The Ceres Sizzle 16-to-18-year-old travel softball team placed first twice during the final three weeks of the summer season.
“A lot of the girls didn’t know each other,” head coach Brian Garfield said. “That’s what hindered us in the beginning. They finally got comfortable playing together.”
The Sizzle capped off the year by winning the championship at the NSA Wounded Warrior Benefit Tournament this past weekend at Pedretti Park in Turlock.
“Our hitting came together,” Garfield said.
Ceres captured the title despite being seeded sixth for the tournament.
The Sizzle rallied for a 7-6 victory against the second-seeded Stockton Tigers in the finals on Sunday.
“I wasn’t worried,” said Garfield, whose team battled back from a 6-0 deficit. “I felt it was still within reach.”
Ceres tallied all seven of its runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Karina Pulido accounted for the winning hit.
Branda Villapando and Serenity Angeles scored on Pulido’s double.
“We had some good hits at timely moments."Head coach Brian Garfield
“We had some good hits at timely moments,” Garfield said.
Claire Noble pitched a complete game on her way to earning the victory.
Ceres defeated the top-seeded Oakdale Lady Rebels 12-7 and fourth-seeded Easton Bullets-Richardson 6-0 in bracket play on Sunday.
The Sizzle compiled a 1-1-1 record in pool play on Saturday. Ceres routed seventh-seeded CenCal Synergy 11-1 and battled to a 3-3 tie with the Lady Rebels. The Sizzle lost 4-3 to the Tigers.
Ceres showed improvement as a team during the course of the season.
The Sizzle finished first at the NSA World Series Warmup Tournament after failing to place at events in Turlock, Ripon and Sonora.
“They got way better,” Garfield said.