Tigers stride toward conference title, out slug Marquette 9-6
May 04, 2005 - At the start of the 2005 season, the Oakville Senior High baseball team set a goal of winning the Suburban West Conference championship.
The Tigers (11-3, 6-1 Suburban West) are one step closer to that goal as Oakville beat the Marquette Mustangs 9-6 last week.
Tiger head coach Rich Sturm has been adamant about winning the conference championship and clinching a No. 1 seed for the upcoming Suburban South/West tournament, which begins this week.
"It was a huge goal of ours to come over to the Suburban West Conference and compete for a conference championship," Sturm told the Call. "We had a lot on the line in not only winning the conference championship, but also getting one of the four No. 1 seeds in the conference tournament."
Oakville starting pitcher Andy Marks threw a solid five innings, giving up four runs on five hits. Only one run was earned, and Marks struck out 11 and walked two to improve his record to 5-1 with a 1.43 earned run average.
"The wind was blowing straight out and it made his curve ball unbelievable," Sturm said. "His control and his command was very, very good."
Matt Pressler took the mound in the sixth inning and gave up two runs on one hit. The junior reliever walked four and struck out three in his first save of the year.
"There were some borderline pitches where he didn't get the call and they could have gone either way," Sturm said. "Despite the four walks, we're still encouraged by how he's pitching because he's keeping the ball down."
Junior Casey Jones had a solid day at the plate, hitting 2-5, driving in two runs and scoring one. The starting catcher is batting .366 with 13 runs batted in.
"What Casey's beginning to do for us is what he did for us all last year," Sturm said. "The one thing he's doing this year is that when they throw it in towards his hands, he's still able to pull the ball."
But junior outfielder Greg Dambach slugged the biggest hit of the game, a one-run homer on the first pitch of the second inning.
"That one swing really changed the game for us," Sturm said. "He really ignited us and gave us that spark that we needed."
Oakville will play host to either Lind-bergh or University City in the first round of the Suburban South/West Tournament at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 4.
The Tigers have beaten Lindbergh twice already this season — 7-2 and 8-5.
"This could be the best collection of teams in any tournament in the state," Sturm said. "This is a great opportunity for our team and the kids are very excited about it."