Ceres High's new-look varsity softball team won three of four games en route to a runner-up finish at the St. Mary's Tournament this past week in Stockton.
"They played their hearts out," Bulldogs first-year head coach Ashley Nicolich said.
Ceres High dropped to 7-2 on the year after losing 9-1 in five innings to St. Mary's in the finals on Saturday.
"They have a great team," Nicolich said.
Bulldog ace Callie Nunes did not pitch against the Rams.
She totaled 41 strikeouts during Ceres High's first three games of the tournament.
"She was exhausted," Nicolich said.
Rayohna Sagapolu and freshman Rebecca DeLeon split time at pitcher versus St. Mary's.
DeLeon started. She surrendered eight runs in 31/2 innings. Sagapolu gave up one run with two strikeouts in 11/2 innings.
The Bulldogs tallied their lone run in the top of the first inning.
Sophomore Priscilla Chavez collected a single, advanced two bases on walks and scored on a passed ball.
Ceres High edged Oakdale 1-0 in nine innings during their semifinal matchup on Saturday.
The Bulldogs lost 4-0 to the Mustangs earlier this season.
"We wanted to get revenge," Nicolich said.
Nunes had a season-high 21 strikeouts. She yielded just one hit.
"That's the best game she's thrown so far this year," Nicolich said. "She hit her spots and struck out a lot of people."
Ceres High broke a scoreless tie in the top of the ninth inning.
Shelby Veuve moved to third on Nunes' bunt and scored on a throwing error.
Ceres High earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory while battling Vista del Lago on Friday.
Nunes had 13 strikeouts in seven innings.
She allowed four hits.
Veuve batted 1-for-3 from the plate with one run.
Andrea Duran singled twice.
Justice Dizney and freshman Bailey Showen both singled.
Ceres High opened the tournament with a 10-2 win against Tokay on Friday.
The Bulldogs had a host of contributors on offense.
Freshman Vianney Perez batted 3-for-3 with two doubles, four RBIs and three runs.
Sophomore Branda Villalpando batted 2-for-3 with one double and two RBIs.
Sagapolu batted 1-for-3 with one RBI and three runs.
Dizney batted 1-for-1 with one double and one RBI.
Showen batted 2-for-2 with one run.
Duran and DeLeon both batted 1-for-3 with one run.
Veuve batted 1-for-4 with one run.
Dawgs 10, Wolves 0
Ceres High played host to Sierra on March 7.
The Bulldogs turned a close game into a mercy-rule victory by tallying nine runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Ceres High prevailed, 10-0.
The Bulldogs took control after Sagapolu lined a pitch off Sierra ace Lindsey Walljasper's leg.
"It would have been a close game if they kept her in the game," Nicolich said. "She finished the fourth inning and didn't go back out to pitch in the fifth."
Nunes starred at pitcher, allowing just two hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks.
Ceres High pounded 13 hits.
Nunes batted 2-for-4 with one double, three RBIs and three runs.
Sagapolu batted 4-for-4 with three RBIs and one run.
Perez batted 1-for-3 with one homer and two RBIs and one run.
Veuve batted 2-for-4 with two runs.
Dizney batted 1-for-1 with one run.
Chavez, DeLeon and Karina Pulido all singled.
Villalpando scored once.
Ceres High's starting lineup consists of two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen.
The Bulldogs lost a wealth of talent to graduation, including Nicole Bates, Mahlena O'Neal, Jessica Arreola, Mackenzie Veuve and Sabrina Baisdon.
Central Valley's varsity softball team won four of five games at the Waterford Tournament this past week at Rainbow Fields.
The Hawks collected victories against Gustine (12-3) on March 10, Stagg (16-6) on March 8, and Orestimba (12-4) and Buhach Colony (6-3) on March 7.
Central Valley dropped to 6-3 on the year after losing to Hilmar (8-3) on March 10.