Ceres High School's varsity baseball team made a quick exit from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoff tournament.
The second-seeded Bulldogs of the Western Athletic Conference lost 11-5 to Sierra Valley Conference champion Vista del Lago in the opening round on Thursday at Tony Zupo Field.
"I'm not happy with how we finished the season," head coach John Bussard said. "We lost a lot of confidence. Our desire took a hit. We have to sit back and evaluate how we do things."
Ceres High (20-7-1, 10-2) dropped its final four games of the season.
The Bulldogs lost 3-2 to Division-I playoff participant Enochs in non-league play on May 1.
Ceres High finished two games behind seven-time WAC champion and 2013 Division-IV postseason qualifier Central Catholic in the conference standings.
The Bulldogs, winners of their first 10 league games, had their league title hopes dashed by the Raiders (23-5, 11-1).
Vista del Lago improved to 24-5.
"Despite the success we had, we have to learn how to win the big game," said Bussard, whose team lost 4-1 and 11-5 to Central Catholic during the final week of the WAC season. "We talked about that 100 times."
Ceres High had a team batting average of .296 with eight strikeouts against Vista del Lago.
Devon Ruger finished 2-for-3 with one double and two runs.
Brent Bussard collected one double and two RBIs.
Ceres High built a 4-0 lead in the first inning.
"That's how we wanted to start," Bussard said. "We didn't build momentum off of that."
Vista del Lago totaled 11 hits with four strikeouts and four walks.
The Bulldogs yielded three runs in the bottom of the second inning, six in the fourth, and one in both the fifth and sixth.
Ceres High committed four errors.
"We made too many physical and mental mistakes," coach Bussard said. "We didn't come up with too many clutch hits."
Ceres High hoped to make a deep run in the playoffs this year.
The Bulldogs never recovered after falling one win shy of ending Central Catholic's reign in the WAC.
"We got to find a way to get over the hump," John Bussard said. "We return the majority of our starters."
Jimbo Pernetti, Haydon Turpin and Brandon Arevalos, Ceres High's top three players, will be lost to graduation.