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CHS still unbeaten in baseball
Bulldogs move to 10-0 in league
Ceres Highs Brandon Machado batted 4-for-8 from the plate with one RBI and two runs versus Pacheco this past week. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity baseball team won by the mercy rule and was forced to rally during its two-game sweep of pesky Pacheco last week.

"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," Bulldogs head coach John Bussard said.

The first-place Bulldogs improved to 17-3 overall and 10-0 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.

Ceres High extended its unbeaten streak to 12 games.

"I've never been around a more unified group," Bussard said. "They're 100 percent behind each other."

Ceres High battled back from a three-run deficit and defeated Pacheco 10-6 on Thursday in Los Banos.

Down 6-3, the Bulldogs scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning and one in the seventh to secure the victory.

"Since Pacheco's been in the league, we haven't played well there," Bussard said. "It's a tough environment. Our kids showed a lot of resiliency. When we got down, they didn't panic. We didn't have to motivate them."

Ceres High ace pitcher Brad Bussard (7-0) was sidelined by arm soreness.

"We had to shut him down," coach Bussard said. "He's been having this problem for several weeks."

Brett Conway started in Bussard's place.

Merrik Price and Evan Duran also pitched.

Duran picked up the win in relief.

Evan gave up just one hit and had four strikeouts in 22/3 innings.

Price allowed two hits in 11/3 innings.

Conway surrendered five earned runs and five hits with three strikeouts and one walk in 31/3 innings.

Brett presented the game ball to Evan.

"He (Conway) didn't do it to draw attention to himself," coach Bussard said. "He wanted to thank him."

Brad Bussard contributed on offense, finishing 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs.

Jimmy Bates finished 1-for-3 with one double, two RBIs and one run.

Alan Marquez finished 4-for-4 with three runs.

Dylan Canatsy finished 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run.

Conway, Duran and Brandon Machaco all singled and scored once.

Ceres High hit .556 as a team and played flawless defense during its 10-0 five-inning rout of Pacheco on Tuesday, April 15 at Art McRae Field.

Marquez batted 2-for-3 with one triple, three RBIs and one run.

Machado batted 3-for-4 with one RBI and one run.

Bates batted 2-for-3 with one triple, one RBI and one run.

Brad Bussard batted 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run.

Conway batted 2-for-2 with one RBI and one run.

Brent Bussard batted 1-for-2 with one RBI and one run.

Izaiah Hernandez batted 1-for-3 with one double and one run.

Price singled and scored once.

Canatsy added one run.

Cole Silva doubled.

Marquez, Ceres High's No. 2 pitcher, earned his sixth victory.

Unbeaten on the year, Alan allowed no runs and four hits with four strikeouts and no walks versus Pacheco.

Duran had two strikeouts while tossing one inning of relief.

The Bulldogs scored seven runs in the bottom of the third inning.

Ceres High did its part to set up a possible WAC title showdown with seven-time champion Central Catholic (2007-13).

The Raiders (8-0) will face third-place Central Valley on April 29 and May 1. Central Catholic must secure at least a split to keep its conference-title hopes alive.

Ceres High had to settle for runner-up honors in the WAC last year after losing twice to Central Catholic during the final week of the regular season.

Ceres High's won 20 of its last 22 conference games.

"You go into every season expecting Central Catholic to be there," coach Bussard said. "They're the league champion until someone knocks them off. We want that title. Our kids are excited about the opportunity to play them. We don't fear them. We want the challenge. It's going to be competitive. You couldn't write a better storybook ending."

The Bulldogs will host the Raiders on May 5 and play at Central Catholic on May 6. Both games will begin at 4 p.m.