The Ceres Blaze 12-and-under travel baseball team had to settle for being second-best while competing at the 2017 Pony Baseball West Zone-NorCal Northeast Bronco Regional Tournament, July 5-10, at Bel Passi Fields in Modesto.
"I'm not disappointed," head coach Antone Lopez said. "The goal was to advance to the next round (Super Regionals). We survived and are still playing."
The Blaze posted a 3-2 record at the eight-team double-elimination Regional tourney.
t twice to eventual-champion Sierra Valley.
"We should have won the first game," Lopez said. "They outplayed us the second game. It's like playing a mirror of ourselves. It's really evenly-matched. The one thing they're doing better than us is they're not making mistakes."
Sierra Valley topped Ceres 14-9 in the finals on July 10.
The Blaze needed to beat Sierra Valley twice to claim the championship.
"They kept one-upping us every inning," Lopez said. "They outlasted us."
Ceres avoided elimination by beating Vacaville 18-7 on July 9.
Ceres lost 13-12 to Sierra Valley in extra innings on July 9.
Sierra Valley erased a 7-1 deficit.
"We have just as much talent as they do," Lopez said. "We've beat them before. We split with them in Ceres earlier this year. We just have to get over that mental block."
The Blaze turned in dominant performances during their first two games.
Ceres defeated Vacaville 13-1 on July 8 and Rocklin Black 15-0 on July 5.
The Blaze have posted a 33-8 overall record since February.
The Super Regional tournament got underway on July 13 and ends today.