The Ceres Blaze 11-year-old travel baseball team placed third at the Pony Baseball West Zone-NorCal Bronco Super Region Tournament, staged July 13-18, at Bel Passi Fields in Modesto.
"It was a good experience," head coach Antone Lopez said. "We placed third. The top two teams advanced to Zone, which is one step away from the World Series. We were right there."
Ceres compiled a 2-2 record at the eight-team double-elimination tournament.
The Blaze edged San Francisco Youth Baseball 10-7 on July 16 and Fremont 12-9 on July 13.
Ceres lost 13-7 to Bel Passi and 11-7 to Fremont on July 17.
"We had been playing so well," Lopez said. "We just had a bad day. We played a little tight. Everything was magnified."
The Blaze suffered back-to-back losses.
Fremont topped Ceres in the semifinals.
"We got the talent to play with anybody," Lopez said. "We beat the team that eliminated us earlier in the tournament. There's nothing to be disappointed about. This is the farthest we've ever been. It's a success."
The Blaze have won five tournaments, placed second three times and finished third twice this season.
"We never finished lower than third," Lopez said. "A lot of the kids stepped up. We've improved every year. We're moving in the right direction."
Ceres will compete for the final time in the 11-year-old division this weekend in Sacramento.
The NCTB Last Chance Showdown tournament will be staged at the Mather Sports Center.
"We're going to have some fun," Lopez said. "There's no pressure."
The Blaze will start competing at the 12-and-under level this fall.
"We got a good group of kids," Lopez said. "Most of the kids are returning. We won't have too much turnover. We're going to be better."