Last year at this time, Central Valley High School's varsity softball team played for pride.
The 2013 Hawks struggled to a 3-9 record in Western Athletic Conference play.
This year's squad could make history. Central Valley defeated host Livingston 11-3 on April 16 and remained in the hunt for an elusive playoff berth.
The Hawks have never participated in the postseason. Central Valley started competing at the varsity level in 2007.
"They've already requested extra practice," head coach Kristen Ghimenti said. "They want it."
Central Valley improved to 9-6 overall and 5-4 in the WAC standings after its one-sided victory over Livingston.
The Hawks also extended their winning streak to three games.
Central Valley senior pitcher Lexy Cordova registered 11 strikeouts and scattered eight hits.
The Hawks collected 11 hits on offense. Central Valley tallied two runs in the top of the first inning, five in the fifth, and two in both the sixth and seventh.
The Hawks will host the crosstown-rival Bulldogs this Friday at 4 p.m.
Central Valley has an all-time record of 0-15 in conference play versus Ceres High. The Hawks lost 13-1 in five innings to the Bulldogs on April 2.
Ceres High (10-0) captured the WAC title and its third consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth in recent weeks.
Central Valley's final two conference opponents are Pacheco (May 5) and Central Catholic (May 6).
"Our whole league has been battling all year," Ghimenti said. "It's exciting to be able to have a chance to make school history."
Central Valley, Los Banos (5-3), Pacheco (4-5) and Central Catholic (4-5) are battling for the WAC's No. 2 and 3 postseason seeds.
"It's not going to be an easy road," Ghimenti said. "It's going to come down to who doesn't make mistakes."