The Ceres Sizzle 12-and-under travel softball team lost two of three games en route to earning the fourth seed for its home tournament.
“I tried new things and it didn’t pan out,” head coach Audel Valencia said. “It worried me a little bit.”
The Sizzle bounced back in a big way by taking first place at the Sizzle Summer Classic earlier this month at the George Costa Ball Field Complex in Ceres.
"The crazy thing is we had a limited week of practice because of the Fourth of July."Coach Audel Valencia
“They deserved it,” Valencia said. “They put in all the work. The crazy thing is we had a limited week of practice because of the Fourth of July.”
Ceres compiled a perfect 3-0 record during championship play at its home tourney.
“Last year, we got a little experience and roughed up when our 10-and-under team played in the 12u bracket,” Valencia said. “This year, it was more equal.”
The Sizzle collected victories against the Calaveras Rampage (11-5), previously-unbeaten Modesto Fusion (9-5) and Modesto Red Shield (4-1) on July 8.
“I put all the pieces where they normally go and it worked out for us,” Valencia said.
Ceres topped Calaveras in the finals.
The Sizzle avenged a one-run loss.
Jannet Valencia’s two-run, inside-the-park homer extended Ceres’ lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the third inning.
“We came in with more momentum,” coach Valencia said. “We have a reputation of doing this on Sundays. The girls seem to want it more. They don’t want to go home.”
The Sizzle beat Red Shield (10-4) on July 6, and lost to Calaveras (4-3) and Newman (17-9) on July 7 in pool play.
Ceres lost three of four games while finishing in fifth place at the Riverbank Tournament several weeks earlier.
“We expected to do well at home,” coach Valencia said. “The girls are really comfortable playing here. Chemistry was very important. They trusted each other.”