Metro DetroitJuly 19, 2012
Local softball standouts focus on fun of competing in MHSSCA All-Star Games
By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer
The girls who were selected to play in the four Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association All-Star Games received that honor because of their will, grit, determination and competitiveness.
But all of those things took a backseat to simply enjoying themselves during the contests, which featured some of the best softball players in Michigan and was played at Michigan State University July 18.
“It’s really great being here, and the field is really nice, but it’s just been a lot of fun playing with all these great players,” said Rochester resident and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep graduate Gabrielle Fazio, who will play at Alma College next year.
Fun was key in Fazio’s Division 2 game, which ended in a 1-1 tie in eight innings.
“We wanted to have fun, but we also wanted to win, but it was still a great experience,” the honorable-mention All-State performer said.
The Division 4 game was played after press time. In the D-3 game, the Red team downed the White 12-2.
The exhibitions, which feature seniors from schools across the state, feature about 30 players from the four state divisions.
Local schools were represented in all four games; a total of 12 players from nine local schools were invited to play.
“It’s an awesome experience because not a lot of players get the chance to play in a game like this,” said Troy High senior Kamryn LaCarter, an All-State honoree who will play at Macomb Community College next year.
Girls who earn All-State and All-State honorable mention received automatic invites to the games. The rest of the rosters were made up of players named All-Region during the 2012 state playoffs.
Prior to each game, players on all the teams (Red and White teams in each division) received plaques.
LaCarter was a part of a D-1 Red team that featured seven players from the C & G coverage area. That team, coached by 25-year North Farmington coach Dave Brubaker, won its game 12-3.
“We had a great group of girls to coach. Both teams were really good. We just really went up there and swung the bats well,” Brubaker said.
“It’s a little different coachingwise. I told the girls we were gonna bunt and do some different things, but the main thing was for the girls to have fun.”
Macomb Dakota senior Erica Manduzzi, an honorable-mention All-State honoree who played on the D-1 Red team, said she was honored to be a part of the event.
“It was a great experience,” said Manduzzi, who will try to walk on at Grand Valley State University next year. “But I’m glad we won too, because winning is always fun.”
Here are the local softball players who received invitations to play in the 2012 MHSSCA All-Star Games.
Dave Brubaker, coach, North Farmington; Katy Severson, North Farmington; Katie Creighton, North Farmington; Bryana Opalewski, Fraser High; Kamryn LaCarter, Troy High; Erica Manduzzi, Macomb Dakota High; Kayce Nieto, Farmington Hills Mercy; and Taylor Verbic, Warren Regina.
Gabrielle Fazio, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; and Kaitlyn Roose, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.
Jaclyn Bieniewicz, Madison Heights Bishop Foley; and Colleen Szakacs, Madison Heights Bishop Foley.
Stephanie Smith, Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest.