Teammates since the age of nine, recent Ceres High graduates Jimbo Pernetti and Brandon Arevalos will continue their baseball careers at Merced College next spring.
"He's pretty much like a brother to me," Pernetti said. "I can count on him. He has my back for anything."
"When I started high school, I was supposed to go to Central Valley," Arevalos said. "I decided to go to Ceres High School because of Jimbo. He's my best friend. I enjoy playing with him. He motivates me. He's a great person. He's one of those people you never get tired of."
Jimbo and Brandon played varsity baseball for the Bulldogs for four and three seasons, respectively.
Pernetti and Arevalos filled major roles while leading Ceres High to a 20-7-1 overall record, Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoff berth and runner-up finish in the Western Athletic Conference standings (10-2) this past season.
Jimbo and Brandon were both named to the WAC First Team.
Pernetti , a right-handed slugging shortstop, hit .525 with four homers, two triples, 12 doubles, 27 RBIs and 35 runs.
Brandon, a left-handed outfielder, hit .448 with four homers, one triple, six doubles, 21 RBIs and 20 runs.
Pernetti was voted WAC MVP his junior year as the Bulldogs advanced to the Division-IV postseason tournament, finished 18-10 on the year and placed second in the WAC (8-4).
Pernetti batted .432 with two homers, eight doubles, 26 RBIs and 29 runs.
Arevalos earned first-team all-league honors. He batted .452 with two homers, two triples, eight doubles, 27 RBIs and 15 runs.
Jimbo was selected to the WAC First Team his sophomore year. Pernetti posted a .329 batting average with two homers, one triple, six doubles, 11 RBIs and 16 runs.
Brandon hit .315 with two homers, one double, 11 RBIs and 16 runs for Ceres High, which qualified for the section playoffs, compiled a 17-10 record and took third in the WAC (9-6).
Pernetti missed the entire 2010 season with a broken arm.
"We both have the same personality," Arevalos said.
"We're very competitive. We hate losing. We have a passion for baseball. It's a great one-two punch. We want to see each other succeed."
Jimbo and Brandon have experienced success together at the youth, travel ball and high school levels.
Merced College has a rich tradition.
The Blue Devils posted a 22-16 overall record, advanced to the CCCAA Northern California Regional Playoffs and finished second at 16-8 in the Central Valley Conference behind Fresno (28-12, 20-4).
"We started talking about it (playing college baseball together) senior year," Arevalos said. "I'd like to see us get first in league and make it to playoffs. We want to beat Fresno because they're our rival. Merced has a reputation of having more players get drafted. We want to see how far we can make it."