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Blaze 10s take second in Modesto
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For the second straight week, the Ceres Blaze and Bel Passi Red 10-year-old baseball teams faced off in the finals of a tournament.

Unable to fire on all cylinders, the Blaze fell 5-0 on Tuesday, July 6. Ceres lost 9-2 and 2-1 to Bel Passi at the George Costa event.

"We've played them tough every time," Ceres head coach Kevin Oliver said. "They seem to put everything together when it matters."

The Blaze tallied three wins and one setback at Bel Passi.

Ceres pitchers Tanner Shears, Nick Jones, Michael Juarez, Jay Gomes and Austin Schmidt combined to strike out 43 batters, yield six runs and walk eight in 22 innings.

"Our pitching has been lights out," Oliver said. "For whatever reason, we haven't been hitting. Hopefully, we can get it turned around."

The All-Stars managed just four base runners and collected no hits against Bel Passi Red last week.

Shears, who received no run support, had 11 strikeouts and two walks.

Four of Bel Passi's six hits came with two strikes.

Ceres downed Bel Passi White 6-0 in championship bracket play on Sunday, July 4.

Jones fanned 12, walked none and surrendered just two hits.

In seed play, the Blaze topped Merced 6-1 on Saturday, July 3 and blanked Atwater Youth Baseball 14-0 on Thursday, July 1.

Juarez, Gomez and Shears all pitched against Merced.

Michael, Austin and Jay totaled four, three and two strikeouts, respectively.

Jones and Schmidt had five and four strikeouts apiece versus Atwater.

The Blaze are looking forward to a rematch against Bel Passi Red, which held a slim 1-0 leading through four innings of play during the third meeting.

Ceres allowed two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.

"You hate to lose to the same team over and over," Oliver said. "Our kids believe we can beat them. We'll cross paths again."

The Ceres All-Stars fell 8-7 to Oakdale in the third-place game on Thursday.

Ceres surrendered three runs in the final inning. The All-Stars issued six walks.

"They took it from us at the very end," Ceres head coach Bobby Balagot Sr. said. "If this doesn't teach the kids to persevere in other tournaments, nothing will."

The All-Stars had a 2-3 mark at Bel Passi.

Ceres beat Oakdale 9-4 on Sunday, July 4 and Atwater Youth Baseball 17-5 on Saturday, July 3.

The All-Stars lost 10-2 to Bel Passi Red on Monday, July 5 and 10-9 to Bel Passi White on Friday, July 2.