Oakville JV Legion team dismantles Maryland Heights 10-0 in wooden bat tournament

By Stephen Glover

Ask any baseball purist and nearly each one will agree that there’s nothing better than the sound of a baseball being hit by a wooden bat — an uncommon occurrence in the age of the aluminum bat.

You may have just missed a perfect opportunity to see baseball played the “old-fashioned” way as the Oakville American Legion junior varsity squad played host to a wooden bat tournament last week.

Oakville ended up winning its bracket and awaits a meeting with Brentwood in the championship game.

“We ended up going 3-0 in the tournament and were scheduled to play Brentwood in the championship game on Thursday,” Oakville head coach Matt Boyer told the Call. “Unfortunately they had to cancel because of a lack of players.”

That might be a good excuse as Oakville (30-10) dismantled Maryland Heights 10-0 in the first game of tournament pool play.

“We had played them (Maryland Heights) once before and put 10 runs on them,” Boyer said.

Oakville jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings of play, which was more than enough to sour Maryland Heights’ hopes for an upset.

“When we went ahead you could see their (Maryland Heights) heads go down because it’s hard to come back in a wood bat tournament,” Boyer said.

Oakville starting pitcher Joel Cleys threw an impressive five innings as he gave up just two hits, while walking one and striking out three in his fifth win of the season.

“Joel’s gotten his fair share of wins this season,” Boyer said. “When he came into the game, he got in there and got the job done.”

Shortstop Brian Roustio had a solid afternoon at the plate with a 2-4 performance as he scored three times and drove in two runs.

“Brian’s been hurt for about two weeks with a hyper extended elbow,” Boyer said. “Those two weeks really didn’t hurt his swing much. He got a couple of games in because he wanted to play.”

Oakville’s second-round game pitted them against Crestwood, which has become a good friendly rivalry between the two squads. Oakville walked away with a hard-fought 5-3 victory over Post 777.

“There’s always a rivalry with them (Crestwood) because the kids all know each other,” Boyer said.

Oakville starting pitcher Brett Deters threw a complete game of seven innings as he gave up three runs on six hits while walking three and retiring three via strikeout.

“Brett came in, threw strikes and really kept them off-balance,” Boyer said. “He’s the type of kid who goes out there and doesn’t feel any bit of pressure.

Outfielder Louie Haseltine was on fire at the plate as he went 3-3 with two runs scored on three hits. Haseltine recorded two doubles, one walk and two runs batted in during the winning effort.

“Louie goes up there and gets his rips,” Boyer said. “He’s always up there with runners in scoring position.”

Oakville rounded out pool play with a 9-5 win over Florissant, which helped alleviate the sting from a 15-10 loss during the District 10 playoffs.

“If we played them (Florissant) 10 times, we would beat them eight out of those 10 times,” Boyer said. “That one time during the district playoffs is when we fell apart fundamentally. We just made way too many errors.”

Starting pitcher Nick Gamewell gave up three hits in four innings as Florissant scored just two runs during his stint on the mound. Gamewell received his first win of the season as he walked three and struck-out two.

“Nick’s had a tough year,” Boyer said.

“It seemed like one way or another, Nick would get into trouble. He had the ability all year long, but needed the confidence to get it done. He threw a good four innings and made them put the ball into play.”

Second baseman and designated hitter Joe Gaterman was on fire at the plate with a 3-4 performance as he drove in three runs. Gaterman batted .419 with 14 doubles and 25 RBI during the 2004 campaign.

“Joe’s the kind of guy that stays within himself by getting a hit when we need him to get a hit,” Boyer said. “Each time he was up, he put the ball in play and drove somebody in.”