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CHS seniors compete at home for the final time
Senior Callie Nunes tallied seven strikeouts and surrendered just one hit during her final home game with Ceres Highs varsity softball team last week. The Bulldogs posted an 11-0 victory against the Wolves of Livingston on Friday. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High varsity softball veterans Rayohna Sagapolu and Callie Nunes played at home for the final time this past week.

Sagapolu and Nunes were both recognized prior to the start of the Bulldogs' Western Athletic Conference game against Livingston on Friday.

"I wasn't emotional at all," Sagapolu said. "I was happy it was Senior Night and I knew was going to do well. Ever since freshman year, that's something I looked forward to."

"It was bittersweet," Nunes said. "I've been practicing and pitching on that mound since I was very young. I know I'm a senior. I know I'm leaving. It hasn't hit me yet. If there's one thing I want to be remembered for it's being a good teammate. That's the legacy I wasn't to leave behind."

Nunes surrendered just one hit and totaled seven strikeouts, and Sagapolu batted 3-for-3 with one homer, two doubles, three RBIs and two runs as the Bulldogs clinched their sixth straight Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth with an 11-0 mercy-rule win over the Wolves.

"Callie is an amazing pitcher," Sagapolu said. "We don't really have to do anything on defense."

Ceres High improved to 17-8 overall and 7-1 in the WAC standings.

The Bulldogs have won their last six conference games.

Sagapolu and Nunes have both filled key roles since being promoted to varsity during their freshman and sophomore years, respectively.

Rayohna and Callie start at third base and pitcher, respectively.

"For me, there's pressure to succeed and do well," Nunes said. "But it's not overpowering. I'm just proud I can help continue the legacy."

"We both gave it our all," Sagapolu said.

The new-look Bulldogs have proved a lot of doubters wrong this spring.

Ceres High have competed at a high level in 2016 despite losing five starters from last year's Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III championship team, including Nicole Bates, Mahlena O'Neal, Sabrina Baisdon, Mackenzie Veuve and Jessica Arreola.

Bates and O'Neal are currently playing softball for Washington and Georgia, respectively.

"It's different from last year, but good in its own way," Nunes said. "We're having a tremendous amount of fun. The underclassmen have been a huge part of our team. They have really surprised me."

"Our team is pretty solid even though we're so young," Sagapolu said. "We've learned to work together. All the girls we are playing with are competitors. I'm happy that we have that. We'll be league champs next year based on the core we have now. They know what they're doing."

Barring a major collapse during the final week of the WAC season, Ceres High will secure its fourth straight WAC championship.

The Bulldogs will play at second-place Pacheco (5-3) today and third-place Central Valley (2-6) on Friday.

Both games will get underway at 4 p.m.

"This is what I expected us to do," Nunes said. "But we want to go further."

"That's been our goal from the beginning," Sagapolu said. "It feels really great to know that I'm leaving with four (conference titles) under my belt. Hopefully, it pushes the other girls to strive for the exact same thing I got."

Sagapolu and Nunes earned scholarships to San Jose State and Concordia University, respectively.

"We're both going to college for softball," Sagapolu said. "Our careers are not over. We're both excited for our next step."