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Bulldogs, Hawks to co-host McRae tournament
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Haaydn Martinez (pictured right) and Ceres High, and Jorge Alvarez and Central Valley will be co-hosting the Art McRae Easter Baseball Tournament next week. The Bulldogs and Hawks took first and third, respectively, last year with identical 4-0 records. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High’s and Central Valley’s varsity baseball programs will co-host the Art McRae Easter Tournament next week.

The Bulldogs and Hawks posted a combined record of 8-0 while placing first and third, respectively, last season.

Ceres High and Central Valley both won all four of their games.

“We got a two-week period where the pressure is off,” said Bulldogs head coach John Bussard, whose team had a 12-4 overall mark as of today and finished in first place (5-1) during the first half of the Western Athletic Conference season.  “We want to re-evaluate some players and work on different things. We haven’t executed bunt situations well. We haven’t had much success stealing bases. We just want to go out there, compete and have fun.”

Ceres High will host Orestimba on Monday, Yerington of Reno on Tuesday and Central Catholic on Wednesday.

Ismael Ontiveros, Haaydn Martinez and Drew Stahl are slated to start at pitcher against Orestimba, Yerington and Central Catholic, respectively.

Ricky Lopez and Izaiah Hernandez will also log playing time on the mound.

Central Valley (5-10, 0-4) will host Central Catholic on Monday, Kimball on Tuesday and Yerington on Wednesday.

All games will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Riverbank, Waterford, Brookside Christian and Rio Vista round out the tournament field.

The championship game will be staged on Thursday at 3:30 p.m., site to be determined.

 “We won it last year,” Bussard said. “If it happens again, that would be great. Our No. 1 goal is to win league.”

The McRae tournament is named after Ceres High’s all-time winningest coach.

Art’s coaching career with the Bulldogs spanned 37 years (1960-1996). Ceres High amassed a 550-427 record, claimed one section championship and won nine conference titles under his guidance.