Ceres High’s varsity softball program had two streaks end in 2018.
The Bulldogs failed to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time in six years.
Ceres High also failed to win its fifth consecutive conference title.
A familiar face will be back in the Bulldogs’ dugout this year in former head coach Mike Corsaut.
Corsaut believes Ceres High will bounce back in a big way this spring.
“We have the talent to bring CHS softball back to what it used to be,” Corsaut said. “Ceres has always been one of the premier programs around.”
The Bulldogs’ top returning players are Vianney Perez (Jr.), Rebecca DeLeon (Sr.), Shania Evans (Sr.) and Priscilla Chavez (Sr.).
Ceres High’s top newcomers are Brooklyn Heffernan (Fr.), Megan Yorba (Fr.) and Gabrielle Ramirez (Fr.).
Joslin Knight (Jr.), Peyton Phillips (Jr.), Isabel Vizcaino (Jr.), Angelique Cochran (So.), Cheralyn Durossette (So.) and Lysaida Munoz (So.) are also on the team.
“The girls are competing for positions,” Corsaut said. “There are no set spots on this team.”
Perez earned first-team all-league honors for the second year in a row last spring.
She batted .512 from the plate with two homers, one triple, seven doubles, eight RBIs and 11 runs.
She posted slugging and on-base percentages of .860 and .571, respectively.
DeLeon was selected to the WAC Second Team.
She compiled a 4-7 record at pitcher with 37 strikeouts and one save.
DeLeon also contributed on offense.
She batted .354 with six doubles, five RBIs and seven runs.
Evans batted .353 with one homer, three doubles, five RBIs and five runs.
Chavez batted .294 with two triples, two doubles, seven RBIs and nine runs.
Heffernan and Yorba will split playing time at pitcher this year.
“I love the mix of players we have,” Corsaut said. “They’re all softball players. They’ve played the game for years. They’re coachable, and want to learn and get better. They all support each other.”
Ceres High’s conference schedule includes games against Los Banos, Pacheco, Lathrop, Mountain House, Beyer, Grace Davis and Johansen.
Beyer, Grace Davis, Johansen, Lathrop and Mountain House moved to the WAC as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s league realignment plan.
The top three teams advance to the postseason.
Ceres High amassed a 6-10 overall record and finished in fourth place (5-5) in the 2018 WAC standings.
“If the girls play to their potential, we’ll be successful,” Corsaut said.
The Bulldogs advanced to the playoffs, compiled a 17-8 overall record and finished first in the Modesto Metro Conference (12-3) during Corsaut’s guidance in 2006.
“I never thought I’d coach high school softball again,” he said. “I thought I was done. I love being back out there. It’s fun. I like the challenge. It’s an honor to coach here. I still have a lot to give.”