By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The Ceres Red 14-and-under All-Star baseball team avoided a major letdown Thursday night when it edged out Bel Passi Red for the Bel Passi Invitational championship.

Ceres Red escaped with a 10-8 extra-inning victory.

"I'm very happy," Ceres Red pitcher Frankie Chavez said. "We had an awesome summer. I love my teammates and coaches."

Ceres Red compiled a 13-3 record this year.

Ceres Red won titles in Modesto and Hilmar, and placed second at home.

"We have a good, little squad," head coach Junior Schaefer said. "They don't get down on themselves."

Bel Passi Red nearly sent Ceres Red home with a heart-breaking loss.

Bel Passi Red stranded the potential winning run at third base after evening the score at 8-all in the bottom of the seventh inning. Chavez's strikeout ended the threat.

Ceres Red broke the tie in the eighth inning. Robert Vargas lined a single up the middle, advanced all the way to third on Rito Zuniga's hit to right field and scored on Johnny Ochoa's groundout. George Carreno knocked in Zuniga with a single.

Chavez received more than enough run support.

"That was big," he said.

Frankie induced a groundout and tallied two strikeouts in the bottom of the eighth inning to secure the victory. He was mobbed by his teammates on his way to the dugout.

"I was nervous," Frankie said. "I took a breather, came back and threw strikes."

Chavez pitched the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. He tallied two strikeouts in the sixth. Frankie settled down after allowing three runs in the fourth inning.

"I just wanted to finish the game," Chavez said.

Vargas' two-run single gave the All-Stars a 7-6 lead in the top of the fifth inning. Chavez and Moses Ghiorso both scored.

In the sixth inning, Ochoa reached on an error, moved to second when Carreno got hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a wild pitch and raced home on Martinez's groundout to first.

Ceres Red won six of seven games at the Bel Passi event.

Ceres Red and Bel Passi Red faced off three times. The two teams split (10-6, 10-6) prior to playing in the finals.

Ceres Red beat Bel Passi Navy (7-6, 3-2) twice, and Modesto Terrapins (8-7) and Atwater (12-2) once.

Ceres Red faced stiff competition at the Bel Passi tournament.

"It's funner playing here," Chavez said. "There's a lot more challenging teams."