The Ceres Blaze 10-and-under travel baseball team closed out the 2022 season with a memorable showing earlier this month in Ripon.
The Blaze placed first in a field of nine while competing at the TPR Dog Days of Summer Tournament, Aug. 13-14, at the Mistlin Sports Park.
“That was our last tournament at 10U,” Coach David Rubio said. “We were definitely the favorite going into it and expected to win. We’ve beaten most of the teams before.”
Ceres compiled a perfect 4-0 record.
Chase Matulis was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
“He got it for his overall play,” Rubio said.
The first-seeded Blaze topped second-seeded Extreme Baseball of Concord 12-4 in the championship game on Aug. 14.
Jionni Lawrence was the winning pitcher.
“It was very competitive early on,” Rubio said. “They’re a well-coached team. They have good players. Our advantage was our hitting. Our bats just took over.”
Ceres bested Head for Success Future Stars of Tracy 10-2 in the semifinals on Aug. 14.
Brayden Toste was the winning pitcher.
The Blaze allowed just one run en route to winning both of their games in pool play on Aug. 13.
Ceres cruised to a 21-0 victory versus Catch All Baseball.
The Blaze earned a hard-fought 3-1 win while battling Backyard Baseball in the first round.
“It was our closest game there,” Rubio said.
Rubio relied on all eight of his pitchers during the first day of the tournament.
“That was the strategy,” he said. “I had all my pitchers available on Sunday.”
Ceres amassed a 23-7 record this year.
The Blaze won nine of their final 10 games.
Ceres advanced to the Pony West Zone Tournament, where it lost a pair of games by a combined three runs.
The Blaze finished in first place at the Pony Super Regional Tournament July 12-18 at Costa Fields.
Ceres won the Firework Frenzy title June 25-26 in Ripon.
The Blaze took second at a tournament in Irvine.
Ceres (11-4) had the second-best record during the TPR spring season.
“For this age group, they were very smart. They were really coachable. It was a fun group to coach.”Coach David Rubio
“For this age group, they were very smart,” Rubio said. “They were really coachable. It was a fun group to coach.”
The Blaze were coached by Rubio, Wes Stamper, Lino Toste and Sammy Huerta.
Ceres’ roster consisted of 15 players: Matulis, Lawrence, Brayden Toste, Christian Rubio, Lorenzo Beltran, Liam Stamper, Colton Mahaney, Dominic Rojas, Easton Harman, Elijah Sosa, Gio Garibay, Jose Valenzuela, Leon Huerta, Myles Guernsey and Vander Stice.
“We want to keep these kids together as long as possible,” David Rubio said. “I’ve been coaching these boys since they were six. It’s a special group.”
The Blaze will compete at the 11-and-under level this fall.
Ceres will open the season at an Elk Grove event on Sept. 10.
“We have four more tournaments in the fall,” coach Rubio said. “We’ll see where we stack up.”