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Valley All-Stars finish first
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With pitchers Brett Arnold, Vince Wheeland and Chris Brown leading the way, the Ceres 12-and-under Valley All-Stars finished first with a 5-0-1 record at the Waterford Tournament, held at Beard Park, July 5-11.

"For missing two key players in that tournament, they did pretty good," said Ceres coach Jeff Brown.

The All-Stars improved to 16-5-1. They've placed in the top three in three tournaments this summer, including first in Waterford (5-0-1), second in Empire (5-1) and third in Turlock (4-2).

"The kids have been playing together for a number of years now," Brown said. "They play really well together."

The Valley All-Stars overcame a 3-2 deficit and defeated the Ceres Grey All-Stars 7-3 in the championship game on July 11.

"They enjoyed it," Brown said.

The Grey All-Stars stranded two runners on base in the top of the sixth inning. Brown struck out the last two batters to end the game for the Valley All-Stars.

The Valley All-Stars advanced to the title game after edging Oakdale Red 8-6 on July 11.

They also beat Oakdale Red 15-1 on July 10, tied Ceres Red 1-1 on July 10, routed Waterford 22-2 on July 9 and defeated Ceres Grey 7-2 on July 8he Emmorton Eagles 16-5 and Towamencin Stingers 15-0 on Sunday, July 18, Wheat Ridge Warriors 11-0 and Carolina Pilots 11-7 on Monday, July 19, Texas Outlaws 8-0 and Homer Heat 17-2 on Tuesday, July 20 and Missouri White Sox 12-0 on Wednesday July 21.

Gomez slept in dorms at the ball park.

He also toured the city.

"I enjoyed going to the Hall of Fame and playing against other teams from different states," he said.

Gomez visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

"I saw Hank Aaron's 714th home run bat and Babe Ruth's autographed jersey," he said.

Gomez joined the Bobcats in February.

He played in three tournaments, including 18 games.

Merced County compiled a 13-5 record with Gomez in the lineup.

"When we added him to our club in Clovis, I liked him within the first five minutes of meeting him," Souza said.

"He always has a smile on his face. He plays hard. He'll do what you ask him to do. As a coach that's what you love to see."

Gomez is also a member of two other 12-and-under competitive teams, including the Ceres Valley All-Stars and Central Valley Sun Devils.

He suited up for the Ceres Indians during the Ceres Youth Baseball organization's regular season. His team lost just once en route to finishing first in its division.

Gomez started playing baseball in Ceres when he was four. His mother signed him up for t-ball.

"I've known Martin since he was seven," said Jeff Brown, coach of the Valley All-Stars and Sun Devils. "He's been with me for four years. He's always been one of the top players."

Gomez doesn't mind practicing two-to-three times per week and/or playing in several tournaments every month.

"I'm going to keep on playing," Gomez said. "It's just something to do. It's fun."

Gomez and the Valley All-Stars concluded their season with a third-place finish at the Monterey Aldrete Baseball Tournament this past weekend.

The Sun Devils open their season on Aug. 21. They'll compete in the Super-Series Baseball of America Winter National Championships in Arizona in December.

"We won it last year," Gomez said.

Souza wants to add Gomez to his roster in the near future.

"He's going to be playing the fall season with Jeff Brown," Souza said. "After that season's over, I don't know what's going to happen. We just hope he stays with us because we're going to stay together as a 13-and-under team." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier