TUCSON — Seven athletes from Pinal County participated in two Southern Arizona All-Star Softball games Wednesday night at Sports Park Tucson.
Florence had one representative in Alixis Padilla. Coolidge and Vista Grande each had three seniors along with head coaches Dan Aleman and Rudy Valenzuela.
This was Valenzuela’s second time being selected to coach an All-Star team, the first time was in 2019.
“I enjoyed it,” he said. “It was great doing it for the girls, I know a lot of these girls from the other schools. They selected the best of the best, and I enjoyed coaching them. That’s the one thing that I like about all of this is that they’re all friends, even though they’re coming from different schools it’s like they’ve known each other, it’s great.”
Padilla was the only Pinal County athlete to compete by herself on the Kino Black 1 team.
Over her three-year career with the Gophers, Padilla batted .384 with a .453 on base percentage and a .609 slugging percentage. She also had a .820 fielding percentage at shortstop.
The other game featured Valenzuela and Aleman on the same coaching staff for the Kino Black 2 team as well as Rheana Ortiz and Precious Skinner from the Bears, and Brooklyn Flores and Amyah Boostedt from the Spartans.
Ortiz and Skinner played together for the Bears since they were freshmen. Ortiz played multiple positions at Coolidge as a utility player and during Wednesday’s game she settled in behind the plate.
Her career stat line of .428/.477/.618 provided a solid boost offensively for the Bears and she had an equally impressive .965 fielding percentage.
Skinner showed a lot of improvement throughout her career after hitting .128 her freshman year, she finished this season with a .312 batting average.
In the opposite dugout on the other side of the field on Wednesday were Megan Fahnholtz and Bri Jorgensen who were part of the Kino Gold 4 team.
While there was no official score, Fahnholtz and Jorgensen’s team scored four runs while their opponent never crossed the plate.
Jorgensen also had the upper hand against her Vista Grande teammates in the second inning.
Boostedt reached base on an error but was called out at second when the next batter hit a grounder. Jorgensen was the second baseman who caught the ball and afterwards Boostedt gave her a friendly shove.
Valenzuela was heard yelling at Jorgensen that she was supposed to drop the ball because the runner was her teammate.
“Brooklyn told me too, ‘Tell Bri to drop the ball,’” Boostedt said. “I knew something was going to happen so I slid in and she caught it, so I just pushed her and said drop it next time.”
Flores then ended the inning with a with a line drive hit right at Jorgensen.
“Honestly, I didn’t even realize it was them,” Jorgensen said. “When Amyah pushed me, I was like what the (heck), like who is this and then I was like oh, it’s Amyah. Then when I caught Brooklyn’s ball, I didn’t realize it was her until I was running back.”