Ceres High School's varsity softball program picked the perfect time to break out of an offensive slump.
The visiting Bulldogs totaled 18 runs in the first and fifth innings and racked up a season-high 21 hits during Wednesday's 23-6 five-inning mercy-rule thumping of crosstown-rival Central Valley.
"It was one of those games," said Ceres High head coach Donnie Donaldson, whose team tallied just eight runs in four games while compiling a 1-3 record at the NorCal Classic the previous week. "The next time we face them it might not be the same."
The second-place Bulldogs (13-8 overall, 4-2 Western Athletic Conference) improved their all-time record versus the Hawks to 13-0.
Third-place Central Valley lost 6-0 to undefeated Central Catholic (6-0) on Thursday and dropped to 2-4 in conference play.
"It's hard to say," Ceres High senior first baseman Laura Story said when asked if the Hawks would ever best the Bulldogs. "We got a good team for the next four years. We never want to lose to Central Valley. We're happy we beat them by a lot."
Story had a career-best day at the plate against the Hawks. She batted 2-for-3 with one homer, one double, four RBIs and three runs.
"Laura came out of her slump in Tracy during the weekend," Donaldson said. "She was a star. I was expecting her to do this from the very beginning of the season. I hope it continues."
Nicole Bates, Kaytlin Donaldson, Sabrina Baisdon, Mahlena O'Neal, MacKenzie Veuve and Jessica Arreola, Ceres High's talented freshman class, filled the stat sheet as well.
Bates collected one double, four singles, three RBIs and five runs.
Donaldson belted a three-run homer.
Baisdon finished 3-for-4 with one double, three RBIs and two runs.
O'Neal finished 3-for-4 with one triple and two RBIs.
Veuve finished 2-for-4 with one double and two RBIs.
Arreola, who was recently promoted to fill injured-teammate Camrynn Broumas' void, finished 2-for-3 with two runs.
Sophomore Megan McCormick went 2-for-3 with three runs.
Senior Dia Borden went 1-for-3 with one run.
"Everything we hit was hard," coach Donaldson said. "We've been waiting for this day to happen."
Central Valley totaled seven hits in 23 at-bats versus Ceres High.
Mia Lorenzo finished 2-for-2 with one triple and two RBIs.
Lynaya Lerma doubled and knocked in two runs.
Malynda Lomeli singled twice and scored once.
"They hit the ball today," Lomeli said. "We didn't."
Veuve was the winning pitcher.
She yielded three runs and four hits with three strikeouts in three innings.
Donaldson logged two innings of relief.
She gave up three runs, allowed two hits and struck out two.
Hawk pitcher Lexy Cordova allowed 21 hits to go along with one strikeout, no walks and five hit batsmen.
Ceres High scored 17 of its 23 runs with two outs.
The Bulldogs led 13-3 at the end of the third inning. Ceres High tallied eight runs in the top of the first inning.
"It helped take some pressure off especially after the weekend we had in Tracy," coach Donaldson said.
Needing just one out to blank Ceres High in the fourth inning, Central Valley surrendered 10 runs.
"It would have been nice to beat them for once," Malynda said. "I thought it would be a lot more competitive. They're a good, hitting team."
Lomeli, a fourth-year varsity player, and Central Valley will close out the WAC season at Ceres High on May 3.
Malynda's teams have lost seven straight games to the Bulldogs.
Central Valley will look to end Ceres High's crosstown supremacy next month.
"Eventually, it will happen," Lomeli said. "I don't know if it will happen when I'm here. I hope it does."
"It's going to be an uphill battle for them," Donnie Donaldson said. "We're going to be tough for the next three years."
Ceres High will play host to Central Catholic on Wednesday and at Livingston on Friday.
The first-place Raiders edged the Bulldogs 2-1 on March 15.
Central Valley will compete against host Los Banos on Wednesday and visiting Patterson on Friday.
"We can't let up on any teams in our league," coach Donaldson said. "Our backs are against the wall. We don't hold our own destiny. We'll see how it plays out."
Added Story: "We try our hardest every game."