Surrounded by players, head coach Angela Durossette smiled while hoisting the blue Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III championship banner over her head.
Ceres High's varsity softball team edged Benicia 3-2 in the finals Thursday night in Sacramento.
Citing the need to spend more time with her family, Durossette has decided to step down as leader of the Bulldogs.
Dalton Durossette, Angela's son, will be a freshman at Ceres High this fall.
Daughter Cheralyn will enter the ninth grade two years from now.
Dalton and Cheralyn both play multiple sports.
"Walking away is going to be difficult," Durossette said. "I can't give them the rest of my life. As a mom, my kids need to know how important they are to me."
The Bulldogs enjoyed one of their most successful seasons to date this spring.
Ceres High captured its second section title in program history.
The Bulldogs ended a 21-year gap between championships.
"I had a hard time talking to them after the game," said Durossette, who notified players of her impending retirement two weeks before Senior Night. "It was really emotional. I'm so proud of what they accomplished. There was just something special between all of us. In order to win a championship, it's about having kids believing in themselves and you believing in them. They knew I had their backs and they had mine. The bonds I made with them will last forever."
Ceres High posted a combined record of 45-14, captured one section title, claimed two Western Athletic Conference crowns and participated in the playoffs twice under Durossette's direction.
The Bulldogs won 21 of 24 conference games.
Angela's assistant coaches were her husband Bret Durossette and her uncle Fulvio Bertolotti.
"She pushed all the right buttons and the girls responded," said Mike Corsaut, who guided Ceres High to a 107-30-3 overall record, five postseason appearances and four conference titles in five seasons (2002-2006).
"She's a great coach," said Danielle de la Porte, star pitcher on the Bulldogs' 1995 section championship team.
"It takes the right coach to get your players to perform," said Sarah Norwood, pitcher on Ceres High's section runner-up squads in 1993 and 1991.
"They're great people," Bulldogs' four-year standout shortstop Nicole Bates said while talking about Angela and Bret. "They've done so much more for us than coaching. I love them."
"Any other coach could have done the same thing with this group of girls," a humble Angela Durossette said. "We always tried to do what's best for the team."
Angela made her decision to step down as head coach public Saturday afternoon in a post on Facebook.
Durossette will continue to work on campus as a special education teacher.
"It was such an honor," Angela said while talking about her two-year coaching stint with the Bulldogs. "I know the history of Ceres High and the success of its softball program. I played against them when I was in school. I'm going to miss the girls but they know where to find me. I'm still going to support and root for them. They'll see me at most of their home games. Winning a section championship is amazing. But the best thing for me is being a mom. I need my focus to be on my kids. That's more important."
Durossette will be forever grateful to have gotten the opportunity to coach Ceres High.