Oakville American Legion JV team advances to semifinal in regionals

By STEPHEN GLOVER

With two runners on and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Oakville American Legion junior varsity baseball team found itself clinging to a 5-4 lead over Woodward, Okla.

Head coach Gary Schmidt then called a conference on the mound and got his players focused on the task at hand.

“When they (Woodward) scored three runs on a double, we brought all the infielders in and said that we need two outs, so let’s get it done,” Schmidt told the Call. “It was one heck of a game.”

Relief pitcher Jake Moehlenbrock finished the game on a double play that resulted in an out at home plate and an out at first base.

The win over Woodward advanced Oakville to the semifinal game of the American Legion Mid-States Regional Tournament in Chanute, Kan., Monday morning. Oakville is slated to take on Minnetonka, Minn., in the semifinal.

Oakville got to the semifinal game with wins over the Las Vegas, Nev., Titans and host Chanute, Kan., along with a loss to Manhattan, Kan.

“This team has overachieved all year long,” Schmidt said. “It’s truly been a team effort because they’ve come together at the right time with some big hits.”

Oakville starting pitcher Ethan Stenger lasted six innings against Woodward as he gave up four runs on seven hits. Stenger struck out three batters and walked two in the win over Woodward.

“Ethan pitched six solid innings for us,” Schmidt said. “We were hoping to get three if not four innings from him, but he was a rock out there on the mound for us.”

Moehlenbrock, who grabbed the save for Oakville, pitched one inning and gave up one hit. He also nailed down two hits in four at-bats, which resulted in two runs batted in.

Catcher John Brinkmann also had a solid evening at the plate with a two-hit performance that resulted in one run scored and one run driven in.

“John had two big base hits for us,” Schmidt said. “He called one heck of a game behind the plate and really controlled the game for us.”

Should Oakville win its semifinal game against Minnetonka, Minn., the team will play Manhattan, Kan., in the championship game Monday afternoon — after the Call went to press.