The Ceres Sizzle 14-and-under travel softball team overcame a sluggish start en route to finishing in first place at the AST Queen of the Hill Tournament, Sept. 3-4, at the Sacramento Sports Complex.
“I’m very happy they were able to have a good outcome after having such a bad start,” head coach Nikole Ferrel said. “I knew they’d do better. It was our first tournament since the World Series. We took three weeks off. They needed to get their timing down.”
The fifth-seeded Sizzle amassed a 3-3 record.
Bella Bravo was crowned the Home Run Champion in the 14U age bracket.
She had seven homers.
“The winner gets a new bat,” Ferrel said.
Des Sorci, Makaela Brown and Selina Luiz all contributed at pitcher.
“They did a really good job,” Ferrel said.
The Sizzle went 3-0 in the Silver Bracket.
Ceres competed shorthanded as catcher Kyleigh Robinson didn’t play because she was sick.
Bravo, who usually starts at first base, filled in for Robinson.
“She did what was needed for the team,” Ferrel said.
The Sizzle held on for a 9-5 victory against the Bombers in the championship game on Sept. 4.
“We put up seven runs in the first inning,” Ferrel said. “We had a good lead.”
Ceres collected nine hits during the finals.
Sorci batted 1-for-2 with two RBIs and one run.
Brown batted 2-for-2 with one RBI and two runs.
Gaby Ortiz batted 1-for-3 with one double, one RBI and two runs.
Tatiana Ortiz batted 1-for-2 with one RBI and one run.
Nat Corella batted 1-for-1 with one run.
Amaia Ferrel batted 1-for-2 with one run.
Bravo doubled and singled.
Ceres cruised to a 6-1 win over the Oakdale Heat in the semifinals on Sept. 4.
Bravo batted 2-for-3 with one homer, one triple, two RBIs and one run.
Gaby Ortiz batted 1-for-2 with one homer, one RBI and two runs.
Corella batted 2-for-3 with one RBI, one run and three stolen bases.
Ferrel batted 1-for-2 with one RBI and one run.
Luiz batted 1-for-1 with one RBI.
Tatiana Ortiz chipped in with one double and one stolen base.
The Sizzle edged the Tigers 3-1 in the quarterfinals on Sept. 4.
The temperature climbed to as high as 104 degrees during the second day of the tournament.
“We made sure the girls were hydrated,” Nikole Ferrel said. “We had a mister in the dugout and cooling towels for their necks. We had them run through the sprinklers between games.”
Ceres dropped all three of its games in pool play on Sept. 3.
The Sizzle lost to the Dirtdogs (6-4), CenCal Angels (6-5) and Grapettes-Davis (9-0).
“They improved throughout the tournament,” coach Ferrel said. “Our communication got a lot better. Our bats were productive. We made minimal mistakes on defense.”
The fences were moved from 200 feet to 170 feet for the Queen of the Hill event.
“It’s a cool tournament,” Nikole Ferrel said. “The girls are able to hit more home runs.”
The Ceres Sizzle 12-and-under travel softball team placed first while competing at the NSA Rainbow Fields Labor Day Weekend Tournament.
“We signed up for the tournament to get some practice in for the PGF fall season,” head coach Sierra De Leon said. “We wanted to see where we’re at and what we need to work on. Our girls definitely surpassed our expectations.”
The Sizzle won all five of their games.
Ceres batted .667 from the plate as a team at the tournament.
Sophia “Buster” Santillan, Gabriella Cole and Samantha Alcarez totaled 26, 15 and six strikeouts, respectively, at pitcher.
Maddy Morales contributed at catcher. She previously played first base.
“Our pitching was our strong suit,” De Leon said. “Our defense was lights out. They all hit well on Sunday when it counted.”
The Sizzle posted a 2-0 record in bracket play on Sept. 4.
Top-seeded Ceres bested the third-seeded Stockton Savages 5-1 in the title game on Sept. 4.
Cole allowed just three hits and tallied seven strikeouts.
“She controls the mound when she’s pitching and her teammates back her up,” De Leon said.
Leilani De Leon led the Sizzle with one double, two singles, two RBIs and two runs.
Santillan tripled, singled and scored twice.
Selah Chesney chipped in with one double and one run.
“They did awesome,” coach De Leon said. “Their chemistry as a whole was on point.”
The Sizzle defeated fourth-seeded Central Valley Liberty 7-1 in the semifinals.
Santillan gave up one run and five hits with eight strikeouts.
Ceres secured the top seed after winning all three of its games in pool play.
The Sizzle topped the Central Valley Liberty (5-3), Westside Bullets-Lopez (13-0) and Savages (6-2) on Sept. 3.
The Labor Day Classic was staged in triple-digit weather.
“The girls played with the same intensity throughout the tournament even though it was hot,” Sierra De Leon said.
Ceres’ roster consists of 12 players: Santillan, Cole, De Leon, Morales, Chesney, Sami Alcaraz, Sophia Alcaraz, Braelyn Avila, Kiana Haro, Olivia Sanchez, Paige Perry and Selene Valencia.
“Most of the girls have been playing together since Sizzle 8U,” coach De Leon said. “They’ve been together for a long time. It’s been fun to watch them grow over the years.”
The Sizzle will play in six PGF tournaments this fall.
Ceres will compete at the Show Me The Money Tournament, Sept. 23-24, in Stockton.