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Dawgs knock off Timberwolves
Ceres High dropped four of its first six games to start the Valley Oak League season. Sierra compiled a 5-1 record.

The two varsity baseball clubs squared off last week.

The undaunted Bulldogs completed a two-game sweep of the Timberwolves.

"It surprised some of us," Ceres High junior catcher/first baseman Robert Cope said. "We didn't know we'd play that good. But we capitalized on the errors that they made and we were patient at the plate."

Sierra dropped into a three-way tie for second place in the league standings (5-3) with Manteca and East Union.

The Bulldogs kept their playoff hopes alive as they moved to 4-4 in conference play, one game behind the Timberwolves, Buffaloes and Lancers.

"Everybody wanted to win real bad so we can stay in the hunt," Cope said. "We had everything working for us. We had two great practices. We were ready for the games. We were all psyched up."

Ceres High edged Sierra 10-8 in a see-saw battle on Friday in Manteca.

The Bulldogs totaled 14 hits, six more than the Timberwolves.

Tommy Cleveland batted 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Martino Bertolotti went 2-for-4 with a triple.

Cope, Jonathon Alonzo and Matt Smith added two hits each.

Alonzo, the Bulldogs' star pitcher, also turned in a solid start.

"He threw a real good game," Cope said. "One of the best he's thrown all year."

The contest was stopped for several minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning after Ceres High reserve player Rudy Martinez got struck in the face by a foul ball while watching from the Bulldogs' dugout. The junior was taken to nearby Kaiser Foundation Hospital for evaluation. He suffered a fractured cheekbone.

Tied at 6-all, Ceres High outscored Sierra 4-2 the rest of the way.

"We pretty much dedicated the win to him (Rudy)," Cope said.

The Bulldogs topped the Timberwolves 14-8 in Game 1 on Wednesday at Art McRae Field.

The two teams combined for 27 hits, including a season-high 17 by Ceres High. Sierra ace pitcher Andrew Gabriel lasted just three innings.

Bertolotti collected two singles, a double, a triple, four runs and three RBIs.

Freshman Dustin Baisdon batted 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.

Smith doubled twice.

Alonzo and Zack Atchison had two hits apiece.

Cope added three intentional walks and one single.

A five-run fifth inning helped the Bulldogs turn a 6-4 contest into an 11-4 rout.

Sweeping one of the hottest teams in the league could serve as a springboard for the remainder of the season.

"It boosts our confidence," Cope said. "They were picked to finish second in the VOL. We're going to take that into the coming week against Manteca."

The Buffaloes will host the Bulldogs today and play at Ceres High on Friday. Both games begin at 4 p.m.