The members of the Ceres Blaze 14-and-under travel baseball team enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience close to 3,000 miles away from home.
The Blaze traveled to New York to compete in the July 22-28 National Youth Baseball Championships.
“Half the team arrived early and went sightseeing,” said coach Miguel Espinoza. “We watched the Yankees play the Rockies and went to Smith Point Beach on Long Island. I had so many compliments from all the players and parents. This is something they’ll always remember.”
Ceres had a 1-5 overall record at the 12-team tournament.
The Blaze went 1-1 in the silver bracket and 0-4 in pool play.
“It was definitely a learning experience for the boys,” Espinoza said. “They got to face top-notch competition.”
Ceres lost 5-4 to Phenom Baseball in the semifinals on July 26.
The Blaze led 3-1 heading into the sixth inning.
“I can’t express how proud I am of the boys in how they played that game. They left their hearts on the field. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”Coach Miguel Espinoza
“I can’t express how proud I am of the boys in how they played that game,” Espinoza said. “They left their hearts on the field. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Blaze were awarded a 7-0 forfeit victory against Grit Black on July 25.
Ceres lost 7-1 to the overall-champion Bronx Bombers on July 23, 7-1 to Phenom Baseball and 12-5 to 3N2 Warriors on July 24, and 8-0 to the Legends Prospects on July 25 in pool play.
“The boys were nervous because the games were being televised and streamed online,” Espinoza said. “Once we got eliminated, the kids were emotional. Unfortunately, it was their final time playing together on my 14-year-old Blaze team.”
The Blaze posted a 32-13-2 record this season.
Ceres competed in 10 tournaments.
The Blaze placed first five times and second once.
“This is a special group,” Espinoza said. “This is one of the best teams I’ve coached. All the players contributed.”