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Blaze 12s win hardware
The Ceres Blaze 12-year-old travel baseball team finished in second place at the Bel Passi tournament this past week.

"I'm proud of my boys," head coach Mike Bye said. "They made it to the championship game. We just came up a little short. It was a close game until the third inning. We made a couple of errors."

Blaze players were presented a team trophy and individual medals after losing 11-1 to Bel Passi Red in the finals on Wednesday.

Ceres won three of five games at the Bel Passi tourney.

"The kids had a good time," Bye said. "That's what we shoot for."

The Blaze beat the Ceres All-Stars twice (11-1, 12-1) and Oakdale once (2-1).

Bel Passi Red handed the Blaze their first loss, a 4-2 setback.

The Blaze enjoyed a productive end to the 2011 season.

The Blaze finally placed at a tournament.

"We tried not to put too much pressure on them," said Bye, who took over head-coaching duties midway through the season. "Hopefully, they'll want to come back and play next year."

The Ceres All-Stars compiled a 1-3 record en route to a top-four finish.

"We were in a tough bracket," head coach Mike Lopez said.

The All-Stars defeated the Dirty Dozen 9-1 on Monday, July 25.

The All-Stars lost twice to the Blaze (11-1, 12-1) and once to Bel Passi Red (14-4).

The All-Stars played shorthanded while losing to the Blaze in the semifinals on Tuesday, July 26.

Leadoff hitter/shortstop Gabe Jimenez dislocated a finger while sliding into second base in the top of the first inning. He exited the game after scoring.

"It would have been a whole different story if Gabe was there," Lopez said. "He's one of our main players. We weren't able to fill the void. It was a big loss. The kids were in shock."

The All-Stars took third in Newman and Hilmar, and fourth in Ceres this summer.