By John Honell, Correspondent
Tuesday’s San Gabriel Valley Senior All-Star game would have been perfect for the late Ed Bruyninckx, who enjoyed wide-open games in which everyone got a chance to play and play well. The North scored in every inning but one en route to a 21-8 win over the South.
The game was played to honor the Wilson High School coach who died suddenly last summer. Bruyninckx’s 3-year old grandson Brody Schatzman, accompanied by Bruyninckx’s widow, Joyce, threw out the first pitch. “He would have been thrilled and excited to have this game dedicated to him,” Joyce said, “but he wouldn’t have liked all the attention. He didn’t like drawing attention to himself.”
Designated hitter Courtney Gano (Bonita) and starting catcher Kelly Williams (Monrovia) led off with singles for the North. Two errors and a Auryanna Erhardt (Duarte) single gave the North a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Lauren O’Leary (La Canada), who’s signed with Georgetown, started and threw two shutout innings for the North.
“Lauren O’Leary, you gotta love her,” North co-coach Ken Carlson (Bonita) said. “She didn’t want to hit, so we (he and co-coach Randy Medina) said, OK, we’ll put Courtney there.’ (Gano) had a great year. For her to end her career at our place was an absolute blessing.”
Gano, who’s signed with Washington, had three hits, including a triple and a home run, and scored four runs for the North.
“It’s an honor to play here,” Gano said. “I’ve been here every year to support my teammates and I’m just happy to play with the best in the area.”
The North also got a good pitching performance from Monica Gomez (Sierra Vista), who pitched two shutout innings.
“I was really nervous,” Gomez said, “but I feel like I did well.”
The South, trailing 5-0, scored when Stephany La Rosa (Diamond Bar) hit a three-run homer over the center-field fence in the top of the third inning. She also had two doubles to lead the South.
“My defense was a little shaky at the start of the game,” the UCLA-bound La Rosa said. “I couldn’t let that affect my at-bat.”
After the South closed the gap to 7-6 in the third inning, the North scored six more runs in the fourth on five hits, including four doubles.
“This is a coach’s dream,” Medina said. “There is no better feeling than to have 25 girls out there that were rivals and now friends.”
Dekota Monarrez (West Covina) came in to get the South out of the inning. She pitched two solid innings and had two hits.
“I knew I was going to pitch,” Monarrez said. “I’ll be at first or third at Utah State, so getting two hits in an All-Star game feels pretty good.”