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Travel ball teammates face off in high school
Kaycee Creek, Ryan Norton, Taiylor Sakurada, Vicky Ochoa, Alyssa Meshach and Jessica Berndt helped lead the Ceres-based Tri-County Smash 14-and-under competitive softball program to its first-ever USA/ASA Class A Fast Pitch National Tournament appearance last summer.

The six players donned different uniforms when their respective high-school teams battled for bragging rights.

Creek, Sakurada, Norton and Ceres High posted an 8-6 home victory over Ochoa, Meshach, Berndt and Central Valley on Wednesday, April 8.

"It's fun to watch girls that I'll coach in a couple of months," said Donnie Donaldson, who also doubles as Tri-County's head coach. "They've been hitting the ball really well, which is exciting for me for travel ball."

Vicky, a sophomore pitcher, allowed eight runs (three earned) and six hits in four innings with four strikeouts, eight walks and one hit batsman.

Kaycee, Ceres High's ace, notched her third league victory. The right-handed freshman gave up five hits and tallied nine strikeouts in seven innings.

Norton, Creek and Sakurada went a combined 3-for-10 from the plate.

Ryan collected a single and walked twice.

Kaycee and Taiylor both singled and scored once.

Meshach, Ochoa and Berndt finished 3-for-11 on offense.

Alyssa doubled twice, scored once and knocked in four runs.

Vicky tallied a double, a stolen base, a run and an RBI.

Jessica went hitless in four at-bats.

Central Valley stunned Ceres High by scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Meshach and Ochoa smacked RBI doubles to left-center and right-center, respectively. Vicky also scored a run.

The Hawks totaled just five runs during their previous four meetings against the Bulldogs.

"I was nervous because they know how I pitch," Creek said. "They did good."

"It was really fun," Vicky said. "I was expecting to win."

Ceres High will travel to Central Valley for the rematch on May 8.

Creek, Norton, Sakurada, Ochoa, Meshach and Berndt will reunite this summer for another season of travel ball.

"We're all Ceres," Donaldson said. "We know what each other is doing. That's the fun part."

Added Vicky: "We all joke around with each other."