STOCKTON — Cherish Burks has a mindset for hitting.
In her last high school softball game for the East Union, the Lancers leadoff hitter belted two doubles in the first inning of what proved to be a laugher for East Union as the Lancers walloped Pioneer-Woodland 12-1 for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship.
Burks picked up where she left off, this time hitting out of the No. 3 hole for the South team in the 25th Annual High School All-Star Softball Classic at Delta College’s Bucky Layland Softball Complex. The Oregon-bound slugger roped a two-RBI single for the South in the first inning, but those were the only runs the South would get as the North won, 4-2.
“Hitting is just a mindset,” Burks said. “Coming up and being positive, thinking that you can do it and then having it happen.
“This was a fun experience. I am glad I got to meet new girls and to be able to play with them.”
Burks (2 for 3, double, two RBI) started the game in her usual center-field position but also played two innings at shortstop.
“That was a real fun experience,” Burks chuckled as she spoke of her two innings in the infield. “I haven’t played there since I was 10, but I still have it.”
Burks’ double tied the game at 2-2 and that score remained until the eighth inning when the North posted two more runs. Burks added a two-out single in the ninth inning and then stole second, but was left stranded as the next batter grounded out to end the game.
Burks received one of two $500 scholarships from the game’s main sponsor, the United Way of San Joaquin County.
“That was unexpected,” Burks said of her scholarship. “There were a bunch of good girls out there and anyone could have got it and it was an honor to receive it.”
In the eyes of those running the all-star game, Burks set herself apart from the rest of the players.
“The scholarship winners are selected by a vote of the two coaching staffs –both staffs vote for both teams, not just their own – and there is also a committee voting,” said Oscar Anzaldo, Chairman of the All-Star Classic. “The vote was based on their dedication to this game, from their practices and to the game and how they played in the game.”
Ripon Christian’s Brianna DeJong started at third base and went 1 for 2.
“It was great that things were as laid back as they were,” DeJong said. “We didn’t really know each other but we were just playing a game that we loved.”
DeJong’s teammate Pam Radach played considerable time at first base and was also 1 for 2.
“This was awesome,” Radach said. “We had a great season this year and today was a great culmination of it.
“It was just big grins all day.”
Ripon’s Darian Vandermaaten started and ended the game at second base and went 1 for 2. She will play for UC San Diego starting next yeaer.
“This was fun,” Vandermaaten said. “This was a great atmosphere and a great game.
“I have played with a lot of these people, but some of them I have just seen in travel ball so it was cool to be able to finally play with them.”