The Ceres Sizzle 10-and-under travel softball team gained valuable experience while participating in the ultra-competitive USSSA Queen of Diamonds Tournament this past weekend at Pedretti Park in Turlock.
“I’m not upset,” head coach Nicole Ferrel said. “We played against teams that play year-round. Our team has been together for seven weeks. The goal going into the tournament was to score some runs and make some plays, defensively, against big-name teams. We held our own.”
Fifth-seeded Ceres compiled a 2-5 record en route to a third-place finish.
The Sizzle won two of four games on Sunday.
Ceres defeated the top-seeded Stockton Dynasty (10-5) and fourth-seeded Porterville Hotshots (11-3).
The Sizzle lost to the Dynasty (9-4) and second-seeded Clovis Grapettes (10-2).
“They definitely exceeded my expectations for day two,” Ferrel said. “They wanted it more. You could tell in the way they were playing. They weren’t as nervous. They stayed positive. They kept trying and never quit. They believed in themselves.”
The Sizzle lost 10-1 to the Hotshots, 6-4 to the Grapettes and 15-6 to Dynasty on Saturday.
“It was a new experience for the girls playing against tougher competition,” Ferrel said. “It was a reality check. They let their nerves get to them.”
The Sizzle played seven games in two days at the Queen of Diamonds Tournament.
Ceres competed at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. on Sunday.
“We do our best to keep our girls cool,” Ferrel said. “They put cold rags around their necks. They drink water and Gatorade. We have a mister in the dugout. Their health is more important than wins.”
Ceres improved its overall record to 21-7.
The Sizzle took first in Ceres, Oakdale and Riverbank, and third in Turlock and Newman.
Ceres will play in an NSA Tournament, Aug. 4-5, at Rainbow Fields.
“The girls are starting to understand the game more,” she said. “I’m really proud of them.”
“We have great coaches that work well together,” Ferrel added. “They give something different to the team.”