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Ceres softball avenges losses in playoffs
Rayohna Sagapolu, Callie Nunes, Mahlena ONeal and their Ceres High varsity softball teammates line up for the playing of the national anthem prior to Mondays Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoff clash with Pioneer. The Bulldogs defeated the Wolves 11-1 in six innings at Stocktons Arnaiz Stadium. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's varsity softball team won its first three games and advanced to the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs.

"I'm really excited for the girls," Bulldogs head coach Angela Durossette said. "If everybody does what they're supposed to do, we're tough to beat. We're a team that can score a lot of runs. We have one of the top pitchers around, especially if she's on."

University of Washington signee Nicole Bates homered twice and junior pitcher Callie Nunes matched a career high with 17 strikeouts as third-seeded Ceres High knocked off No. 2 Oakdale 5-3 Monday night at Arnaiz Stadium in Stockton.

On paper, the victory is considered an upset.

The Mustangs beat the Bulldogs 11-0 and 5-2 during the regular season.

Ceres High expected to win the third meeting.

"It was very important to beat Oakdale," Durossette said. "The girls felt like they had a lot to prove."

Nunes carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning.

Callie gave up three runs and three hits in seven innings.

Nunes improved her overall record to 18-2.

"She throws year round," Durossette said. "That's her priority and focus. She's going to continue to get better."

Bates evened the score at 3-3 when she blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Nicole hit a solo home run in the seventh inning.

"She's got the greenlight to do whatever she wants," Durossette said.

Ceres High pounded 10 hits during its comeback victory against Oakdale.

Nunes batted 2-for-3 with one double.

Senior Sabrina Baisdon batted 2-for-3 with one double and one run.

Senior Mackenzie Veuve batted 1-for-4 with one RBI.

Senior Jessica Arreola and sophomore Shelby Veuve both scored one run.

Senior Mahlena O'Neal singled twice.

Junior Rayohna Sagaplou singled once.

"They're not used to playing from behind," Durossette said. "I'm so proud of them for not giving up. Callie pitching so well helped our offense. She struck out some of the best batters around. She threw lights out."

Ceres High collected 14 hits on its way to beating No. 6 Pioneer 11-1 in six innings on Monday.

Baisdon starred on offense and defense.

Sabrina batted 4-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and three runs.

Baisdon, Ceres High's centerfielder, turned a double play after making a running over-the-shoulder catch in the middle innings. She threw to second base for the force out.

"She had a great game," Durossette said. "She's been hitting the ball very well for us the last three weeks."

Bates batted 2-for-4 with one double, one RBI and two runs.

O'Neal batted 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Mackenzie Veuve batted 2-for-4 with one double and two RBIs.

Sagapolu batted 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Arreola batted 1-for-3 with one run.

Junior Natalia Cortez scored three runs.

Sophomore Andrea Duran plated one run.

Nunes and freshman Hanna Brown both tallied one run.

Callie had 12 strikeouts and one walk while starring at pitcher.

She yielded one run and one hit.

Ceres High lost 2-1 in eight innings to Pioneer in the Division-III postseason tournament last year.

Competing in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, Bates, Baisdon, Arreola, O'Neal and Mackenzie Veuve all contributed during Ceres High's 10-0 mercy-rule win over No. 14 American Canyon in a single-elimination playoff game on May 17 at the Sacramento Softball Complex.

Nicole, Sabrina, Jessica, Mahlena and Mackenzie posted a combined batting average of .500 with one homer, two doubles, seven RBIs, five runs and one stolen base as the Bulldogs topped the Wolves in five innings.

"They knew it could have been their last game," Durossette said. "They're not ready for it to be over."

Ceres High had seven different players collect at least one hit.

Bates finished 2-for-4 with one homer, two RBIs, two runs and one stolen base.

Baisdon finished 1-for-3 with one double, two RBIs and two runs.

Arreola finished 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run.

O'Neal finished 2-for-2 with one double and one RBI.

Mackenzie Veuve finished 0-for-2 with one RBI.

The Bulldogs totaled 13 hits.

Sagapolu batted 3-for-3 with one RBI, two runs and one stolen base.

Nunes batted 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Shelby Veuve batted 1-for-3 with one run and one stolen base.

Cortez and Duran each scored once.

Callie turned in a dominant performance on the mound.

She allowed one hit with 10 strikeouts and just one walk.

Nunes posted an 11-7 record while split playing time at pitcher with Sagapolu in 2015.

"Callie had a good season for us last year, too," Durossette said. "She just continues to improve. American Canyon had a really tough time swinging against her. They tried to bunt a lot."

Bates ended the game with an inside-the-park solo homer in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Nicole hit the ball into the right-center gap.

The Bulldogs tallied six runs in the fourth inning, two in the third and one in the fourth during its pasting of the Wolves.

"The girls did a great job," said Durossette, whose team committed no errors on defense.

Ceres High improved to 21-4 on the year.

The Bulldogs posted a near-perfect 11-1 record while capturing their third consecutive Western Athletic Conference title.