For Paytin Mercado, it's one last opportunity to play at home in front of family and friends. That's why the recent Buhach Colony High graduate is looking forward to playing in the Paul Leonardo Memorial All-Star Games on Tuesday.
In two months Mercado will be packing up and heading off to college to play softball at Southern University.
"I'm so excited for everyone to come out and watch all of us play one more time," Mercado said. "I get to play in front of my family one last time. It's going to be crazy."
The fourth annual Paul Leonardo Memorial All-Star Games will take on a different format this year as two leagues were added to the softball showcase at Livingston High's softball complex.
For the past three years it's been the Central California Conference all-stars squaring off against the top talent from the Western Athletic Conference. This year the Southern League and the West Sierra League from the Central Section will be represented.
Each league will field a team made up of its all-league selections. The matchups will be drawn out of a hat with two leagues squaring off against each other on one field while the other two teams play on a second field.
The action will get started at 3:30 p.m. A second game will follow with the winners playing each other and the losers facing each other.
"We changed it to get more kids involved," said Livingston coach Joe Leonardo, who is the game director. "We're giving more kids a chance to be all-starts. I think the format is a good deal. We'll try it one time and ask the coaches what they think about it."
Admission for the event is $5.
Leonardo will also hand out eight $500 scholarships at the end of the night to players.
There will be plenty of talent on hand from the four leagues.
The CCC team features some future Division I college recruits in Turlock's Shelby Frutoz (Long Beach State), Golden Valley's Marissa Bertuccio (Sacramento State verbal commit), Merced's Jewels Perez (San Diego State verbal commit) and Mercado.
The WAC features Los Banos' Kiara Azevedo, who signed with Cal State Bakersfiled earlier this year. Azevedo hit .596 this season for the Tigers. Patterson won the WAC with a perfect 10-0 record and was led offensively by Aubrey Garcia (.415 average, six home runs and 24 RBIs), Carolyn Dallimore (.548, three homers and 23 runs) and Riley Kuderca (.462 average and 21 runs).
Some of the top players for the Southern League include Mariposa star Violet Matlock, who hit .518 with nine doubles and 21 RBIs and also compiled a 13-2 record in the circle with a 1.64 ERA.. Ripon Christian won its second consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section championship and features talented players like sophomores Elizabeth Thomas and pitcher Madison DeGraaf.
The West Sierra League was won by Dos Palos. The Broncos were led by junior Janessa Jasso, who was one of the top strikeout pitchers in the state this season. Dos Palos' Teya Vincent also hit .451 with seven home runs and 42 RBIs this season.
"I'm looking forward to playing with girls in my league and seeing all the girls from the other leagues around the area," Mercado said. "It's a chance to see all the talent from around the area on the field one last time."