 14 doubles, 14 homers, 58 RBIs, 49 runs and a .420 batting average on the season.
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