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Second place finish for Ceres Blue All-Stars
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Ceres Blue 7-8-year-old All-Star catcher James Andres put his hands on his head and watched in disbelief from his knees as an Atwater Little League baserunner slid across homeplate for an 8-7 walk-off victory at the 37th George Costa Youth Baseball Tournament on Tuesday, July 31.

Andres and Co. needed to beat Atwater twice to win the championship.

"We knew it was going to be a tough road," said Bill Campbell, head coach. "They had won three of five tournaments this year."

Ceres Blue lost four times to Atwater Little League this summer, including twice at the Costa tournament, and once at the Bel Passi, Manteca and Ceres Firecracker events.

"Every time we faced them, it was a battle," Campbell said. "They were a very strong team. They deserve everything they got."

The final meeting was decided in the bottom of the sixth inning. Atwater broke a 7-7 tie.

"It was a real competitive game," Campbell said.

Ceres Blue led 6-2 through three-and-a-half innings of play.

Atwater scored five times in the bottom of the fourth inning for a 7-6 advantage.

"That one bad inning pretty much cost us," Campbell said. "The kids just didn't know where to go with the ball at the right time."

Ceres Blue evened the score in the top of the sixth inning.

Ceres Blue placed second place at its home tournament with a 3-2 record. The All-Stars edged Ceres Red 6-5 in the semifinals on Monday, July 30. Ceres Blue also beat Empire and Concord Red.

"For us to come in as the B-team, and play as well as we did, that's an accomplishment in itself," Campbell said.

Ceres Blue placed in three of six tournaments this summer. The All-Stars took second in Ceres, and third in Oakdale and Newman.

"Overall, we did really well," Campbell said. "We beat the Ceres Red team twice. From what I'm being told, it's never been done before."

Ceres Blue was led by Nicholas Acala, Timothy Campbell, Cole Silva, Michael Lopez, Zachary McCoy, Carlos Pena, Carlos Rodriguez, James Andres, Gabe Jimenez, Nico Loya, Nick Jones, Ismael Ontiveros and Brendan Koch.

"We had a great group of kids," coach Campbell said. "Every one got along. It was very fun to coach this team."