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Senior stars gather at Optimist games

By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Like the Major League Baseball all-star game of a few years ago, the 37th annual Optimist All Star Baseball Games Saturday at American River College proved that sometimes baseball games can end in a tie. While the small schools game went to the South by a 6-2 count, the large schools game that followed went 10 innings before lack of pitching caused it to end in a 6-6 tie. Catcher David Risucci and infielder Justin Reiner of Valley Christian Academy played for the North in the opener, and while neither did much damage with the bat, both represented their school well in the game that features the top senior baseball players in the area. “Both of them said they had an absolutely enjoyable time,” said VCA coach Brad Gunter. “It was an honor for them to be picked and Risucci really showed his versatility by playing five different positions.” The Lions catcher took his turn behind the dish, but also pitched and played shortstop, second base and center field during the seven-inning contest. Jesuit High and former Lakeside Little League star Jimmy Bosco earned player of the game honors for the North as he evened the score in the home half of the ninth of the large schools game with a sole home run. Granite Bay’s representatives in the contest locked down the left side of the infield through the first five innings, with Sam Flajole at third base and Travis Israel at short. The duo had hits in a two-run North opening stanza and played outstanding defense. Oakmont centerfielder Randy Purdy was on base twice in the leadoff spot. The Vikings were also represented in the game by Braden Avery, who played second base.