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Ceres Nunes earns all-state honors for pitching
Callie had a 20-3 record during her final season with CHS
Ceres High grad Callie Nunes was selected to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Medium Schools First Team on July 9. - photo by DALE BUTLER/Courier file photo

Already considered one of the Ceres High varsity softball program's all-time greatest pitchers, Callie Nunes added to her legacy by compiling a 20-3 record with a 0.52 earned-run average, 291 strikeouts and one no-hitter during her final season with the Bulldogs.

Nunes' dominance on the mound in 2017 earned her a major honor earlier this month.

Callie was selected to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Medium Schools First Team on July 9.

"I try not to compare myself to other pitchers," she said. "I'm so different from everyone else. My main goal was to be the best that I could be."

Nunes' transformation into an elite pitcher didn't happen overnight.

She practiced after practice.

She faced elite competition through travel ball.

Callie's hard work and dedication paid off.

"I've had a lot of different motivators, including my mom (Shawna), my dad (Bob), Danielle de la Porte, Phil de la Porte and Jimmy Dyson," she said.

Shawna Nunes, Callie's mother and Ceres High's athletic director, had a success-filled career as head coach of the Bulldogs' varsity girls basketball team. Shawna, with assistance from Phil, led Ceres High to a 365-142 record, one section championship, six league titles and 15 playoff berths in 18 years.

Phil and Jimmy are Callie's longtime pitching coaches. Nunes started working with Dyson and de la Porte at the age of eight. Dyson offers private lessons at the Rainbow Sports Academy. Phil also served as Ceres High's athletic director for 25 years, retiring in 2006.

Danielle, Phil's daughter, was the star pitcher on Ceres High's first-ever section championship team in 1995. She also played basketball for Shawna.

"It was important to me to prove to my own self I deserved what I was getting and not because of my name," Callie said. "There was added pressure. I cope with pressure pretty well. I'm a big competitor. I hate to lose."

Callie helped propel Ceres High to its second section crown in 2016, ending a 21-year drought between titles.

Nunes and the third-seeded Bulldogs went 5-1 in the Division-III playoffs, beating Benicia twice, and Oakdale, Pioneer and American Canyon once.

Ceres High outlasted No. 5 Benicia 3-2 in the finals.

Callie matched a career high for strikeouts with 17 during the Bulldogs' 5-3 win over No. 2 Oakdale in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs lost twice to the Mustangs during the regular season.

Ceres compiled a 23-5 overall record and won 11 of 12 games on its way to a first-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference standings.

Nunes was voted WAC Pitcher of the Year.

She posted an impressive 20-3 record with a 1.14 ERA, 239 strikeouts and two no-hitters.

"It's always fun beating the best," Nunes said.

Callie had a lower ERA and more strikeouts with the 2017 Bulldogs.

She ranked fourth in the state in strikeouts.

She also equaled her overall win-loss record from a season ago.

"I feel like I was better this year," said Nunes, 2017 WAC Pitcher of the Year. "I was more consistent with my spots and spins. My speed picked up. I was stricter on myself. That was my biggest focus."

With Nunes leading the way, Ceres High continued its winning tradition.

The Bulldogs (20-9, 9-1) qualified for the playoffs for the sixth straight year and claimed their fourth straight WAC title despite returning just four players from the 2016 squad.

Five key players were lost to graduation, including Nicole Bates, Mahlena O'Neal, Mackenzie Veuve, Sabrina Baisdon and Jessica Arreola.

"It's a pretty sweet feeling because a lot of people thought we were going to lose a lot this year," Nunes said. "That was huge motivation."

Callie further solidified her greatness this past spring.
Nunes had a career record of 52-13 with 698 strikeouts and four no-hitters.

Her teams claimed one section championship and three conference titles.

Dyson ranks Nunes among Ceres High's best pitchers, along with de la Porte, Sarah Norwood, Brianne Ferguson, Amy Cucinella and Omaira Estremera.

Danielle and Sarah ranked second and third, respectively, on California's all-time career wins list upon graduation. The duo combined for 180 victories, including 91 by de la Porte.
Norwood pitched for the Bulldogs' section runner-up teams in 1993 and 1991.

Danielle, Sarah, Brianne, Amy and Omaira also took lessons from Dyson.

"I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish," said Callie, who earned a scholarship to Concordia University in Irvine. "I worked hard. I practiced so much. I put very little thought into individual success. One person can't win a softball game. My biggest goal was to not let my team down."