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Blaze 12s make baseball history in Irvine
Ceres travel team posts 6-0 record at elite tourney
The Ceres Blaze 12-and-under travel baseball team won all six of its game en route to finishing in first place at the Irvine Pony Memorial Day Invitational this past month. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The Ceres Blaze accomplished a first in program history this past month.

The Blaze 12-and-under travel baseball team finished in first place at the May 26-29 Irvine Pony Memorial Day Invitational.

Ceres took second in 2016 and advanced to the semifinals in 2015.

"This is the third year the Blaze organization has gone down there," Blaze 12s head coach Antone Lopez said. "No team has won it. We've improved every year."

Ceres posted a perfect 6-0 record in the A flight and improved to 21-6 this spring.

The Blaze have placed first three times and second once.

"By far, this is the best team I've ever coached," Lopez said. "Talent-wise, it's not even close. We're kind of like the Warriors. It's going to be hard to stop us."

Ceres outscored its six opponents, 57-18, at the Irvine tournament.

The Blaze belted 17 home runs.

Josh Prestridge batted .667 with four homers and 12 RBIs.

Aiden Taylor batted .632 with six homers and 10 RBIs.

Titus Wheelock batted .579 with four homers and eight RBIs.

Javier Guerrero batted .579 with two homers and 12 runs scored.

Gabrial Lopez batted .579 with one homer.

"Our offense was unreal," coach Lopez said. "We had five different kids hit home runs. Our pitching was just as good."

Lopez compiled a 3-0 record with a 2.57 ERA, 18 strikeouts and just four walks at pitcher.

Guerrero, Jadon Aguilar and Ryan Estermann also collected wins on the mound.

Ceres routed defending Pony World Series Champion Placentia 14-5 in the championship game.

Wheelock belted two home runs.

Taylor and Prestridge both homered.

Lopez starred at pitcher.

He totaled four strikeouts in four innings.

Ceres lost 10-1 to Placentia in 11-and-under finals of the Irvine Pony Memorial Day Invitational a year ago.

"Same kids," Antone Lopez said. "Same coaches. They weren't expecting us to do that. Nobody has done that to them in a long time."

The Blaze posted a 13-4 win over Saddleback of Lake Forrest in the semifinals.

Prestridge led the way on offense with two homers.

Wheelock hit one homer.

Guerrero was the winning pitcher.

Javier had two strikeouts in four innings.

Ceres also collected victories against Armed & Dangerous of Hawaii (8-2), Olive Pony of Orange County (8-5), Irvine All-Stars (6-1) and Sidewinders of Ridgecrest (8-1).

"It was an international tournament," coach Lopez said. "There were teams from everywhere. None of our games were really close. That was a surprise."

The Blaze will play in the Battle of Omaha during the College World Series, June, 15-18.

Ceres will compete against teams from Omaha, Texas and Kansas.

"It's one of the bigger tournaments in the country," coach Lopez said. "We'll be right there at the end. I wouldn't be surprised if we make the semifinals. We're going to go up there and do well."