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Memorable year for area athletes
Ceres High varsity boys tennis standout Luis Ochoa exacted revenge at the Valley Oak League singles championships. Bulldog softball player Jode Johnson put up staggering numbers on offense. Ceres High's softball team secured another playoff berth. The spring sports season was filled with many highlights. Now's the perfect time to recollect and celebrate.

Male Athlete-Luis Ochoa became the first Ceres High boys tennis player to win a conference title in 15 years (Paul Vecchione, 1994). The junior topped undefeated Vicente Mosso of Sonora 6-4, 6-0 for the championship. Mosso edged Ochoa twice during the VOL regular season. Luis finished the year with a 26-3 record.

Female Athlete-Jode Johnson won the Valley Oak League Most Valuable Player award. The junior shortstop earned recognition after ranking first in six of seven offensive categories, including batting average (.571), home runs (5), runs scored (21), RBIs (24), slugging percentage (1.119) and on-base percentage (.617). She also had nine stolen bases, the second highest total in conference play.

Male Newcomer-Greg Guerra expanded his role with the Central Valley High School varsity baseball team. The junior third baseman/reliever was converted into the Hawks' No. 2 starting pitcher during the third week of the Valley Oak League season. Guerra, a second-team VOL pick, notched wins against East Union, Weston Ranch and Ceres High. He went the distance in four of his six starts and totaled 40 strikeouts. Greg also batted .356 (16-for-45) with two triples, six doubles, eight runs and nine RBIs.

Female Newcomer-Originally penciled in to play third base, freshman Kaycee Creek started at pitcher during the final 11 conference games of the Ceres High varsity softball squad's Valley Oak League season. The first-team, all-conference honoree compiled a 9-2 record with a 1.69 ERA, two shutouts and 69 strikeouts. Creek also batted .366 (15-for-41) with four doubles, seven runs and seven RBIs.

Coach-Under head coach Donnie Donaldson's leadership, Ceres High School's varsity softball program posted a 20-8 record, participated in the playoffs and finished runner-up in the Valley Oak League (11-3). The Bulldogs competed without Humboldt State bound Vaneza Hoover for most of the season. The star pitcher and slugger was dismissed from the team for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

Team-Ceres High's softball program made its 24th consecutive appearance in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. For the second straight year, the Bulldogs edged out Sierra for the VOL's second and final postseason berth. Ceres High held a 2-0 record against the Timberwolves in conference play.

Individual performance- Jode Johnson's walk-off, three-run homer with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted the Bulldogs to an 8-6 win over East Union in a key Valley Oak League varsity softball game on April 28 in Ceres. Johnson fell a double short of hitting for the cycle and totaled four RBIs.

Game-Ceres High ended the Valley Oak League varsity softball season with a 15-3, mercy-rule blowout of crosstown rival Central Valley. The road victory, coupled with East Union's forfeit loss to Oakdale, propelled the Bulldogs into the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Ceres High batted .515 (17-for-33) as a team and tallied 11 runs in the top of the third inning against the Hawks. Jode Johnson homered, doubled, singled, scored three times and collected four RBIs for the Bulldogs, who improved their all-time record to 6-0 against Central Valley. Ceres High battled back from a three-run deficit on its way to an 8-6 victory over visiting Central Valley during the first meeting this year.

Honorable Mention- Ceres High senior swimmer Shane Nunes won the 100 fly (56.11) and finished second in the 200 free (1:56.37) at the Valley Oak League championships. He defeated East Union's Jeff Clare by almost five seconds on his way to becoming the first Bulldog to claim a conference title in at least two years. Nunes placed 16th in both the 100 fly trials and finals during the Sac-Joaquin Section meet.

Ceres High varsity baseball player Robert Cope claimed the Valley Oak League's Offensive Player of the Year award for the second time in three seasons. The senior led the conference in batting average (.514), slugging percentage (.892), on-base percentage (.647), and ranked second in homers (4) and RBIs (15) despite being pitched around.

Martin Gomez, a multi-talented player on Central Valley High School's varsity baseball team, very rarely disappointed. The unanimous first-team, Valley Oak League pitcher led the conference in strikeouts (72), shutouts (2) and complete games (6), and ranked second in wins (4) and fourth in ERA (2.23). Gomez, a senior, also logged playing time at third base, shortstop and second base. He posted the fourth-highest batting average in league (.444), to go along with two homers, three doubles, 16 runs and 13 RBIs.

A newcomer to the sport of track and field, Central Valley High School senior Marc Bejaran cleared a personal-best 6 feet, 4 inches on his way to a second-place finish in the high jump at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Championships.

Raul Massie and Jose Cortes, the Ceres High varsity boys tennis squad's No. 1 doubles tandem, earned first-team, all-Valley Oak League honors. Massie and Cortes won five of their six matches during the second half of the VOL season. They avenged losses to Sonora and Oakdale in the same week.

The Central Valley High School varsity softball squad more than quadrupled its win total from a season ago thanks in large part to the play of sophomore pitcher Vicky Ochoa. The first-team all-Valley Oak League selection accumulated five wins with 67 strikeouts. She also hit .319 (15-for-47) with one homer, three doubles, two stolen bases, seven runs and seven RBIs for the fourth-place Hawks (6-8).

Jasveen Brar, a standout athlete on Central Valley High School's varsity girls track and field, qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet for the second straight season. The junior finished in sixth place in the 300-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 48.49 seconds at the Division III competition. Brar also took second in both the 300 hurdles and triple jump, and fourth in the 100 hurdles and long jump at the Valley Oak League Championships.

Cassandra Martinez's outstanding play warranted first-team Valley Oak League recognition. The speedy senior starred at sweeper on Central Valley High School's varsity girls soccer team.

Paul Sidhu joined the Central Valley High School varsity boys tennis team as a freshman. He worked his way up the ladder to become the Hawks' No. 1 player. For the second straight season, he received second-team VOL accolades.