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Ceres Youth Baseball hosting tournament
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Approximately 50 teams, including nine from Ceres, will contend for championships at the 34th Annual George Costa Youth Baseball Tournament, to be held at Smyrna Park in Ceres, July 23-August 2.

"There's a lot of teams out there that want to play in this tournament," said Jeff Borden, first-year tournament director.

Borden, who is also a CYB board member and head coach of the Ceres 10-and-under National All-Stars, started preparing for the 10-day, double-elimination tournament in May. He sent out more than 50 invitations and organized the brackets.

CYB officials collected more than $13,000 in entry fees. Each team had to pay $275 to play. A portion of the money helps pay for trophies and umpiring.

"It all goes to the CYB treasury," Borden said.

The top four teams in each age bracket receive trophies.

First-and-second-place finishers garner team and individual trophies.

Third-and-fourth-place finishers take home team trophies.

"The kids are looking forward to it," said Jim Pernetti, head coach of the Ceres American 10-and-under All-Stars.

Pernetti's team, which features seven nine-year-old players, could face Borden's All-Stars in the finals.

"That would be great for the whole program," Pernetti said. "But I don't want to make any guarantees or predictions. There are a lot of teams you have to get through to get to the championship game."

Added Borden: "It would be great if we both ended up in the championship game."

Both teams are having outstanding seasons.

The National All-Stars placed first at the Newman and the Rainbow Fields' Baseball Players Association Fourth of July tournaments, second in Empire and third at the Costa Tune-up event.

The American All-Stars placed second at the Costa Tune-up and third at both the Waterford and Empire tournaments.

The Ceres 14-and-under Grey All-Stars are seeking redemption.

They had to settle for second place after losing twice to the Red All-Stars at the Waterford tournament this past weekend.

"We're both very talented and hungry teams," said Rick Robles, coach of the Ceres Red 14-and-under All-Stars.

Approximately 63 teams participated in the Costa Tournament last summer.

This year's event features 11, 8-and-under, 10, 10-and-under, 17, 12-and-under and 12, 14-and-under teams.

"There are teams from all over," Borden said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier