Central Valley’s baseball and Ceres High’s softball programs have been named the Ceres Courier’s co-Teams of the Year for the spring sports season.
“I’m super proud of what we were able to do this year,” Hawks’ senior pitcher Gabrial Lopez said. “It was a special season. Lots of great memories and friendships. I’ll remember this group of baseball players for the rest of my life.”
Central Valley’s baseball team pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Sac-Joaquin Section playoff history.
Seeded 14th, the Hawks upset No. 3 Elk Grove 3-2 in the opening round.
“We didn’t talk about what they accomplished,” said Derrick Goblirsch, Central Valley’s head coach for the past nine years. “We talked about what we wanted to accomplish.”
“Nobody on our team saw it as a non-winnable game,” Lopez said. “We knew they were beatable. We weren’t intimidated. We were motivated. We’re fighters.”
“We’ve been in close games all year,” he added. “That helped us.”
Central Valley also made program history by securing just its second playoff berth. The Hawks returned to the postseason following an eight-year absence.
Central Valley finished in the top eight in the Division-I bracket, posted a 14-14 overall record and placed fourth overall in the ultra-competitive Central California Conference standings (6-6).
The Hawks claimed their first-ever conference championship and compiled a 14-4 overall record in 2021. Central Valley won eight of nine games against Western Athletic Conference South competition.
All-CCC performers Gabrial Lopez, Chris Garcia, Alan Lopez led the way this year.
Ryan Estermann, Garret Garcia and Samuel Wilson were also major contributors.
Gabrial Lopez was selected to the CCC First Team.
Chris Garcia was an honorable-mention selection.
Alan Lopez was named to the CCC Sportsmanship Team.
Gabrial Lopez had a 7-5 record at pitcher with a 2.42 ERA, 112 strikeouts, 34 walks, one no-hitter, one shutout and two complete games.
Chris Garcia, a 6-foot-3 freshman southpaw pitcher, compiled a 5-5 record with a 1.35 ERA, 83 strikeouts, 15 walks, two complete games and one save.
Estermann batted .333 with one homer, two triples, eight doubles, 15 RBIs and 16 runs.
Garret Garcia batted .310 with one homer, five doubles, 12 RBIs and 12 runs.
Wilson batted .306 with one homer, seven doubles, six RBIs and 15 runs.
Ceres High’s softball team continued its run of success under Corsaut’s guidance.
The Bulldogs qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs, compiled a 19-9 overall record and finished second overall in the Western Athletic Conference standings (12-2).
All-WAC performers Brooklyn Heffernan, Sehren Martinez, Ava Montesdeoca, Isabela Giraldes, Alizae Cole and Alayna De La Torre led the way as Ceres High battled back from a 3-6 start to the season.
Heffernan was voted league MVP for the third time in her career.
She also earned first-team all-conference honors, along with Martinez and Montesdeoca.
Giraldes, Cole and De La Torre were selected to the WAC Second Team.
Heffernan posted a 14-6 record in the circle with a 1.58 ERA, 170 strikeouts and 20 walks.
Opponents batted just .175 from the plate versus Heffernan.
Heffernan also contributed on offense with a .351 batting average, three homers, two triples, eight doubles, 23 RBIs, 23 runs, 17 walks and nine stolen bases.
Martinez batted .441 with one homer, three doubles, nine doubles, 19 RBIs, 20 runs and eight stolen bases.
Montesdeoca batted .587 with two homers, two triples, 10 doubles, 24 RBIs, 50 runs and 21 stolen bases.
Giraldes batted .511 with one homer, five triples, nine doubles, 43 RBIs, 26 runs and seven stolen bases. She compiled a 4-3 record at pitcher with a 3.85 ERA and 38 strikeouts.
Cole batted .506 with four homers, three triples, eight doubles, 36 RBIs and 30 runs.
De La Torre batted .314 with one triple, two doubles, eight RBIs and 16 runs.
“We had a great season,” Corsaut said. “I’m proud of the girls. They battled until the end. The competitive fire was there. That’s what makes them special.”