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Dawgs earn playoff berth in two-game sweep
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After a two-year absence, Ceres High School's varsity softball program returns to the playoffs.

The Bulldogs assured themselves one of the Western Athletic Conference's three postseason berths following their sweep of Livingston and Patterson last week.

Failure wasn't an option.

"It's exciting to get back to the playoffs," Ceres High head coach Donnie Donaldson said. "That was one of the goals we had. The girls are really happy."

Ceres High, Central Catholic and Los Banos sit atop the WAC standings with identical 9-2 records. The Bulldogs will win the league title outright if they beat Central Catholic and Los Banos loses to Livingston this week.

"We're right where we want to be," Donaldson said. "We can still win the WAC championship. We're in first place with one game to go. We control our own destiny."

Ceres High took control early and held on for a 4-2 win over host Livingston on Thursday.

"We did everything well," Donaldson said.

The Bulldogs scored three times in the top of the first.

Kassandra Carrillo's two-out single scored Kaycee Creek and courtesy runner Jayme Langon.

Cierra Hammons knocked in Jessica Ellsworth, who led off the inning with a hit. Kaycee allowed two runs and scattered seven hits with six strikeouts.

The Wolves stranded a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the seventh inning. Creek struck out Livingston's final batter.

"Kaycee's pitched lights out this year," Donaldson said.

Ceres High defeated host Patterson 10-1 in extra innings on Tuesday, May 1.

The Bulldogs stunned the Tigers with a nine-run outburst in the top of the eighth inning. Ceres High strung together five straight hits.

Bulldog Laura Story tallied the tying run on a fielder's choice in the sixth inning.

Ceres High loaded the bases twice and failed to score.

"It was one of those odd games," Donaldson said.

Dia Borden had a career day at the plate for the Bulldogs. She batted 3-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs.

Ellsworth batted 2-for-6 with four RBIs and one run.

Carrillo and Camrynn Broumas both collected two hits, one RBI and one run.

Story drove in one run and scored twice.

Alexis Cummings doubled and singled.

Creek gave up five hits, fanned seven and walked one. She held Patterson scoreless during the final seven innings.

The Bulldogs had their string of consecutive CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances snapped at 24 in 2010.

Creek, Hammons, Cummings and Ellsworth, Ceres High's senior leaders, have been counted upon heavily this year.

"Those four girls have really stepped it up," Donaldson said.