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Blaze 8s win baseball title in Irvine
Ceres Blaze eight-and-under July 2024
The Ceres Blaze eight-and-under travel baseball team capped off its spring season with a first-place finish at the Irvine Pony Baseball Memorial Day Tournament. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

A year removed from losing in the semifinals at the Irvine Pony Baseball Memorial Day Tournament, the Ceres Blaze eight-and-under baseball team gained a measure of redemption this season by winning the title at the May 23-27 event.

“It’s one of the largest Pony tournaments in the nation,” head coach Ralph Valencia said. “There were 30 teams in our division. I had high expectations going into it based on how we’ve been doing this year.”

The Blaze compiled a perfect 4-0 record en route to a first-place finish in the Gold Bracket.

“They played really good baseball,” Valencia said. “It was cool to see.”

Ceres edged Murrieta Select 16-14 in the championship game on May 27.

“It was a hitfest,” Valencia stated.

Connor Zuckerman accounted for the game-winning hit with two outs in the sixth inning.

Brady Anderson and Abel Acosta scored on Zuckererman’s walk-off single.

“It was a back-and-forth game. Luckily, we were the last team to hit.”

The Blaze totaled 17 hits in the finals.

Zuckerman batted 3-for-3 from the plate with one home run, two RBIs and three runs.

Anderson batted 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs.

Acosta batted 1-for-2 with one RBI and two runs.

Danny Jacobo batted 2-for-2 with three RBIs and two runs.

Alex Galvan batted 2-for-2 with one triple and two RBIs.

Abel Valencia batted 3-for-4 with one RBI and one run.

Elijah Sanchez batted 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run.

DJ Jones batted 1-for-1 with one RBI and one run.

Dean Escarcega batted 1-for-2 with two runs.

Tanner Bispo batted 1-for-3 with two runs.

Jacobo, Anderson and Abel Valencia all contributed at pitcher.

Anderson totaled two strikeouts in two innings.

Abel Valencia had one strikeout in two innings,

Jacobo logged 12/3 innings on the mound.

The Blaze bested the Quakes 7-4 in the semifinals on May 26.

Ceres totaled 10 hits.

Abel Valencia batted 3-for-4 with one triple, two RBIs and one run.

Bispo batted 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs.

Escarcega batted 2-for-2 with one RBI and one run.

Zuckerman batted 0-for-1 with one RBI, one run and two walks.

Sanchez batted 1-for-2 with one run.

Jax Moring batted 1-for-3 with one run.

Anderson drove in one run.

Ceres competed in five tournaments this spring.

The Blaze took first three times and second twice.

Zuckerman, Anderson, Acosta, Jacobo, Galvan, Sanchez, Jones, Escarcega, Bispo, Abel Valencia, Jax Moring, Brayden Eastham, Santiago Pena, Noah Tamarit and Nolan Stamper all contributed.

“We had a really successful season,” said Coach Valencia.