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CHS baseball closes season with 5-0 loss to Pitman in D3 playoffs
CHS baseball 2023
Ceres High’s baseball team compiled a 7-17 overall record, finished fourth in the Western Athletic Conference standings with a 6-8 mark and advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs this spring,. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Ceres High’s baseball team managed to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs this spring despite dropping its first five games.

The 16th-seeded Bulldogs closed out the 2023 campaign with a 5-0 loss to the top-seeded Pitman Pride in the first round of the Division-II bracket on May 9 in Turlock.

“They were the No. 1 seed for a reason,” Ceres High first-year head coach Raul Godinez said. “They have a good program. 

The Bulldogs amassed a 7-17 overall record and finished in fourth place in the Western Athletic Conference standings with a 6-8 mark this season.

Ceres High had to forfeit four games for unintentionally using an ineligible player

“We were shooting for .500,” Godinez said. “The forfeits set us back. It was some miscommunication on my part.”

The upset-minded Bulldogs embraced the challenge of facing the tradition-rich Pride.

“We had momentum and confidence going into the game,” Godinez said. “We had nothing to lose. We had no pressure. The pressure was on them. They were supposed to win. We’re a way better team than it looks like on paper.”

Pitman took control by scoring four runs in the bottom of the second inning.

“We had one bad inning,” Godinez said. “You take that inning away, it’s a different ball game.”

“We never stopped fighting,” he added. “We just ran out of time.”

Ceres High junior pitcher Brayden Clark (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season.

He surrendered five runs with one strikeout in seven innings.

“He did everything I expected him to do,” Godinez said. “He faced some tough batters. He had to dig deep.”

Ceres High struggled offensively as it was limited to just three hits.

Landyn Hudson, Kyan Bowen and Vincent Castrejon all batted 1-for-3 from the plate.

“We put the ball in play,” Godinez said. 

Pitman’s catcher picked off three Ceres High runners at first base.

“We made some mistakes on the base paths,” Godinez said.

Pride pitcher Drew Walker (9-0) tallied nine strikeouts and allowed just two hits in 62/3 innings

Pitman’s Brock Fanconi gave up one hit in one-third inning of relief.

The Bulldogs made their second straight postseason appearance in 2023.

“I couldn’t be more happy,” Godinez said. “We competed this year. We went to playoffs. We grew as a team.”

Ceres High will vie for its third straight playoff berth next spring.

“We competed this year,” Godinez said. “We went to playoffs. We grew as a team. I’m really looking forward to next season. Hopefully, we do getter and continue growing as a program.”