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Baseball team seek playoff spot
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Coach Tim Williams and the Ceres High varsity baseball team endured a trying season in 2004. The Bulldogs finished last in the league standings at 1-17 and went 3-24 overall.

Williams is hoping for a reversal of fortunes this year.

"We really believe we're going to be really competitive and tough," Williams said. "You're definitely going to see some improvement."

Bret Durossette joined Williams' coaching staff, which also features Bruce Scott and Greg Magni. Durossette used to be head coach (1997-1999).

"We have four head coaches working together as one to get the best out of the guys," Williams said. "It makes my job easier."

Last season, Ceres' problems stemmed from consistency. Or lack of it. The Bulldogs batted just .213 from the plate with runners in scoring position. They also committed a host of untimely errors.

"If we make teams earn it, we're going to be tough to beat," Williams said.

Eight of Ceres' 18 players are returners, including Brian Borges, Derrick Goblirsch, Hector Reyes, Brandon Gresham, Nick Eudy, Jake Garrett, Cruz Flores and Conrad Valor.

Ceres' top newcomers are Luis Malagon, Jake Loveland, Matt Schwark, Jonathan Montez, Mario Navarro, Robbie Kerr, Ray Sewell, Alfredo Delgadillo, Ben Hurt and Irving Reyes. Malagon, Loveland, Schwark, Montez, Navarro, Kerr and Sewell were members of the Ceres High JV baseball team last year. Delgadillo, Hurt and Reyes didn't play.

"We've got a good mixture," Williams said.

"The core coming back are those five (Borges, Goblirsch, Reyes, Gresham and Eudy)."

This past summer, Borges, Goblirsch, Reyes, Gresham, Malagon, Loveland, Garrett, Montez, Kerr, Valor, Navarro and Sewell helped lead the Ceres High Legion baseball team to an 11-11 record.

"Offense and defense has improved," Williams said. "Pitching is going to be as good if not better."

Goblirsch, Borges, Reyes, Gresham, Eudy, Malagon, Montez, Loveland and Schwark start.

Goblirsch is Ceres' ace pitcher. The senior is also a utility infielder (1B/3B).

As a junior, Borges claimed Ceres' Offensive Player Award after posting a team-high .323 batting average. The senior outfielder no longer bats leadoff. He'll get an opportunity to drive in runs from the heart of the lineup.

Reyes' main position is third base. But the senior can play at shortstop or second base if needed. Reyes also pitches. He's Ceres' No. 2 starter.

Gresham and Eudy are senior outfielders. Gresham and Eudy play in left and right field, respectively. Eudy is also a relief pitcher.

Malagon is a junior shortstop/pitcher.

Montez is a sophomore first baseman/pitcher.

Loveland is a junior catcher. He's replacing Cole Stanhope.

"This is the first year we've had a junior have that starting position," Williams said. "He's got big shoes to fill."

Schwark is a junior second baseman. He can also play shortstop or third.

"Anybody at any given time in that lineup can get the big hit for us," Williams said.

Garrett (2B), Flores (1B), Valor (OF/1B), Delgadillo (OF), Hurt (2B), Kerr (OF), Navarro (3B), Sewell (OF/P) and Irving Reyes (OF/P) are reserves.

Ceres must finish in the top two in the Modesto Metro Conference to secure a berth in the playoffs.

"It's something we're striving for," Williams said.

So are Beyer, Johansen, Ceres, Davis, Downey and Modesto High.

"It's really a toss up," Williams said. "I think we're going to get a lot of teams beating each other which is going to make for an exciting race."

Added Goblirsch: "I want to compete for one of those playoff spots. With the team we have this year, we can."

Ceres flourished during the preseason.

The Bulldogs batted .350 overall and .407 with runners in scoring position en route to compiling a 5-1 record. They also stole nine bases.

"Getting them off to a good start is important," Williams said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier