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CHS softball remains in hunt for playoff berth
Dawgs move into tie for 2nd
Rebecca DeLeon and Ceres Highs varsity softball team will play host to crosstown-rival Central Valley this Thursday. The Western Athletic Conference game will begin at 4 p.m. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's varsity softball team won one of two games this past week to remain in the hunt for its seventh consecutive playoff berth.

"It's nice to know we still have a shot," head coach Ashley Nicolich said.

The Bulldogs (5-9, 4-4) moved into a two-way tie for third place in the WAC standings with Los Banos after outlasting host Livingston 2-1 on Friday.

The last-place Wolves dropped to 8-17-1 and 0-8.

"It wasn't the type of performance we wanted," Ceres High sophomore shortstop Vianney Perez said. "We should have won by a lot more."

Perez batted 1-for-2 with one homer, one RBI and one run.

Shania Evans batted 1-for-3 with one double, one run and one stolen base.

Rebecca DeLeon batted 2-for-3 with one double.

DeLeon (3-6) tallied six strikeouts and one walk at pitcher.

She allowed one run and six hits in seven innings.

"She's doing a great job," Nicolich said. "She's gotten better. Our defense is finally starting to back her up."

Patterson pulled away for a 4-1 win over first-place Patterson last Wednesday on the road.

The Tigers improved to 15-5 overall and 8-0 in the WAC.

"Patterson has good team chemistry," Nicolich said. "They have a good coach. They hit when they need to. We did the best we could."

Down 2-1, Ceres High surrendered one run in each of the third and fifth innings.

"We left a lot of runners stranded," Perez said. "Unfortunately we couldn't string hits together. That killed us."

Perez batted 1-for-4 with one RBI.

Evans batted 2-for-3 with one run.

DeLeon batted 2-for-3.

Andrea Duran batted 1-for-3.

DeLeon allowed four runs and 11 hits with one strikeout and two walks in six innings.

The top three teams in the WAC qualify for the postseason.

Pacheco, Ceres High and Los Banos all have two games left on their WAC schedules.

Ceres High will face second-place Pacheco (13-8-2, 5-3) today and fourth-place Central Valley (7-9, 3-5) Friday.

Los Banos (5-10, 4-4) will play Livingston and Pacheco.

"It's so up in the air this year," said Nicolich, whose team placed first in the WAC with a 9-1 record last spring. "We have the talent to make playoffs."

"I honestly thought we had a good chance at winning league this year," Perez said. "But we had a lot of games rained out during the preseason. We didn't get enough reps to play together before league. We really needed that. We still expect to make playoffs. We have good momentum right now. We need to do whatever we can to win the next two games. We've been practicing hard and preparing to play."