Ceres High freshman Cesar Alvarez flew and competed out of state for the first time while representing Northern California at the 13-and-under National Team Identification Series, Aug. 8-14, in North Carolina.
NorCal compiled a 3-2 record on its way to a second-place finish at the NTIS.
"I'm really happy we made it that far," said Cesar, who logged playing time at pitcher during the course of the tournament. "It's something not a lot of people get to do. It was pretty fun."
Southeast edged NorCal 7-4 in the finals on Aug. 14.
"I don't think we could have done anything different," Alvarez said. "The pitcher on the opposing team was dominant. He was throwing 85 miles per hour."
Alvarez and his NorCal teammates took a great deal of pride in beating Southern California 16-2 in the semifinals on Aug. 13.
"We proved NorCal is the better side of California," he said.
NorCal won two of three games in pool play.
NorCal opened the tournament with a 17-2 win over Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) of the Urban Youth Academy on Aug. 10.
NorCal routed Capital of the Washington D.C. area 17-2 on Aug. 11.
Alvarez had two strikeouts while tossing one inning of relief.
NorCal lost 7-2 to North Texas on Aug. 12.
Cesar started the game.
He gave up two earned runs with seven strikeouts over four innings.
"I'm pretty satisfied," Alvarez said while talking about his individual performance. "I was effective because my curveball and changeup were on-point. My fastball, I was hitting my spots."
Cesar enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"The most enjoyable part was hanging out with my teammates at the hotel," he said. "Beating Southern California felt pretty good, too. It (the weather) was different. It's 10 times hotter. It's super humid."
Alvarez has played baseball for Modesto-based NorCal Valley for the past three years.
Cesar and the NorCal Valley 13-and-under team wrapped up the 2016 season with a first-place finish at the July 23-24 NCTB Bownet Challenge in Manteca.
Alvarez was a member of the Ceres Youth Baseball Organization from ages 5-10.
He'll play for Ceres High this spring.