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Smith leads Bulldogs past WR
Matt Smith's prediction came true.

"Yesterday at practice, I told everybody I was going to hit one out," Ceres High's varsity baseball centerfielder said.

The senior slugger homered, doubled and singled to help the Bulldogs beat Weston Ranch 11-10 in Valley Oak League play on Friday at Art McRae Field.

"Matt did an excellent job," Bulldogs co-coach Julio Marquez said. "He's been working his butt off at practice."

"It was my first homer at the varsity level," Smith said. "It felt real good. I was just happy I could get a few base hits for my team."

Matt nearly hit for the cycle for Ceres High, which improved to 2-2 in the VOL following its two-game sweep of Weston Ranch.

"We have high standards for our team," Smith said "We want to make the playoffs."

"It was a big week for us," Marquez said. "We're still in playoff contention."

Smith connected for his first homer, a drive that cleared the left-center field wall in the fourth inning.

"I knew as soon as I hit it," he said.

Matt collected a two-run double to right field in the second inning and singled through the left side of Weston Ranch's infield in the sixth.

Ceres High totaled eight hits off Weston Ranch ace Chris Fleckenstein. The Bulldogs also took advantage of five Cougar errors.

"Our hitters kept us in it and our pitchers were up and down," Marquez said.

Ceres High starter Tyler Cummings gave up five runs and seven hits in four innings. The right-handed freshman struck out four, walked three and beaned three.

Junior James Chesney worked the fifth and sixth innings. He relieved Cummings with the bases loaded and no outs. The right-handed junior yielded four runs-three earned-and two hits. Chesney fanned two and walked four, including three straight before exiting the game in the seventh.

Jonathon Alonzo, Wednesday's winning pitcher, replaced Chesney. The right-handed junior faced a base-loaded, no-out situation. He picked up the save, allowing four runs, including two earned, and four hits. Alonzo tallied back-to-back strikeouts to end the game. The Cougars stranded the tying and winning runs at third and second base.

"They got us nervous for a little bit," said Marquez, whose team made the game interesting by surrendering four runs in the final inning.

"We're a lot better team than this," Smith said. "We came into the game way too confident. We just got a lot to work on at practice, starting with base running."

The Bulldogs had three runners picked off at first against the Cougars.

Alonzo had eight strikeouts over seven innings during Ceres High's 13-8 win over host Weston Ranch in the series opener on Wednesday.

Martino Bertolotti batted 4-for-4 from the plate with a triple, two stolen bases, three runs and five RBIs.

Ceres High will play at Sonora on Wednesday and host the Wildcats on Friday with game times scheduled for 4 p.m.