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Softball team improves to 5-2 in MMC
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Whenever the Ceres and Downey high school varsity softball teams play, the outcomes are always one-sided in favor of the Bulldogs.

On Monday, Ceres escaped with a 4-1 victory over the Knights at Ceres High School.

"The competition in league is better this year," said Ceres coach Mike Corsaut. "Every team has improved."

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 13-4-1 overall, 5-2 in the Modesto Metro Conference. The Knights fell to 1-9 overall, 0-6 in the MMC standings.

"I'm just glad we didn't overlook Downey," Corsaut said.

The Bulldogs broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. They scored four times. Monica Hall reached first on a throwing error by Downey's shortstop and moved to second on Heidi Eisenbeis' single. Hall and Eisenbeis stole third and second, respectively. Jennifer Arnold belted a two-run double over the center fielder's head. Arnold advanced to third on Jordan Nash's grounder. Downey pitcher Rebecca Quigley issued a walk to Kristen Ghimenti to load the bases. Arnold scored on Jessica Hunter's grounder. Nash scored on Crystal Goblirsch's single.

"I knew we were going to eventually score," Corsaut said.

Arnold, Ceres' starting pitcher, gave up just three hits, struck out seven and walked none. She allowed an unearned run in the top of the seventh inning.

Dawgs capitalize

The last time Ceres and Modesto High met, the Bulldogs edged the Panthers, 3-2.

Ceres cruised past Modesto 5-1 on Friday at Ceres High School.

"We put the ball in play more and took advantage of their mistakes," Corsaut said.

Modesto pitcher Amanda Pridmore walked six batters. The freshman also beaned one Bulldog. Pridmore didn't get much help from her defense either. The Panthers committed three errors.

Arnold pitched a complete game for the Bulldogs. In seven innings, she allowed just three hits and retired 11 batters by strikeout.

The Bulldogs scored two runs in the third inning.

They also tallied one run in the sixth, fifth and first.

In the third inning, Hall reached on an error, moved to second on Eisenbeis' walk and scored on Nash's grounder, which was booted by Modesto's shortstop. Heather Russell drove in Eisenbeis with a single to center field.

In the sixth inning, Ghimenti led off with a walk and went to second on Alex Overbey's single to left. Ghimenti and Overbey advanced on a passed ball. Meghan Franksen walked to load the bases. Ghimenti scored from third on Hall's sacrifice fly to left.

Ceres splits with Davis

The Bulldogs and Spartans played twice on Wednesday in Modesto.

Ceres won the second game, 5-3.

"To be able to get a split with them at their place is huge," Corsaut said. "If we would have lost, it (vying for a berth in the playoffs) would have been an uphill battle."

Arnold yielded six hits, struck out eight and walked three in leading Ceres past Davis. She also drove in two runs.

Hall, Franksen and Goblirsch were also major contributors. Hall went 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs and two RBI. Franksen doubled and scored twice. Goblirsch scored once.

The Bulldogs battled back from a 3-2 deficit in the top of the fifth inning. Ceres scored three runs off Davis relief pitcher Deandra Brown. Goblirsch singled and Franksen took first after getting hit by a pitch. Hall lined a two-run triple over the left fielder's head. Eisenbeis followed with an RBI double, scoring Hall from third.

The Spartans won the first game, 2-1. Davis broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. Lauren Clark tripled and scored on Cassandra's Ortega's sacrifice fly.

The Bulldogs left six runners on base and struck out six times. They also made four errors.

Ceres scored its lone run in the third inning. Hall scored on Russell's grounder.

Ceres will play at Johansen today and host to Beyer, the top team in the MMC, on Friday. Both games start at 3:30 p.m. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier