The Ceres Blaze had two teams advance to the championship game of the 14-and-under bracket of the 48th Annual George Costa Tournament this past week in Ceres.
“It was a big family atmosphere,” Blaze 14s head coach Miguel Espinoza said. “Fans were cheering for both sides. That was the expectation—to have two Ceres teams face off (in the finals). It was fun to watch.”
“The kids are friends,” Blaze 13s leader Jorge Guerrero said. “A lot of times, we practice together. They’ve made us better.”
The Blaze 14s bested the Blaze 13s 6-2 for the title on July 3.
“That was the ideal championship (matchup),” Espinoza said. “Unfortunately, one team has to take second. We put hits together when it mattered. We executed pretty well.”
“We competed,” Guerrero said. “We didn’t get blown away. We had our chances. We didn’t get clutch hits to put more runs on the board. A couple times, we had the bases loaded.”
The Blaze 14s also best the Blaze 13s in finals at the First Pitch Classic earlier this season.
“The difference between the two teams is maturity,” Espinoza stated. “We have older kids.”
The Blaze 14s and Blaze 13s compiled records of 4-0 and 3-1, respectively, at their home tournament. “I don’t think we felt the pressure until the game against the other Blaze team,” Espinoza said.
“I’m happy with what we did,” Guerrero said. “Our pitchers had some good outings. Our offense was able to score some runs. We didn’t make lots of errors on defense.”