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Dawgs remain in the thick of playoff race
Ceres High School's varsity softball team remained in the hunt for its 24th straight Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth with a 3-1 home victory over Sierra on Wednesday.

"That was a huge win for us," head coach Donnie Donaldson said. "If we lose, we'd be tied for third. Then we still have to face East Union and Oakdale. We're in a position where we control our own destiny."

The Bulldogs improved to 16-6 on the year and 7-2 in the Valley Oak League standings.

Second-place Ceres High had a half-game lead over Oakdale and Sierra as of Monday. The top two teams qualify for the playoffs following the conclusion of the 14-game VOL season.

Bulldog freshman Kaycee Creek pitched six shutout innings before allowing a run in the seventh. She gave up four hits with five strikeouts and one walk during the key VOL clash. Creek induced 12 popouts.

"Her riseball was really effective," Donaldson said. "They were swinging underneath it."

Ceres High collected nine hits off Timberwolf pitcher Gabby Hawkins. She fanned four and walked three.

Ceres High shortstop Jode Johnson batted 2-for-3 from the plate with one run scored and two RBIs.

Mika Johnson singled, drove in a run and scored once in four at-bats.

Creek contributed a single and an RBI.

Ryan Norton went 2-for-4 with a run and three stolen bases.

Amanda Lampley had two singles.

Shaye Farriester added a single.

The Bulldogs tallied all three of their runs with two out in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Jode Johnson drove in Mika Johnson and Ryan Norton with a clutch single. She advanced all the way to third on the throw home and later scored on Creek's hit.

"We did a great job putting the bat on the ball and getting runners on base," Donaldson said.

Ceres High will play at Sonora today (3 p.m.) and host to Oakdale on Friday (4 p.m.).