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Sizzle 12s claim Riverbank title
Ceres team compiles perfect 4-0 record
The Ceres Sizzle 12-and-under travel softball team placed first at the Riverbank Tournament last week. Back row (left to right): coaches Vince Carvajal, Jesse Mann, Jimmy Almanza and Tim Chandler. Middle row: Haylee Mann, Athena Dizney, Lina Bernal, Abigail Gonzalez, Jessica Pitts, Noreen Zarilla, Kaylee Almanza and Marie Knights. Front row: Jamie Zarilla, Lucie Bernal, Micaela Martinez, Kyliee Robinson and Madysyn Davis. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The Ceres Sizzle 12-and-under travel softball team compiled a perfect 4-0 record on its way to a first-place finish while competing in triple-digit weather at the Riverbank Tournament this past week at Castleberg Park.

"You never know what to expect with new teams," head coach Vince Carvajal said. "They exceeded what I thought was going to happen."

Marie Knights, Ceres' ace pitcher, compiled a 4-0 record with 29 strikeouts.

"She pitched the whole tournament except for one inning," Carvajal said. "She was a battler. She's so accurate and so strong. She's amazing. It's pretty crazy she's never had a lesson in her life. She's a self-taught pitcher."

Leadoff hitter Micaela Martinez and No. 2 hitter Jamie Zarilla scored a combined 15 runs.

The Sizzle routed the Escalon All-Stars 11-2 in the finals on Sunday.

The game lasted 21/2 hours and ended at 10:15 p.m.

Knights allowed two runs and five hits with nine strikeouts.

Marie collected two singles, two RBIs and one run on offense.

Martinez and Zarilla both scored twice.

Lina Bernal chipped in with one triple, one double, three RBIs and one run.

Knights totaled seven strikeouts during Ceres' 13-2 win over Modesto Fusion in the semifinals on Sunday.

The Sizzle defeated the Fusion 10-2 on Saturday.

Marie gave up no hits and struck out four batters.

Ceres shut out Escalon 3-0 on Wednesday.

Knights tossed a no-hitter.

She had nine strikeouts.

"I've been coaching for over 20 years," Carvajal said. "This is a good team. They've gelled together really quick."

Ceres will compete in the NSA Summer Classic this weekend in Elk Grove.

"We'll see some of the bigger travel teams out there," Carvajal said.