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Hoover, CHS return to form
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Bulldog varsity softball pitcher Vaneza Hoover admitted her confidence took a hit after enduring several rough outings at the Ceres High tournament.

The right-handed junior got back on track last week by posting victories over Pitman and Golden Valley.

Hoover and the Bulldogs wrapped up their preseason schedule Thursday with a 10-0 win over visiting Pitman.

The game was stopped in the bottom of the sixth inning because of the mercy rule.

Hoover pitched six scoreless innings against the Pride. She allowed just one hit-a bloop single to right field in the top of the fifth inning-and struck out eight batters.

"I felt reborn today," said Hoover, who was challenged the night before by head coach Donnie Donaldson and pitching guru Jimmy Dyson.

"This is the first time I've seen her smile while pitching," Donaldson said. "She was having a good time. She got her confidence back last night."

Hoover was slowed by a lower-back injury at the Ceres tourney.

"I'm getting over it," she said.

Ceres batted 13-for-21 from the plate against Pitman.

Chelsea Lomeli went 3-for-3 with one run and two RBIs. Jode Johnson finished 2-for-2 with one triple, three runs and three RBIs. Hoover singled and drove in two runs. Ryan Norton singled, doubled and scored twice. Hillary Haley singled twice, scored once and plated a run. Shaye Farriester tripled, singled and scored a run. Mika Johnson singled, scored a run, walked twice and registered a steal. Tiffany Ornalles added a run.

Pitman senior and New Mexico State bound Tiare Jennings failed to collect a hit off Hoover.

The Bulldogs scored runs in all but one inning, including four in the sixth, two in the fourth and first, and one in the fifth and third.

"That's how I expect us to play every game," Donaldson said.

"I thought it was going to be more competitive," Vaneza said.

Ceres High edged Golden Valley 5-4 in 10 innings on Tuesday, March 11 in Merced.

The Bulldogs managed to beat the Cougars despite leaving 13 runners on base.

Farriester led Ceres High's 16-hit attack. She batted 4-for-5 with a triple and two runs.

Jode Johnson homered, singled, scored once and collected two RBIs. Lomeli doubled, singled and knocked in two runs. Mika Johnson collected two hits and stole four bases. Haley and Norton had two hits each. Cassie Rayford singled and drove in a run. Ornalles singled and scored a run.

Hoover surrendered four runs-two earned-on three hits, four walks and a hit batsman. Vaneza tallied four strikeouts.

The Bulldogs (4-5) begin Valley Oak League play this week against Weston Ranch (March 18) and Manteca (Thursday