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Blaze, Sizzle finish first in tournament play
George Costa Blaze 10 and under
The Ceres Blaze 10-and-under travel baseball team finished in first place at the George Costa Tournament.

Two Ceres Youth Baseball teams reached the finals of their home tournament. 

The George Costa Tournament was held, July 9-11.

The Ceres Blaze 12-and-under travel squad compiled a perfect 4-0 record en route to a first-place finish.

“This was the last time for a lot of the kids to play on that field,” head coach Gerardo Hernandez said. “They dominated and defended their home turf. They did what they were supposed to do.”

The Blaze topped the Madera South County Colts 5-0 for the title on July 11.

Ceres pitcher Marcus Olivas totaled six strikeouts while tossing a complete-game shutout.

Carter Hernandez belted a 2-run homer in the bottom of the second inning.

“Our experience showed against the competition that was there,” coach Hernandez said. “The core group has been together for at least five years.”

The Blaze’s three other wins came against The Boyz of Ceres (11-0) on July 11, Dos Palos All-Stars (11-2) on July 10 and Bel Passi National League All-Stars (11-0) on July 9.

Ceres outscored its four opponents, 38-2.

The Blaze hit seven homers during the course of the tournament.

Hernandez and Adrian Vega each had two homers.

Erick Garcia, Isaias Valdovinos and Johnny Escobar all had one.

“Our pitching, offense and defense was excellent,” Gerardo Hernandez said. “You could see the focus.”

Ceres also placed first in the 14-and-under Silver Bracket of the Bel Passi All-Star Tournament.

The Ceres Blaze 10-and-under team avenged a 6-2 loss with a 23-2 mercy-rule victory over the top-seeded Central Valley Reds in the championship game on July 11 in 105-degree heat.

“We did misters,” head coach Jim Freitas said. “We were pouring water on the kids.”

The Blaze posted a team batting average of .680 in the finals.

Ceres collected 17 hits.

Mason Alexander batted 4-for-4 with six RBIs and three runs.

CJ Pando Lee batted 2-for-3 with one double, four RBIs and two runs.

Aayden Vang batted 2-for-2 with three RBIs and three runs.

Fernando Cortez batted 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs.

Luke Stiles batted 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs.

Julian Gutierrez batted 2-for-2 with one RBI and three runs.

Sebastian Freitas batted 2-for-3 with one RBI and three runs.

Giovanni Guerrero batted 1-for-1 with one double, two RBIs and one run.

Drew Vercammen collected one RBI and two runs.

DeAngelo Terra scored twice.

“All of our kids were hitting,” Freitas said. “It was contagious.”

Gutierrez started at pitcher.

He allowed just one earned run and one hit with three strikeouts.

“We saved our best pitcher for the finals,” Freitas said. “He’s our ace. He hits his spots.”

Ceres won three of its four games at the Costa tourney.

The Blaze were seeded second.

“We’ve done really well all year long,” Freitas said. 


The Ceres Sizzle 12-and-under travel softball team finished first overall at the July 10-11 NSA California Mountain Blast Tournament in Sonora.

“We’ve been struggling offensively as a team,” head coach Nikole Ferrel said. “It finally clicked that weekend. We got some good hits and put the ball in play. They were communicating a lot better.”

The Sizzle won all five of their games.

Ceres beat the Modesto Arsenal and The Crew twice, and the Cen Cal Angels once.

“Everybody helped,” Ferrel said. “It wasn’t just one individual.”

The Sizzle shut out Arsenal, 10-0, in the title game on July 11.

Ceres batted .313 from the plate as a team.

The Sizzle made no errors on defense.

Jolissa Guillory batted 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs.

Isabella Bravo batted 1-for-3 with three RBIs.

Kyliegh Robinson drove in one run and scored twice.

Valerie Espinoza chipped in with one RBI and one run.

Taylor Silva singled once and scored twice.

Makaela Brown doubled and scored once.

Alicia Espinoza tallied one run.

Brown also starred at pitcher.

She gave up no runs and just one hit with four strikeouts and no walks in four innings.

The Ceres Sizzle 10-and-under travel softball team placed second at the July 10-11 Top Gun All-Star Tournament at the Big League Dreams sports complex in Manteca.