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Blaze nine-and-under competitive squad piles up 30 wins
Ceres team enjoys memorable campaign
The Ceres Blaze nine-and-under travel youth baseball team finished in fourth place at the Pony Baseball Mustang West Zone-Super Regional Tournament earlier this month in Modesto. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The Ceres Blaze capped off the 2014 season with a respectable showing at the Pony Baseball Mustang West Zone-Super Regional Tournament.

The nine-and-under travel youth baseball squad placed fourth at the eight-team event, staged July 10-15, at Modesto's Bel Passi Fields.

"It was a great experience," coach Antone Lopez said. "We'll be better prepared next year."

The Blaze went 30-16-1 on the year.

Ceres placed third at Regionals.

The Blaze captured the North Regional District title.

Ceres also finished first at the Jay Riberia, NorCal Trojan and Bel Passi Thunder tournaments.

"We had a very successful year compared to how we did last season," Lopez said. "They exceeded my expectations.
I had a feeling we were going to be pretty competitive.
This group is going to be special as they move forward."

The Blaze compiled a 2-2 record at the Super-Regional tournament.

"The competition was stiff," Lopez said. "We just ran out of juice. Our pitching was thin."

Blossom Valley eliminated Ceres from the tournament with an 11-4 win on Sunday.

The Blaze committed four errors.

Ceres trailed 5-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning.

Ryan Estermann led the way on offense with one RBI.

Nick Villalobos and Gabrial Lopez both scored one run.

Victor Alvarez collected one hit.

"It was emotional," coach Lopez said while talking about his team's season-ending loss. "They're still hungry to keeping playing. I've coached a lot of good teams. This team ranks as the best."

Ceres edged the North Bay Admirals 7-6 Sunday afternoon.

Alvarez batted 4-for-4 with two runs.

Wyatt Moring batted 3-for-3 with two RBIs.

Josh Prestridge batted 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs.

Javier Guerrero batted 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run.

Brock Fanconi batted 1-for-3 with one run.

"It was one of our best games of the year," Antone Lopez said.

The Blaze defeated Morgan Hill Red 9-4 in the loser's bracket Saturday afternoon.

Diego Nida batted 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs.

Alvarez batted 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs.

Sammy Wilson batted 2-for-2 with two runs.

Aiden Taylor batted 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run.

Prestridge batted 1-for-4 with one RBI and one run.

Moring batted 1-for-4 with one RBI.

Ceres opened the tournament with a 6-3 loss to San Francisco Youth Friday night.

Prestridge collected two RBIs.

Estermann scored twice.

Taylor and Moring chipped in with two hits apiece.

Alvarez finished 1-for-3 with one run.
Lopez had one hit.

The Blaze will compete in the 10-year-old division this fall.

Ceres will hold tryouts, Aug. 2-3, at the George Costa Ball Field Complex.

For more information, contact coach Lopez at 380-5039.