By John Honell
WALNUT – The seventh annual San Gabriel Valley Tribune All-Star Game was an easy win for the North, which jumped on top early and coasted 10-1 on Sunday night at Mt. San Antonio College.
The victory gave the North a 4-3 lead in the series.
Coach Ken Carlson (Bonita High School) filled out his lineup card with four players – Danielle Marvidis, Danielle O’Toole, Laura Swan and Brandi Harkness – from CIF-Southern Section Division 3 semifinalist St. Lucy’s at the top of the order.
“I wanted to stay with some continuity,” Carlson said. “These kids are used to playing with each other and St. Lucy’s has the largest representation of senior all-stars.”
Marvidis led off the game with a single. After a forceout, Swan tripled to drive in the first run and Harkness followed with a double to give the North a 2-0 lead.
“I wanted them to be on the field at the same time. Plus, they’re very good,” Carlson joked. “They have sure made me look good.”
O’Toole started in the circle for the North and pitched four shutout innings. She also doubled in the fourth inning and stole third.
“This is really sad,” O’Toole said. “It’s my last game with my best friends. I’m trying to just play and have fun.”
The South’s only run came in the bottom of the eighth when Taylor Castro (West Covina) hit a home run over the center-field fence.
Castro didn’t arrive at the ballpark until the seventh inning because of prior commitments.
“I played three travel ball games today,” she said. “I was a little late and a little nervous but felt I had to come through because we were down.”
The South was missing six players at the start of the game. Four of them showed up to play the final two innings.
“We were hoping to have a better showing,” South coach Scott Fisch (South Hills) said. “The hardest part of coaching an all-star team is making sure everyone gets playing time. The kids are great and will play different positions, hit in different orders or do whatever you ask. We had four-five that showed up at the end so that changed some things but we tried to keep them all happy.”
The North scored three more runs in the third inning. With two outs, Harkness walked. Brandi Wilson (Glendora) tripled off the fence to drive in Wilson. Denise Gonzales (Alhambra) then homered to center for a 5-0 lead.
Gonzales hit four home runs during the regular season.
“That felt great,” Gonzales said. “I’ve played travel ball but never with any of these girls, so hitting that home run was amazing.”
O’Toole doubled in Monique Villasenior (Charter Oak) and Taylor Langdon (Glendora) in the fourth inning for a 7-0 lead.
“That could be my last at-bat ever,” she said. “The chances of me hitting in college (San Diego State) are slim so I just went for it and I got it.”
Jennipher Solis (Los Altos)started in the circle for the South. She had a 14-3 regular-season record and led the Conquerors to the Hacienda League title.
“It’s been a fun year,” Solis said. “We felt like we were underdogs in league so that gave us some incentive to win. I was a little tired tonight because I had a travel ball game earlier, but this was a great experience.”
South catcher Britney Rodriguez (South Hills), who gave a verbal commitment to UCLA her freshman year and signed last November, is eager to try the next level.
“This was a fun game but I’m ready to move on,” Rodriguez said. “I had always liked UCLA and I went to a tournament as a freshman. They told me that if I kept up my grades and kept playing the way I was, they’d give me a scholarship.”
Portrait of winning North Squad
HEAD COACH: Ken Carlson, Bonita
Taylor Langdon, Glendora, P
Brandi Wilson, Glendora, OF
Suzette Ortega, Northview, 1B
Emily Lewison, Northview, C
Danielle O’Toole, St. Lucy’s, P
Brandi Harkness, St. Lucy’s, 3B
Danielle Mavridis, St. Lucy’s, 2B
Laura Swan, St. Lucy’s, SS
Danielle Smith, Bonita, OF
Kayla Papez, Charter Oak, INF
Monique Villasenor, Charter Oak, C
Jasmine Navarette, Baldwin Park, INF
Audrey Serna, Arroyo, 3B
Denise Gonzales, Alhambra, P/SS
Sami Jakeway, Temple City, C
Lauren Alvarado, Gabrielino, OF
Marissa Chavez, Azusa, P
Candice Orozco, Covina, OF
Julia Lupercio, San Dimas, 3B
Kaysie Gatlin, Duarte, P
Mikayla Tickey, Duarte, INF
Nikki Guzman, Monrovia, 3B
Stephanie Garcia, Monrovia, SS
HEAD COACH: Scott Fisch-South Hills
Britney Rodriguez, South Hills, C
Kristen Stewart, South Hills, SS
Liz Mendoza, El Monte, SS
Cassie Padilla, Bishop Amat, SS
Alashanee Medina, Keppel, P
Elaine Brown, Walnut, OF
Alana Orona, Diamond Ranch, 1B
Liz Ruvalcaba, Diamond Bar, C
Tillie Ramirez, Wilson, C/3B
Ania Levanos, Wilson, P/1B
Jessica River, Schurr, CF
Valerie Aguilar, Montebello, C
Lauren Cox, La Canada, P
Catherine Homer, La Canada, C
Jennipher Solis, Los Altos, P
Mariah Midyette, Los Altos, OF
Alyssa Villalpando, Los Altos, C
Summer Knight, West Covina, SS
Alex Blaco, West Covina, OF
Taylor Castro, West Covina, 3B
Amida Ordorica, Nogales, P
Marissa Recillas, Nogales, C
Demi Nguyen, South El Monte, INF