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CHS strives for first playoff appearance since 2002
Ceres High School's varsity baseball program struggled in all facets during the 2009 season.

The Bulldogs committed 100 errors on defense, including 43 in 14 league contests.

On offense, Ceres High batted just .295 as a team, accumulated 179 strikeouts and stranded 164 runners on base.

Ceres' pitching staff posted a 4.51 ERA, surrendered 174 runs and registered a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.4.

"We were very young," head coach Bret Durossette said. "We had five sophomores and one freshman starting at one point. It (improvement) comes with experience and confidence."

The Bulldogs must get getter across the board in 2010 to realize their targeted goal.

Ceres High hasn't participated in the playoffs since 2002.

"I think we can get there," Durossette said. "We have the talent to be able to finish in the top three (in the Valley Oak League). "If we're not one of those teams, we should be disappointed."

The Bulldogs posted a 13-12 overall record and finished in fifth place in the VOL standings (6-8) in 2009.

Robert Cope, the VOL's offensive player of the year, and Martino Bertolotti, a first-team, all-conference selection, led the way. The three-year varsity standouts graduated last June.

"We need to become a team," Durossette said. "Not one individual is going to make or break us. Everyone needs to step up."

Ceres' top returners are Tyler Cummings (P/3B, Jr.), Dustin Baisdon (OF/P, Jr), Josh Edwards (IF, Sr.), Tyler Brenning (1B/P, Jr.), Brent Ward (OF/P, Jr.) and Nick Welsh (OF/IF, So.).

Cummings and Baisdon both made the VOL second team as sophomores.

Cummings led the VOL in RBIs (23) and ranked third in batting average (.458). He collected 22 hits, two homers, two triples and 13 runs in 48 at-bats. On the mound, Tyler posted a 3-3 record with a 3.56 ERA, two complete games and 47 strikeouts.

"He's one of the pieces of the puzzle that has to go out there and perform on Tuesdays and Thursdays," Durossette said. "He's a special player."

Baisdon, who is also a third-year varsity player, batted .341 (15-for-44) with seven stolen bases, seven runs and eight RBIs.

Edwards (.353, 12 hits, seven runs and seven RBIs), Brenning (.273, eight singles, four doubles, five runs and nine RBIs), Ward (.278, four singles, one double, five runs and three RBIs in five games) and Welsh (.261, six hits, two runs and one RBI) chipped in as well last year.

Other varsity returners include Matt Cardelli (2B, Jr.), Mark Schwark (OF, Sr.), Chad Atchison (3B/P, Sr.) and Josh Jones (OF, Sr.).

The Bulldogs welcome a handful of newcomers, including Wes Ward (C, Jr.) and Jimbo Pernetti (IF, Fr.).

"If you're better than the next person, you'll have a chance to play," Durossette said. "That's my philosophy."

Ceres High wants to make its final season in the VOL a memorable one.

The Bulldogs are moving to the Western Athletic Conference in 2011.

"A lot of people are saying next year is our year," Durossette said. "I think this year is. We just need to execute."