Ceres High's varsity softball program made history this past week by winning its fourth straight Western Athletic Conference crown.
The Bulldogs managed to place first again despite competing with a revamped roster as five key players were lost to graduation. Ceres High also had a new coaching staff.
"It amazes me how much people underestimated us," Ceres High senior pitcher Callie Nunes said. "We wanted to show everybody we still have talent on the team."
Ceres High improved to 19-8 on the year after topping host Central Valley 8-2 on Senior Night last Friday.
The Bulldogs (9-1) finished seven games ahead of the fourth-place Hawks (2-8) in the WAC standings.
Ceres High has never lost to Central Valley in softball.
"Central Valley really wanted to beat us this year," Nunes said. "Our big focus was to not allow that to happen."
Nunes retired 18 Hawks by strikeout.
Callie surrendered two hits as Brianna Quiroz and Cheyenne Brincat both singled.
Nunes improved her pitching record to 19-2 and lowered her earned-run average to 0.48.
She currently ranks first in the Sac-Joaquin Section with 260 strikeouts.
"For me, it was just another game," Nunes said.
Andrea Duran led the way on offense, finishing 3-for-4 with one homer, four RBIs and one run.
Vianney Perez batted 2-for-4 with one homer, three RBIs and two runs.
Rayohna Sagapolu batted 1-for-2 with one RBI and one run.
Priscilla Chavez batted 1-for-3 with two runs.
Shelby Veuve batted 2-for-5 with two runs.
Rebecca DeLeon and Branda Villalpando both singled.
Central Valley freshman pitcher Scarlett Lloyd allowed six earned runs and 11 hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Nunes and fellow senior Sagapolu were both recognized by Central Valley before the crosstown game.
"They gave us flowers," Nunes said. "That was very classy."
Ceres High secured the WAC title with a 4-1 win over second-place Pacheco on Wednesday in Los Banos.
Nunes pitched a complete game against the Panthers (6-4).
Callie allowed no earned runs and one hit with 10 strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
Nunes singled on offense.
Sagapolu batted 1-for-3 with one double, two RBIs and one run.
DeLeon batted 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run.
Veuve batted 1-for-4 with one run.
Perez scored once.
Duran collected one double and two singles.
Villalpando and Justice Dizney both singled.
Ceres High won its final eight conference games.
The Bulldogs outscored their WAC opponents, 85-15.
Second-place Patterson (7-3) dealt Ceres High its lone league loss.
The Tigers prevailed, 9-8.
"The Patterson game was a wakeup call," Nunes said. "My attitude and the team's attitude changed after that. We had to buckle down and work extra hard to get the job done. One person can't win a softball game. It's not just me. My team played so well behind me."
Ceres High continued its winning tradition with a revamped roster.
"It's a pretty sweet feeling because a lot of people thought we were going to lose a lot this year," Nunes said. "That was huge motivation. My favorite part of this whole thing was to see girls that were in the shadows the previous seasons step up this year."
The Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoff tournament will get underway on May 16.
Seeded third, Ceres High compiled a 5-1 record en route to a first-place finish last year.
"I feel like we still have a target on our backs," Nunes said. "I like that. We'll be glad to showcase to everybody what we have and may the best team win."