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Short-handed CHS crushes CV
There was a noticeable absence when Ceres High School's varsity softball team faced Central Valley last week.

Bulldog shortstop Jode Johnson missed the crosstown game. The reigning Valley Oak League MVP had to attend the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club's 43rd Outstanding Athlete Award Banquet. Johnson was a finalist in the Prep Girls Division.

"I anticipated her playing and leaving early," Ceres High head coach Donnie Donaldson said. "I got a text from her last night saying she wouldn't be able to make it. That's a once-in-a-lifetime award. It's a big deal."

The Bulldogs did just fine without their best player on Wednesday, Ceres High posted an 11-0 mercy-rule victory over the host Hawks.

The first-place Bulldogs improved to 3-0 in the VOL standings.

Last-place Central Valley dropped to 0-3 in conference play.

"I was kind of nervous," Ceres High ace pitcher Kaycee Creek said when asked about competing shorthanded. "But when we lose a player, everyone seems to step up."

Creek, a sophomore, allowed just two hits and struck out six in four innings. Central Valley's Malynda Lomeli and Jessica Berndt both singled.

"I could have done better," she said.

Jamie Beck, a 6-foot-2 junior, had one strikeout in relief.

Breonna Bejaran, Central Valley's catcher and third batter, missed the game with an ankle injury sustained earlier in the week against Oakdale.

"That hurt," Hawks head coach Manny Bejaran said. "We had to play girls out of position."

The Bulldogs generated plenty of firepower on offense.

Ceres High tallied three runs in the first, second and third innings, and two in the fifth.

"We're playing well but we're not where we want to be," Donaldson said.

In the top of the first inning, Creek drove in Ryan Norton and Taiylor Sakurada with a triple to left field. Kaycee scored on Cierra Hammons' single.

In the second inning, Ryan Norton singled via a drag bunt, moved to second on Sakurada's groundout and scored when Jessica Ellsworth reached on an error. Ellsworth advanced to second on a passed ball and sprinted home when Creek lined a single to right-center field. Cierra knocked in Kaycee for the second time.

In the third inning, Hillary Haley singled and Alison Ghimenti reached on an error. Erica Reyes' hit to right-center field scored Haley and Ghimenti. Norton added an RBI single.

Creek had a two-run double in the fifth inning. Norton and Cassandra Carrillo both scored.

The Bulldogs moved to 7-0 against the Hawks. The two teams have played twice a year since 2007.

"It feels pretty good being on this side," Creek said. "I hope we keep beating them."

Central Valley's program took a major hit this season when 2009 starters Victoria Ochoa, Alyssa Meshach, Alyssa Long and Alicia Yori opted to play soccer instead of softball.

"It will change," coach Bejaran said. "I think next year, we'll have a better shot."