Former Ceres Youth Baseball standout Cesar Alvarez has been selected by USA Baseball to represent Northern California at the 13-and-under National Team Identification Series (NTIS) in North Carolina, Aug. 8-14.
"We're extremely proud of him," said Juliza Oliveros, Cesar's mother. "He's worked really hard."
Added Alvarez: "I'm excited. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
First-round tryouts were held, June 21-23, at Manteca's Big League Dreams Park. Approximately 30 players were invited to compete in an all-star game at the University of San Francisco on July 12. Fifteen of those players were awarded roster spots on the Northern California Team, including Alvarez.
Cesar logged one inning at pitcher in San Francisco.
Alvarez tallied three strikeouts and induced two groundouts.
"It just shows how working hard pays off," he said. "I attribute a lot of my success to my coaches (NorCal Valley's Erik Jue and Mike Rivera)."
Added Oliveros: "He was really confident in his performance. He did really well."
Alvarez and Northern California will play at least three games in North Carolina.
"I have high expectations," he said. "We have a lot of good players."
Cesar will try to earn an invitation to the 13U National Team trials.
"It's a showcase to prove what you got," Alvarez said. "I just want to compete and do my best."
Cesar and Juliza will fly from Oakland to North Carolina on July 8.
"He's never competed out of state before," Oliveros said. "He's never flown before. He's excited. He's a little nervous It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I'm happy for him. Unfortunately, he's going to miss the first week of school."
Alvarez has played baseball for Modesto-based NorCal Valley for the past three years.
Cesar and the NorCal Valley 13-and-under team wrapped up the 2016 season with a first-place finish at the July 23-24 NCTB Bownet Challenge in Manteca.
Alvarez pitched a complete-game shutout against the Clovis Bears.
"This past season was our best," he said. "We won two tournaments and placed second twice. I barely started pitching two years ago. It's become second nature. I do it so much. I'm able to hit my spots and throw off batters."
Alvarez was a member of the Ceres Youth Baseball Organization from ages 5-10.
Cesar will be a freshman at Ceres High this fall.
"He's been playing for a long time," Oliveros said. "He's dedicated. He never complains. He always tries to make himself better. We want to see him succeed and reach all of his goals."