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Lady Dawgs shut out Central Valley
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Vaneza Hoover and the Ceres High varsity softball team beat crosstown rival Central Valley again.

Having already locked up a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff berth, the heavily-favored Bulldogs showed no mercy in their 10-0 romp of the visiting Hawks in five innings last Thursday.

"We take every game serious," said Hoover, Ceres High's ace pitcher and cleanup hitter.

The win helped the Bulldogs (11-3) secure the Valley Oak League's No. 2 seed. Ceres High held the tiebreaker over Sierra, a team it beat twice in conference play.

The Bulldogs were guaranteed a top three finish in league after topping Oakdale 7-3 on Tuesday, May 6.

"It got a lot of stress off of our chests," Hoover said.

Central Valley (1-13 VOL) lost five games by four runs or less this season, including two by one. The Hawks squandered leads against Manteca, Oakdale and Weston Ranch.

Hoover wasn't at full strength because of illness. She stayed home from school on Wednesday with a headache, sore throat and fever. Vaneza totaled nine strikeouts and two walks over five innings.

"I'm surprised how I did because I'm really sick," said Hoover, who allowed just one hit. "But I had a really good practice yesterday."

Ceres High took control of the VOL finale by scoring five runs in the bottom of the third inning.

Hoover reached on a two-base error, courtesy runner Karen Villalobos moved to third on Amanda Lampley's double to center and scored on Jode Johnson's single.

Cassie Rayford followed with a two-run double to left. She advanced to third on a passed ball and came home on Tiffany Ornells' single to left. Ornells capped the scoring when Chelsea Lomeli drew a bases-loaded walk.

"Ceres High has a really good team," Central Valley freshman first baseman Jessica Berndt said. "They all know what they're doing out there."

The Bulldogs increased their lead to 7-0 in the fourth inning. Astrid Mazariegos' sacrifice fly scored Johnson, who reached base when she blasted a double to the left-field fence.

Lomeli, Hoover and Johnson all scored for Ceres High in the fifth inning. Rayford had an RBI.

Lomeli walked with two out and scored on Hoover's single to right field in the first inning.

Jayme Sprague accounted for Central Valley's lone hit with a bloop double to left field in the top of the third inning. The Hawks batted 1-for-16 as a team against the Bulldogs.

"It's upsetting to see us play like that because we're a better hitting team than that," Berndt said. "We should have done a lot better. We didn't have our heads into the game."

Ceres High will make its 23rd straight appearance in the postseason today in Stockton. The Bulldogs will face Capital Valley Conference champion Rio Linda (26-1) at Arnaiz Stadium. The first-round game will begin at 5 p.m.