STOCKTON — Five Manteca area softball players and two local coaches were part of the winning South softball squad Friday in the 24th Annual High School All-Star Baseball/Softball Classic at Pacific’s Bill Simoni Field.
There were 14 hits in the contest which was pre-ordained to go 10 innings, but only once did a team get two hits in the same inning in the South’s 2-1 victory.
Kimball’s Llesenia Torres had big plays on both offense and defense for the South. She tripled in the game’s first run in the sixth inning and scored when Jaguars teammate Danielle Llalos hit a sacrifice fly to center, accounting for both South runs. Torres helped stop a North threat before it could get started when she fielded a line drive with one out in the first and doubled off the runner on first, ending the frame.
Ripon coach Rob Vernon was pleased to get to coach three Indians, including his daughter.
“I have been really looking forward to this,” Vernon said. “We have three girls from Ripon to include my daughter and this is pretty special.”
Taylor Vernon played the first three innings at first base and returned to play third.
“I have played for my dad since I was 9 years old,” Taylor Vernon said. “It’s great and I know it means a lot to him to coach this game and it is kind of a bittersweet moment for me because it is the last game he will coach me.”
Mackenzie Gauden pitched the seventh and eighth innings, and was victimized by an eighth-inning error to give the North runners at first and second with no out. Gauden struck out two of the next three batters to keep the North off the board in the inning.
“It was like pitching to everyone’s 3-4-5 hitters,” Gauden said.
Of her jam Gauden said, “You just have to take it one pitch at a time and trust your defense to get you out of it.”
Joining Gauden and Taylor Vernon was teammate Tiana Chacon who played left field.
“This was something,” Chacon said. “It was great to play with all the good girls I have played against.”
East Union third baseman Jordan Vinson got the starting nod, but not at third. For the first time in her career, she played second base and later catcher.
“I have never played that side of the field,” Vinson said of second base. “It is much different. It is really cool to be able to do something completely different than what I am used to.
“This is so much fun because you get to play with other girls that you have always played against for your entire four years of high school.”
Vinson’s coach Brian Goulart appreciated the effort the South squad put forth.
“I would love to coach this team on a regular basis,” Goulart said. “Practices have been so much fun. They have been diving for balls and doing back-door picks – it has just been ridiculous. That’s why they are all stars.”
Following a stellar career at Weston Ranch, Arianna Hernandez played third for the South the last three innings.
“It was a good game,” Hernandez said. “Our team worked hard and we got the two runs we needed.”