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Estremeras succeed at collegiate level
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Ozzie Estremera beams with pride when he speaks about his two youngest children.

Arce and Omaira both experienced a lot of success at the collegiate level this past season.

"I get nothing but compliments (from people)," Ozzie said.

Arce and the Cal State Hayward baseball team finished the 2004 campaign with a 29-11 record, their best showing since 1997, and advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs for the second time in four years.

Omaira and the Modesto Junior College softball team also made history as they finished second in the Central Valley Conference at 16-5 and made the playoffs for the first time in seven years. The Pirates went 22-11 overall.

"They keep me busy," Ozzie said.

Ozzie and his wife, Judith, attended the majority of their daughter's games and more than 20 of their son's games.

"I enjoy being able to watch them play and see the smiles on their faces and even their frowns when they come off," Ozzie said. "It's important to them."

Arce didn't have the highest batting average but delivered regularly for Hayward.

On May 4, he belted a game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning against George Fox University. The Pioneers went on to win the game by one run, 6-5.

On April 17, he crushed a two-run homer in the top of the fourth for a 3-2 lead against Lewis & Clark. Hayward held on for a 5-3 victory.

On April 2, he had a game-tying RBI triple against Menlo College. The Pioneers edged the Oaks by a run, 5-4.

On February 29, he hit two homers, scored three runs and had two RBIs in a 9-4 win over the University of Puget Sound.

On February 21, he went 3-for-4 from the plate with a homer, two runs and two RBIs in a 6-5 win over Oregon Tech.

"I was happy with what I did," Arce said. "I had a couple of clutch hits. Defensively, I had a pretty good season."

Arce started 39 of 40 games during the regular season. The senior first baseman hit .253 with eight homers, one triple, seven doubles and 31 RBIs. He also scored 34 runs and had a .457 slugging percentage and .988 fielding percentage.

Arce wants to continue to play baseball after college. The business administration major graduates next year.

"Baseball has always been my first love," Arce said. "I can't get enough of it."

Arce has been playing baseball since the age of five. He played varsity four years at Ceres High and two years at Modesto JC and Hayward.

His father coached him for three years.

"My dad's my idol," said Arce, who graduated from Ceres High in 1999. "He's taught me everything I know."

Omaira excelled

Omaira earned first-team, all-Central Valley Conference honors as a freshman pitcher.

"She was only one vote from making MVP of the conference," Ozzie said.

Omaira struggled at the beginning of the year.

"The distance between the mound and home plate was further so I had to get used to that," she said.

Omaira improved in a hurry in compiling a 12-2 record with a 1.90 earned run average and 83 strikeouts.

"She did outstanding," said Modesto coach Jessi Leveroos. "She had a two-hitter, one-hitter and no-hitter in the last week of the season."

Omaira was also a threat on offense. She had the third-highest batting average on the team.

She hit .373 with two doubles, seven runs and 10 RBIs.

"If she continues to work hard and improve, I think she'll have an even better year next year," Leveroos said.

Omaira has been playing softball since the age of nine. She played varsity four years at Ceres High.

"My dad has always been there for me," Omaira said. "He taught me a lot of stuff. I also have to give credit to my pitching coach Jimmy Dyson."

Ozzie coached his daughter for six years. Omaira played in the outfield prior to becoming a pitcher.

"I was very much involved," Ozzie said.

Ozzie has always put his children first.

"My goal as a parent was to make sure they would have the financial ability and the strength to go to college," he said. - By DALE BUTLER/ Sports Editor