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Ghimenti drives in winning run
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Ceres High varsity softball coach Mike Corsaut never lost faith in sophomore right fielder Kristen Ghimenti.

"I knew she would produce," Corsaut said. "That's why I moved her up from JV."

Ghimenti broke out of a five-game hitting slump with a pair of bloop singles and two RBI in the Bulldogs' 3-2 win over Grace Davis on Friday in Ceres.

"This was my best game so far," said Ghimenti, who had only two hits in 12 at-bats prior to playing against the Spartans.

Ceres (17-4-1) won its sixth straight game and took over sole possession of first place in the Modesto Metro Conference at 9-2. The Spartans (8-3) dropped to second in the MMC standings.

"It gives us a little breathing room," Corsaut said. "But we're not finished. We want to be the inaugural MMC champions. We don't want to finish second."

Said Davis coach Tami Wilkinson: "We have to rely on other teams to beat Ceres. And we have to win out."

Added Ghimenti: "Now we're in control."

Ceres pitcher Jennifer Arnold scattered five hits, struck out five and walked none over seven innings. She retired the final seven batters she faced.

"She didn't allow a runner past second base after the third inning," Corsaut said.

Ghimenti drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning. She knocked in Heather Russell from third base with a single to right field. Russell evened the score at 2-all several minutes earlier. Arnold scored from first when Russell mashed a double to the left-field fence.

In the fourth inning, Ghimenti and Russell helped the Bulldogs cut the Spartans lead to 2-1. Russell singled, went to second when the ball rolled under the glove of Davis' left fielder and scored on Ghimenti's two-out single.

"They didn't give up," Corsaut said. "They persevered."

Davis took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

"We started stronger than they did. And they ended stronger than we did," Wilkinson said.

JV Bulldogs fall

Ceres played shorthanded against Davis. Starting pitcher Jessica Augsbury was scratched from the lineup with a sore back. Kristen McClure and Marinna Aguilar were also out of commission. McClure suffered an injury on the basketball court. Aguilar was sick.

"That hurt us," said Ceres coach Steve Pierce, whose team dropped a 13-1 decision to the Spartans and fell to 6-5 in the MMC.

Kayla Breckenridge filled in for Augsbury. She struggled in her debut as Davis benefitted from seven hits, six walks and four hit batsmen.

"She was very nervous," Pierce said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier