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Blaze 11s first in Ceres
A total of seven CYB teams compete at home tournament
Isaac Cordova waits for a pitch during the Ceres Blaze 12-and-under travel baseball teams loss to Atwater in the semifinal round of the Costa tournament. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Seven Ceres Youth Baseball teams competed at their home tournament.

The 46th Annual George Costa Invitational was held, June 25 to July 1.

Ceres teams played a combined 37 games in a seven-day span.

The Ceres Blaze 11-and-under travel squad finished in first place.

Ceres compiled a perfect 5-0 record.

"It's always nice to win at home," head coach Antone Lopez said.

Middle infielder Ryan Estermann was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

Estermann batted over .800 from the plate with one home run. He posted a 2-0 record at pitcher.

The Blaze 11s edged Atwater 9-8 in the championship game on July 1.

Ceres overcame a 5-0 deficit. Estermann accounted for the winning run on Gabrial Lopez's bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The game featured multiple ties and lead changes.

"They were bigger and stronger," Antone Lopez said. "We were faster and more athletic. We're playing against older kids. Most of my players are entering junior high next year. We're scrappy."

The Blaze have won five tournaments, placed second three times and finished third once this season.

"We have 12 solid players," Antone Lopez said. "They're pretty close to equal in talent. The kids have played together for a long time. We've gotten better every year."

The Blaze 12s (3-1) and Ceres All-Stars (3-2) were beaten by Atwater and Blaze 11s, respectively, in the semifinals.

The Ceres Blaze 10-and-under travel team posted a 5-2 record en-route to a runner-up finish.

Ceres lost to the Modesto Flyers in the finals on July 1.
The Ceres All-Stars (1-4) lost to Hilmar in the quarterfinals on June 29.

The Ceres 8-and-under All-Stars (3-3) lost to Bel Passi in the semifinals on June 30.

The Ceres 7-8-year-old All-Stars (2-3) lost to Hilmar in the quarterfinals on June 29.