The Ceres Sizzle 10-and-under travel softball team continued its run of success this past weekend by advancing to the finals of a tournament for the eighth time.
The Sizzle won their fourth title with a first-place at the NSA Back to School Bash, staged July 31-Aug. 1, at Rainbow Fields in Modesto.
“They’ve been in the championship game every tournament they’ve played in,” head coach Sierra De Leon said.
Ceres won all five of its games at Rainbow Fields.
The Sizzle edged the Tracy Renegades, 3-2, in the finals on Aug. 1.
Courtesy runner Paige Perry broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning to secure the victory.
Perry, who entered the game after Sophia Santillan doubled to centerfield, scored all the way from second on Selah Chesney’s bunt with two outs. Ceres capitalized on a throwing error to first base.
“Overall, the whole team did their part in winning that game,” De Leon said. “It took a lot of grit. It was a back-and-forth battle. Our games usually only go four innings. Our defense didn’t let too many balls go through.”
Santillan, Ceres’ ace pitcher, allowed two runs, scattered seven hits and struck out nine batters over seven innings.
“It was an amazing performance by her,” De Leon said. “This is only her second year pitching. She’s developed so much.”
Leilani De Leon batted 2-for-3 from the plate.
Gabriella Cole had three stolen bases.
The Sizzle have accumulated 30 wins, eight losses and three ties this season.
Ceres’ roster features 12 players, including Perry, Santillan, Chesney, Cole, Leilani De Leon, Sophia Alcaraz, Bella Arias, Braelyn Avila, Briona Bravo, Maddy Morales, Olivia Sanchez and Selene Valencia.
“It’s their chemistry,” Sierra De Leon said. “This is their fourth season together. They started with t-ball. They grew up in Ceres. They go to school together. They’re a great group of little girls.”
Ceres will play in two more tournaments at the 10-and-under level.
“They’ll move up to 12u Labor Day weekend,” coach De Leon said.