By KEVIN NARRO | Staff Writer
LA JOYA — The Rio Grande Valley’s best were on full display one last time Saturday night in La Joya.
The East squad put together a two-run seventh inning rally fueled by Lopez’s Lexi Castro and Mercedes’ Jazmine Gonzales for a 3-2 win in the annual RGVCA East-West All-Star Game.
Saturday’s win marked the fifth straight year that the East picked up the win over the West. Brownsville Veterans Memorial ace Mia Anzaldua was tabbed the MVP for the East side, and Edinburg North’s Natalie Rodriguez was named most valuable player for the West.
“Coaching this group was a lot of fun,” East coach Kristy Leal said. “There are a lot of crazy personalities, but this was my eighth year doing the all-star game so it isn’t anything new on getting kids from different schools. This group had a lot of energy, and I knew we were going to be able to hit the ball.”
Anzaldua became the fourth straight MVP from Brownsville Veterans. In 2016 it was Rheana Gomez, in 2017 it was Naomi Barbosa and last year Cassie Valdez was named the MVP.
“Wow, that is really cool,” Anzaldua said. “This is a great way to end my career after winning the softball player of the year award the other night to winning this. Now I want the next Lady Charger to keep the legacy going.”
In the circle, San Benito’s Nana Carrizales received the start and went three innings, striking out four and yielding one run.
Anzaldua entered in relief during the fourth inning and finished the final four frames. Anzaldua whiffed five batters and, during the top of the seventh, she struck out Arianna Guzman with the tying run in scoring position to seal the win.
“It was nerve-wracking, and I was more anxious than I would be in a playoff game with the environment. And the energy tonight was just amazing. On the last batter, I just got her with a rise ball. I was just trying to not get shaken up and just focused on each pitch.” Anzaldua said.
The seventh-inning rally was highlighted by back-to-back RBIs from Castro and Gonzales, scoring San Benito’s April Garcia. Later, Harlingen South’s Natasha Canales scored the go-ahead run on Gonzales’ base knock.