PINEVILLE — Alaina Guarino didn’t come into the Louisiana High School Coaches Association Softball All-Star weekend with lofty aspirations.
All the Mount Carmel Academy shortstop was looking for was the chance to bridge the gap between her high school career and her college career at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
“These are the best players in Louisiana, and you’ve got to work hard just to stand out,” Guarino said. “This is a good way to end my high school career. I think its good preparation for the next level.”
Guarino got exactly what she wanted.
Her fifth-inning RBI ground out brought future UL-Lafayette teammate Kara Gremillion in to score the go-ahead run as the East notched a 3-1 victory over the West on Saturday afternoon to close out the two-game series at Louisiana College’s Coca-Cola Field.
For good measure, the MCA shortstop added a double in the seventh inning to help the East post the first sweep in the series since 2009, when the West won both games.
East Outstanding Player Elyse Thornhill of St. Joseph’s Academy followed Guarino’s RBI grounder with an RBI single that scored West Ouachita’s Bobbi Smith. Saturday’s win followed a 4-2 East victory Friday night.
“When you change pitchers like we do in the all-star game, it’s hard to get in a groove offensively,” East coach Tim Whitman of Ouachita Parish High said. “But I thought we had some timely hits. We had some two-out hits.
“We didn’t have as many base runners as yesterday, but we got the hits with two outs. And it was good to see people on base when Elyse came up. She was hot all weekend.”
Two players for the East had multiple hits. LSU signee Thornhill finished 3-for-4 and was 4-for-6 on the weekend, including an home run Friday night. William Carey signee Harli Crow of Denham Springs was 2-for-3 with a double.
Each team scored a run in the third. Houston signee Elise LeBouef of Notre Dame doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch for the West. Tioga’s Taylor Pippen walked, and East courtesy runner Smith of West Ouachita scored the tying run on a passed ball.
The “sometimes you win when you lose” was definitely in play for losing pitcher Summer Ellyson of Teurlings Catholic. Ellyson, also a future Cajun, was voted the Outstanding Player for the West. She lined a double off the center-field wall in the fifth but was one of three runners the West stranded.
While Menard’s Kayla Busby got the win for the East, Ellyson took the loss despite giving up only three hits.
“We got hits when there were two outs,” West coach Andria Waguespack of St. Thomas More said. “But it’s hard to score runs when you’ve got two outs on you already. You’ve got your back against the wall. We were never able to get in a groove.”