By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ceres softball takes over sole possession of second place
Ceres High, Sierra and Manteca entered last week tied for second place in the Valley Oak League varsity softball standings.

The Bulldogs took over sole possession after posting victories over the Timberwolves and Buffaloes.

"This puts us in the driver's seat for a playoff spot," head coach Donnie Donaldson said.

Ceres High improved to 8-2 in the VOL and 15-8 overall.

The Bulldogs are closing in on their 22nd straight postseason berth. Their final four opponents are East Union, Sonora, Oakdale and Central Valley.

"Unless we self implode, we should have no problem making it to the playoffs," Donaldson said. "The girls are really excited."

The Bulldogs beat the Timberwolves 5-2 on Thursday in Manteca.

Ceres High pitcher Vaneza Hoover carried a perfect game into the fifth inning. The junior right-hander retired six of the first 12 batters she faced via strikeout. She scattered six hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks over seven innings.

"That's the hardest I've seen her throw the entire year," Donaldson said. "They couldn't get around on her until the fifth inning."

The Bulldogs tallied all five of their runs in the top of the second. Tiffany Ornells' base-loaded walk scored Cassie Rayford. Freshman Ryan Norton knocked in Jode Johnson and Hillary Haley with a single. Ornells and Norton came home on Chelsea Lomeli's hit.

"We're hitting the ball really well right now as a team," Donaldson said. "Our speed makes us even stronger."

Hoover leaves the yard

Vaneza Hoover collected her fourth homer of the season during the Bulldogs' 6-5 win over visiting Manteca on Tuesday, April 22.

"It cleared the fence by 10 feet," Donaldson said. "It would have went over the (football stadium's ticket booth) if it wasn't windy."

Hoover's towering two-run homer over the left-field wall highlighted a three-run fourth inning. She jumped into Manteca third baseman Trina Solorio's arms before heading home.

"I've never seen anything like that before," Donaldson said. "But they're really good friends. They've played travel ball together."

Hoover became the first Bulldog to hit a homer over the fence at Ceres High's second-year ballpark when she went deep an 11-7 win against Weston Ranch on March 18.

Hoover also drove in what proved to be the winning run against Manteca with a sixth-inning single.

Teammates Mika Johnson, Ryan Norton, Hillary Haley and Cassie Rayford chipped in as well.

Johnson contributed four hits and scored three runs.

Lomeli batted 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Norton doubled, scored once and drove in a run.

Haley singled and scored a run.

Rayford added a run.