Oakville High baseball team captures first district title in five years

By STEPHEN GLOVER

It had been five years since the Oakville Senior High School baseball team won a district championship, and last week’s 13-12 win over Vianney was nothing less than a barnburner for the Tigers.

“It’s been a pretty crazy week,” Oakville head coach Rich Sturm said. “Obviously, it’s a big accomplishment for our program to win a district championship. I have to say that it feels really good and we’re looking forward to play our sectional game on Tuesday.”

The May 14 win over Vianney in the Class 4, District 3 championship game advanced Oakville to the Class 4 sectional game at Parkway South on Tuesday — after the Call went to press. Oakville (20-5, 6-2 Suburban West) held a commanding 8-4 lead over Vianney (16-11, 5-2 Metro Catholic) going into the seventh inning. But a six-run outburst by the Golden Griffins in the top of the seventh gave them a 10-8 lead with three outs away from one of the biggest comebacks in state high-school baseball history.

“The combination of Vianney not wanting their season to end and a couple of mistakes on our end led to that comeback,” Sturm said. “You have to give them a lot of credit.”

But the Tigers bounced back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 10-10 going into the eighth inning.

Vianney took a 12-10 lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Tigers clawed their way back with a single by Ryan Huck. An errant throw to first base advanced Huck to second base. Huck then was driven in by a line drive to left center field by Dan Chambliss.

The Tigers tied the game at 12-12 when Brett Holloway drove in Chambliss on a triple. Oakville proceeded to grab the win away from Vianney when Mike Moore drove in Holloway on a sacrifice fly. What seemed to have been a game that had slipped away from the Tigers turned into one of the more exciting games of the season.

“You’ve also got to give our kids a lot of credit in that game,” Sturm said. “It really showed the toughness of our team.”

Oakville starting pitcher Bubba Bradshaw gave up seven runs on seven hits in six innings while walking four and striking out three in the no-decision effort.

“I thought it was a quality start for Bubba,” Sturm said. “I was very happy with how he threw and he did what we expected him to do, which was keep us in the game.”

Oakville relief pitcher Bryan Doyle grab-bed the win with a two-inning relief effort that yielded just two runs on one hit.

“We put him in the game in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and he gave up just one run,” Sturm said. “We brought him into a very tough situation, but he’s really excelled coming out of the bullpen.”

Oakville starting shortstop Mike Moore, who drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth, racked up two runs on two hits and drove in two runs. Moore also recorded a triple and two sacrifice flies.

“Mike’s an exceptional ballplayer that’s very versatile and has been a very big part of our resurgence this season,” Sturm said. “He can do all of the little things you need from someone in the leadoff spot.”

Oakville first baseman Dan Chambliss racked up three hits while scoring two runs and driving in three runs. Chambliss also recorded two walks for a total of five times on base.

“Dan had a huge game,” Sturm said. “In every one of his at-bats, he was down in the count and battled his way back. To get on base five times in a district championship game is just phenomenal.”

Parkway South (15-6, 5-3 Suburban West) defeated Oakville 3-2 April 14 in the two teams’ lone meeting this season as Patriot starting pitcher Kyle Cornell gave up two runs on two hits in seven innings.

Oakville’s Nick Schmiemeier, who was set to pitch Tuesday, gave up three runs on four hits in eight innings in the April 14 game.

“Nick had a pretty strong outing last time and we’re leaning towards putting him back out there and giving him another shot at them,” Sturm said. “Parkway South is a very fundamentally sound team that basically makes you as uncomfortable as possible.

“We’re going to have to get a lead early and hold on to it.”