Central Valley slugged its way to a 9-5 win over Ceres High in the championship game of the Ceres Lions Club/Art McRae Varsity Baseball Tournament last Thursday.
The crosstown Hawks and Bulldogs co-hosted the 12-team event.
Central Valley and Ceres High had unbeaten streaks of five and eight games, respectively, before meeting in the finals.
"It's our first time winning the tournament," Hawks head coach Greg Magni said. "It gives us confidence. I want them to enjoy the moment. But at the same time, we realize next week is more important. We need to focus on the bigger picture. We want to be a part of the playoffs."
Central Valley compiled a 4-0 record at the McRae tourney and moved to 14-3 on the year.
The Hawks collected wins against Ceres High, Riverbank (9-2), Yerington (9-4) and Salesian (8-3).
The Bulldogs, 14-3-1 overall, had a 3-1 mark.
Ceres High beat Kimball (3-2), Salesian (7-1) and Yerington (9-2).
"It's impressive," Magni said while pointing out the Hawks and Bulldogs had a combined record of 28-6-1 this season. "Both schools are doing well. We're pretty evenly-matched."
The Bulldogs contributed to their own demise during the title game by making five errors.
"We capitalized on their mistakes," Magni said.
Hawk relief pitcher Michael Collins earned the win.
Collins limited Ceres High to just one run on three hits and one walk over 32/3 innings. He had three strikeouts.
Jeff Reeves, Central Valley's starting pitcher, gave up four runs and three hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 31/3 innings.
Ceres High senior/2012 Western Athletic Conference MVP Jimbo Pernetti batted 2-for-4 with one homer, one RBI and two runs.
Bulldog teammates Brett Conway, Devon Ruger, Jimmy Bates, Brent Bussard, Alan Marquez and Brad Bussard also contributed on offense.
Conway batted 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run.
Bates batted 1-for-3 with one RBI.
Brent Bussard knocked in one run.
Marquez scored once.
Brad Bussard singled.
The Hawks piled up 10 hits and committed no errors.
Kendel Johnson batted 2-for-5 with two RBIs, one run and one stolen base.
Michael Ereso batted 2-for-3 with three runs and two walks.
Jorge Alvarez batted 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one run.
Raul Godinez batted 1-for-3 with three runs.
Sidney Long batted 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
Ruben Casas batted 1-for-4 with one RBI.
Collins scored one run.
Austin Burns singled.
"Our guys did a nice job of finding a way to get on base," Magni said. "We were patient."
Central Valley jumped out to a 7-0 lead before Ceres High cut the deficit to three in the fourth inning.
The Hawks extended their lead to 9-4 in the fifth inning.
The Bulldogs scored their final run in the seventh inning.
McRae, Ceres High's former head coach, threw out the first pitch.
He posed for a picture with Magni and Bulldog leader John Bussard.
Central Valley will play a home-and-away, WAC series against first-place Ceres High this week.
The Hawks hosted the Bulldogs on Tuesday. The final score and stats were unavailable before the Courier went to press.
Central Valley will battle Ceres High this Thursday at Art McRae Field. The contest will get underway at 4 p.m.
The top three teams in the WAC qualify for the playoffs next month.
"We have a new challenge ahead of us," Magni said while talking about the crosstown matchup. "We're hoping to get the same energy and effort. They're going to be motivated."