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Ceres softball secures berth in playoffs
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The Ceres High varsity softball team scored eight times in the fourth inning and routed Johansen 12-3 on Friday in Ceres.

"It was an amazing inning," said Ceres coach Mike Corsaut.

"Our girls were dialed in."

Added Ceres outfielder Heidi Eisenbeis: "This was a very important game for us. This guarantees us first in league and a spot in the playoffs."

Ceres improved to 19-4-1 overall, 11-2 in the Modesto Metro Conference. Johansen fell to 13-10 overall, 7-6 in the MMC standings.

The Bulldogs have won eight straight. They're undefeated at Ceres High School (6-0).

"It's a big advantage for us to play at home," Eisenbeis said "We practice here everyday."

Bulldogs pitcher Jennifer Arnold settled down after surrendering three runs in the top of the first inning. She allowed no runs in the final six innings.

Arnold has had an impressive year. She's compiled a 14-2 record with a 0.64 ERA, 113 strikeouts and just 13 walks.

"She's done a great job," Corsaut said.

Ceres collected a season-high 14 hits off Johansen starter Christi Martin.

"She's pretty much owned us the last few years," Corsaut said.

Ceres sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Bulldogs had eight hits, including one double and seven singles.

Arnold singled twice, scored once and drove in two runs.

Eisenbeis went 2-for-2 with a double, single and RBI. She also scored a run.

Meghan Franksen had a two-run single.

Jordan Nash, Kristen Ghimenti and Jessica Hunter added RBI singles.

"There's no weak spot in the lineup," Eisenbeis said.

The Bulldogs scored three times in the sixth inning.

Jenna Staggs singled to center, advanced to second on Franksen's single to center and scored on Monica Hall's bloop single to center. Arnold's two-out, two-run double to left scored Franksen and Hall.

Ceres trimmed Johansen's lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the second inning. Arnold doubled, moved to third when Nash reached first on an error and scored on Ghimenti's groundout to second.

"After we scored the first run, I was confident we'd score more," Corsaut said.

Weather permitting, Ceres will play at Beyer today and host to Downey on Friday. Both games start at 3:30 p.m.

"We don't want to back into the playoffs," Corsaut said. "We want to finish well." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier