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One-sided affair in softball
Mahlena ONeal powers CHS softball past CV
Hawk Nayeli Pelayo doubled and later scored on Brianna Quirozs extra-base hit in the top of the fourth inning versus the Bulldogs. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

The performance of the day belonged to Mahlena O'Neal.

A standout on Ceres High School's varsity softball team since her freshman year, the University of Georgia bound slugger/catcher batted 3-for-4 from the plate with one homer, two singles, four RBIs, one run and one walk in the host Bulldogs' 15-1 mercy-rule wipeout of the crosstown-rival Central Valley Hawks on April 12.

"Mahlena's hit a home run in five out of our last six games," Ceres High head coach Angela Durossette said. "She's swinging the bat really well right now."

First-place Ceres High improved to 13-3-0 overall and 6-0-0 in the Western Athletic Conference.

Last-place Central Valley dropped to 0-6 in WAC play.

"We should not lose another league game," Durossette said.

O'Neal hit her 18th career home run-a three-run blast over the center-field fence-in the bottom of the fourth inning.

"The pitch was belt high and right down the middle," said Mahlena, who almost homered in the third and second innings as well. "It felt really good coming off the bat."

O'Neal has belted six homers this year, including two at home.

"She's really strong," Durossette said. "Ninety-five percent of the time she hits the ball, it's solid. She's got a good eye and swings hard. I like watching her play."

Ceres High totaled 18 hits against Central Valley.

Sabrina Baisdon batted 2-for-4 with one double, four RBIs and two runs.

Nicole Bates batted 3-for-4 with one double, one RBI and three runs.

Shelby Veuve batted 2-for-4 with one RBI and three runs.

Mackenzie Veuve batted 3-for-4 with two doubles, one RBI and one run.

Callie Nunes batted 2-for-3 with one double and two RBIs.

Natalia Cortez batted 1-for-1 with one double and two runs.

Jessica Arreola batted and Andrea Duran both batted 1-for-3 with one run.

Rayohna Sagapolu batted 0-for-3 with one run and one walk.

Sophomore Nayeli Pelayo batted 2-for-2 with one double, one single and one run to lead the Hawks.

Freshman Brianna Quiroz collected one double and one RBI.

Freshmen Megan McElroy and Chrystal Perales both singled.

Pelayo collected an extra-base hit and scored on Quiroz's double in the top of the fourth inning.

"Whenever we play Ceres High, it's always fun," said Nayeli, Central Valley's catcher. "We all know each other. We're from the same town."

Hawk junior leftfielder Gabriela Bonales suffered a season-ending ankle injury at practice leading up to the crosstown contest.

"If she would have played today, it would have been more competitive," Pelayo said. "She's a really good hitter and outfielder."

Sagapolu started at pitcher and improved her record to 2-2.

Rayohna had six strikeouts and no walks in four innings.

Nunes tossed one inning of scoreless relief with three strikeouts.

The Ceres High-Central Valley game lasted just 60 minutes.

"It felt shorter," O'Neal said. "We worked on everything. It was kind of like practice."

The Bulldogs have outscored their first six WAC opponents, 70-3.

"We don't take any team lightly," O'Neal said.

Barring a major collapse, Ceres High should claim its third consecutive WAC crown.

The Bulldogs will also participate in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the fifth year in a row.

Ceres High has won its last 11 games.

"It's going by quick," said O'Neal, one of six seniors on this year's team. "We know it's going to end soon. We're having fun."

"The WAC is a little weaker than last year," Durossette said. "We talked about that. We have to stay focused. Our ultimate goal is to do deep in the playoffs. The girls are pretty motivated."