Two athletes from the city of Los Banos have been selected for the 24th-annual High School All-Star Classic softball game June 20 at University of Pacific in Stockton.
Pacheco center fielder Arianna Barton and Los Banos High pitcher Taylor Harris will play in the game, and are also slated to be teammates next spring for San Joaquin Delta College, also in Stockton.
“It’s a great accomplishment to know someone noticed me,” Barton said. “It was nice ending the season in a good way.”
Added Harris, “I think it’s a really big honor. I didn’t expect I would be selected for that.”
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Both seniors had a major impact on their teams’ success this year. Barton, a slap-hitting lefty leadoff batter, led the Panthers with a .590 batting average, 25 runs scored and 15 stolen bases. It was the third year in a row she led Pacheco in stolen bases (she had 36 last year while batting .506 and 32 while batting .328 in 2012).
“I wait to get the sign, and when I get the sign, I’m just ready to go right from the beginning. As soon as she throws the ball it’s full, 110 percent all the way into second,” Barton said. “I’m pretty confident, especially with my team behind me. I know they’re going to put the ball in play and move me over.”
Harris split time in the circle with Brianna Flores for LB, helping the Tigers to a second-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference. She also gave a pop to the Tigers’ lineup.
“I honestly think my curveball is (my best pitch). This season I learned there’s a lot of different ways to throw different pitches,” Harris said. “(My mentality is) to go at them. Don’t leave anything hanging. Throw as hard as I can, controllably. Make the batter afraid. Make them not want to be there.”
Harris said the Tigers’ season was full of ups and downs. LB didn’t fare well against tough preseason competition, but did well in league before a 17-0 loss to Oakdale bounced the Tigers from the playoffs.
“It was basically all returners, but it was a learning experience for everyone,” she said. “We all needed to learn how to bond together, and that didn’t happen until the end of the season.”
Pacheco also found itself later in the season after starting out 1-4 in league. It helped that Gia Rodoni, a Central Catholic transfer, took over pitching duties when she became eligible. Barton said the foundation the team laid in its first few years of varsity play should help the Panthers continue to grow.
“They’re going strong,” she said. “You’re going to have Gia again and basically the whole lineup. I’m the only starter graduating.”
Pacheco’s Tracey Alvarez played in the game last year.