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Ladies win 1 of 2 games minus top player
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The Ceres High softball team won without its top player in Ceres on Thursday. Meghan Franksen, the Bulldogs' leadoff batter and shortstop, was relegated to the bench after pulling her right hamstring in practice earlier in the week.

"Not having Meghan in the lineup hurts," said Ceres coach Mike Corsaut. "She's are sparkplug."

Ceres edged Downey 2-1. The Bulldogs scored the game-winning run in the final inning.

"We did what we had to do to win," Corsaut said.

Ceres moved into a four-way tie for first in the Central California Conference standings with Golden Valley, Turlock and Davis. The Bulldogs improved to 9-2 in league.

Downey fell to 4-7 in the CCC.

Bulldog pitcher Jennifer Arnold allowed one run on four hits. The sophomore had nine strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.

Arnold started in place of Andrea Mathis.

"Any pitcher we put on the mound is going to throw fine for us because we have the defense to back them up," Corsaut said.

Downey pitcher Jennifer Crocker allowed two runs on four hits. She struck out two and walked three in seven innings.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Mathis and Russell singled to center and left field, respectively. They moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Mathis scored on Shelby Olivan's grounder to the pitcher. Crocker hesitated to first and threw home late.

Ceres took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Heidi Eisenbeis singled to right field and moved to second on a ground out and scored from third on a passed ball.

Downey evened the scored in the top of the fifth inning.

Anita Johnson singled, moved to second on a bunt and advanced to third on an error. Downey No. 7 hitter Sarah Van Swoll reached first base on Heather Russell's blunder at third base.

Johnson scored on Davon Keokanock's pinch-hit single to center field. Van Swoll tried to score as well but was thrown out at the plate by Ceres outfielder Monica Hall.

Cougars beat Dawgs

Golden Valley defeated Ceres High in Merced on April 20.

"They were the better team today," Corsaut said.

Mathis allowed five hits and had four strikeouts and two walks in seven innings for Ceres.

Golden Valley's Jill Davis also pitched a complete game. She allowed four hits, struck out two and walked one.

"Both pitchers threw great," Corsaut said.

The Cougars collected three of their five hits and scored all of their runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Golden Valley No. 3 hitter Tawni Jarrat had a two-out, bases-loaded triple. Sarah Tacke followed with an RBI single.

"It was a good game until the bottom of the fifth," Corsaut said.

Ceres had an opportunity to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning.

The Bulldogs had runners on second and third with one down. Eisenbeis was called out after tagging up at third on a sacrifice fly. The umpire said she left the base early.

Ceres had four hits in the game. Jordan Nash had a double. Eisenbeis, Hall and Amanda Gravitt singled.

The Bulldogs edged the Cougars 3-2 in Ceres on March 11. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier