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CHS seeks turnaround
Ceres High School's varsity softball team failed to make playoffs for the second year in a row in 2011.

The Bulldogs are determined to start a positive steak, beginning this season.

"It would definitely be nice to get back," head coach Donnie Donaldson said. "The seniors are hungry for it."

Ceres High welcomes back seven players from last year's 12-12-1 team, including Kaycee Creek (Sr., P), Jessica Ellsworth (Sr., 3B), Cierra Hammons (Sr. C), Alexis Cummings (Sr., SS), Kassandra Carrillo (Sr., LF), Christin Ornells (Sr., RF) and Camrynn Broumas (So., 2B).

Bulldog teammates Dia Borden (Jr., CF), Laura Story (Jr., 1B), Jayme Langan (Jr., OF) and Darian Sawyer (Jr. OF) contributed at the JV level a season ago. Story and Borden both saw playing time at varsity as well.

Angelic Knights (Jr., RF) and Alexandria Lowman (Fr., UTL) are newcomers.

Knights transferred from crosstown-rival Central Valley.

Creek, Hammons, Broumas, Borden, Story, Knights, Langan and Sawyer also play softball year-round.

"We should have a good season," Donaldson said. "We have the talent and experience."

Creek, a four-year varsity player who earned a partial scholarship to Division-III Newbury College in Massachusetts, was named to the WAC First Team as a junior.

Kaycee batted .385 with four homers, four triples, three doubles, 13 RBIs and 18 runs.

She compiled an 8-6 record with a 1.85 ERA, four shutouts, 72 strikeouts and 32 walks at pitcher.

Creek missed three games with back spasms last season.

"She seems to be okay," Donaldson said. "She played travel ball all summer."

Ellsworth hit .333 with five doubles, 10 RBIs and 13 runs as a junior. She was promoted to varsity her freshman year.

Hammons, a third-year player set to reunite with former Bulldog teammate Ryan Norton at Simpson University in 2013, batted .254 with one triple, three doubles, four RBIs and seven runs a season ago.

Ceres High had its string of consecutive playoff appearances snapped at 24 seasons in 2010.

The Bulldogs won their last league title while competing in the Modesto Metro Conference during the 2004-05 school year.

Ceres High finished third in the WAC standings (4-6) behind Patterson (9-1), Los Banos (9-1) and Central Catholic (6-4) last season.

Livingston (2-8) and Central Valley (0-10) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

The conference's newest member, Pacheco, fielded a JV team in 2011.

The WAC will send three teams to the playoffs.

"We'd like to win a league championship," Donaldson said. "That's our goal. The road to sections is through (Sierra High School pitcher) Ally Walljasper. She recently verbally committed to LSU.

Ceres High will also look to continue its dominance of crosstown-rival Central Valley, which has a new head coach in former Bulldog standout Kristen Ghimenti. Ghimenti was an assistant for Ceres High in 2011. The Bulldogs have never lost to the Hawks in 10 meetings.

"Kristen was my first pitcher when I started coaching," Donaldson said. "She's a good kid. I love her to death."