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CHS players claim top awards
Ceres High's varsity softball program was rewarded for placing second.

Seven Bulldogs earned Valley Oak League honors as voted on by the conference's head coaches last month.

"We had more all-conference players than any other team out there," head coach Donnie Donaldson said. "All but two of our starters were recognized. That doesn't happen very often."

Ceres High (11-3 VOL) had two major winners: Vaneza Hoover and Mika Johnson.

Hoover was named VOL Pitcher of the Year. The righthanded junior posted an 11-3 record with a 1.19 ERA, 115 strikeouts and 36 walks. She pitched back-to-back no-hitters against first-place East Union and third-place Sierra.

"It was a unanimous decision," Donaldson said. "Her throwing two no-hitters made her a shoe-in. She was one of the best pitchers in the Stanislaus District. She's already starting to prepare for next high school season."

Johnson was named Offensive Player of the Year. The junior centerfielder beat out Sierra's Heather Scharmann, Manteca's Trina Solorio and Oakdale's Monique Galvan. Mika collected at least one hit in 11 of 14 VOL games. She had an eight-game hitting streak.

"She had a phenomenal season," Donaldson said. "It wasn't just her hitting. It was her base running, stolen bases and runs scored. She has world-class, Division-I speed. I wouldn't want another leadoff hitter. She's one of the best in the area. She does a great job."

Mika hit .426 (20-for-47) with five walks, eight stolen bases, 13 runs and one RBI. She had on-base and slugging percentages of .491 and .426. Johnson just learned how to bat from the left side this year.

Chelsea Lomeli made the VOL first team. The senior infielder batted .410 (16-for-39) with two homers, three stolen bases, 12 runs and 13 RBIs. She had fielding, slugging and on-base percentages of .925, .641 and .531, respectively.

Lomeli committed just three errors and collected at least one hit in 12 of 14 games.

"Chelsea had a solid season," Donaldson said. "She got voted in for her all-round play. She did a little bit of everything."

Hillary Haley, Ryan Norton and Cassie Rayford earned second-team honors.

Haley, a sophomore outfielder, batted .350 (14-for-40) with one double, three runs and four RBIs.

She played half the season at catcher in place of Amanda Lampley, who suffered a hand injury in a preseason game.

"I'm really happy with what Hillary did for us this year," Donaldson said.

Norton, a freshman outfielder, batted .285 (12-for-42) with one homer, two doubles, eight runs and six RBIs.

She finished 1-for-7 in two games against Erin Arevalo, East Union's ace pitcher and the state's strikeout leader.

"There's not a lot of girls who can say they did that," Donaldson said. "That's a pretty good feat for a freshman.

"We expect Ryan to hit .400 next year. That's a realistic goal."

Rayford, a senior infielder, batted .279 (12-for-43) with one triple, one double, five runs and seven RBIs. The sure-handed first baseman posted a .991 fielding percentage.

Cassie missed last season with a knee injury.

"She did a good job this year," Donaldson said. "It was nice having another senior leader."

Jode Johnson was an all-defense selection. The sophomore starred at shortstop, committing just four errors on the year (.911 FP). She also contributed on offense. Johnson batted .279 (12-for-43) with three triples, three doubles, two stolen bases, 12 runs and seven RBIs. She had a .465 slugging percentage.

Talented trio

Three members of Central Valley High School's varsity softball team garnered all-league recognition, including Jessica Berndt, Vicki Ochoa and Melissa Gonzales.

Berndt was selected to the VOL first team. The freshman first baseman batted .359 (14-for-39) and scored three runs.

Ochoa, a second-team honoree, logged time at third base and pitcher. The freshman batted .333 (13-for-39) with one triple, one double and three runs scored.

Vicki led the Hawks to their first-ever VOL win. She allowed six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks as Central Valley posted a 7-2 victory over Sonora.

Ochoa tallied 43 strikeouts on the year.

Gonzales made the All-Defense team. The senior utility player totaled six hits and four runs.