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Dawgs chase playoff glory
The last time Ceres High School's varsity baseball team traveled to Lodi for a playoff game was in 2002.

On Friday, the Bulldogs will make a return trip to the postseason following an eight-year absence.

Ceres High will face perennial power Oakdale in opening round of the Division IV tournament at Tony Zupo Field. The single-elimination game will get underway at 7 p.m.

The Mustangs (19-8, 11-3) shared the Valley Oak League title with East Union during the regular season.

The Bulldogs (17-9, 9-6) placed third in the Western Athletic Conference.

"Oakdale's expected to win because they're the defending section champion," Ceres High head coach Bret Durossette said. "They have all the pressure. We have one game to prove we're better than them. We're going to be prepared."

Dustin Baisdon and his Bulldog teammates are looking forward to the challenge.

"It's definitely going to be tough playing against Oakdale," Baisdon said. "They won sections last season. They have great coaches and players every year. I think we match up pretty well. We're all fighting for the same thing. It should be an exciting game."

Ceres High has yet to select a starting pitcher for the playoff game.

Durossette could give Baisdon or Tyler Cummings the nod.

Dustin (6-5, 4.05 ERA, 80 strikeouts) and Tyler (7-1, 3.12, 45) are four-year varsity players.

"Both of us want to be on the mound," Baisdon said. "Whoever goes out there, I know our team has 100 percent confidence in."

"It's a single-game elimination game," Durossette said. "We're going to throw everything we can at Oakdale."

Senior Tyler Brenning (1-2, 4.36, 35), who's been sidelined the past few weeks with a sore back, could also log playing time at pitcher.

Oakdale, which scouted Ceres High at Central Valley last week, will be led by Brennon Williams (P, OF), Matt Butler (P, OF), Spencer Thomas (P, OF, IF), Mark Ortiz (OF) and Kody Simons (IF).

Williams, the Mustangs' ace pitcher, had a perfect record in league.

"I think they are a very good opponent and a group that has been together for quite a while," Oakdale head coach Hondo Arpoika said while assessing the Bulldogs. "They brought back almost everybody from last year and most of those kids have been together since freshmen or sophomores. They have solid pitching and very good hitting. They are a good team."

The Bulldogs made the playoffs this year despite dropping five of their final nine conference games. Ceres High won five of its first six in league play.

"We had our peaks and valleys," Baisdon said. "It would be nice to make a deep run and bring some attention to Ceres. We just have to have everyone on the same page."

"Our kids are highly motivated," Durossette added. "We're going to prove to everybody how good we are."

The Bulldogs beat River City 10-3 in the 1990 Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship game.

Ceres High won section titles in boys soccer and girls basketball in 2009 and 2005, respectively.