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Crosstown split
Whenever Central Valley's and Ceres High's varsity baseball teams meet, everything is magnified because of the crosstown aspect.

"This is one of the best games to play in," Hawk senior pitcher/third baseman Greg Guerra said. "No one wants to lose to the other half of Ceres."

Last week, Central Valley and Ceres High each earned a victory during their two-game, Valley Oak League series. Both teams have won four times since the rivalry was established in 2007.

"I was expecting us to sweep them but they have a pretty good team," Guerra said.

The Hawks squandered a four-run lead before securing a 9-5 win against the Bulldogs on Thursday at Art McRae Field.

Guerra had an effective outing on the mound.

He allowed five runs, scattered eight hits, struck out 11 and walked three in seven innings.

"He did what he always does," Central Valley head coach Greg Magni said. "He was phenomenal. He battled for us."

Added Guerra: "My slider and curveball were working."

The Hawks grabbed a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth inning.

Sophomore Josh Claudio drew a walk, moved to second on Frank Hernandez's ground out and scored on Michael Melton's line-drive single to center field.

Scott Myatt gave Central Valley some much-needed breathing room when he blasted a three-run homer over the left-field fence in the top of the seventh inning. Myatt struck out twice earlier in the game.

"I pinch hit for him his previous at-bat," Magni said. "I tried to light a fire under him."

Added Guerra: "That was a huge relief."

Ceres High threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Sophomore Nick Welsh doubled to right field and scored on Brent Ward's high-chopping single up the middle.

After retiring Matt Cardelli by strikeout, Guerra yielded a single to Tyler Cummings. Johnny Medeiros followed with a walk to load the bases.

Using just four pitches, Guerra struck out Wes Ward for the third out.

"The whole game was intense," Guerra said.

"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," Magni said. "We've had so many tight games in league that haven't gone our way. We couldn't get the monkey off our backs for weeks."

Guerra and his Hawk teammates had big smiles on their faces while posing for a group picture after the crosstown victory.

The Bulldogs overcame an early two-run deficit and edged the Hawks 4-3 in Game 1 on Tuesday, May 11 at Central Valley.

"I was pretty confident we'd pull it together," Ceres High junior pitcher Dustin Baisdon said. "We play well in late innings. We've done it all year."

Baisdon allowed four hits and struck out seven. He pitched six scoreless innings after a rocky start.

"Once he got the kinks out, he shut us down," Magni said. "He had really good stuff."

Added Ceres High head coach Bret Durossette: "Dustin's turned into a complete player. He's shown he's a competitor. He wants the ball."

Said Baisdon: "It's definitely a new role for me. I like it."

The Bulldogs scored the winning run in the top of the seventh inning.

Welsh singled and sprinted home all the way from first on Brent Ward's double into the left-center gap.

Nick also had a busy day at shortstop. He tallied eight assists, two putouts and one double play in 11 chances.

"My defense played well behind me," Baisdon said.

Central Valley built a 3-1 lead in the first inning as it scored twice on passed balls and once on a bases-loaded walk.

The Hawks left the tying runner on base in the bottom of the seventh.

"I was proud of our effort," Magni said. "We hung with them every inning."

The Bulldogs compiled a 16-10-1 overall record and finished in third place in the VOL standings (10-6) this year.

The Hawks went 13-13 and 7-9 (fifth).

Ceres High and Central Valley will battle in the Western Athletic Conference in 2010-11.

"It's definitely a different atmosphere when playing CV," Baisdon said. "The crowd gets into it. There's a lot of pressure."

"It's a great rivalry," Durossette said. "We don't have bad blood."

"We've always been very even talent-wise," Magni said. "Both coaches respect each other."