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High school all-star softball returns to Southern Arizona with great success

CDO assistant coach Maggie Morales speaks with some players participating in the 2024 All Sports Tucson/Southern Arizona Softball Umpire Association Senior High School All-Star Game at the Arthur Pack (Stephanie van Latum/AllSportsTucson.com)

The last time high school softball players in Southern Arizona got together for an all-star game was three years ago at Sports Park — when the current seniors were freshmen.

After COVID-19 in 2020, the effort lost steam, gathering top softball players for an all-star event in Tucson.

However, the Southern Arizona baseball high school all-star games continued Bill Leith The Kino Baseball League organizes the annual event at the Kino Annex Fields.

Southern Arizona is home to such a hotbed of softball talent (see Salpointe's six consecutive 4A state titles and 3A schools Sahuarita, Sabino and Empire, which have won the last seven state titles in that classification).

All-Star games had to take place again.

Behind the efforts of Andy Morales from AllSportsTucson.com and John Mertes of the Southern Arizona Softball Umpire Association, the gathering of top women's softball players returned to Tucson in grand style at the Arthur Pack on Monday evening.

Nearly 90 outstanding seniors gathered for three separate games, pitting players in the following classifications: 5A/6A, 3A/4A and 1A/2A.

Several hundred fans attended the games, including Lute Olson's granddaughter Julie Brase-Hairgrove and grandchildren Matt Brase. They were there to cheer on Catalina Foothills. Madison HairgroveJulie's daughter and Matt's niece.

Former Arizona players Alicia Hollowell Dunn, Felecity Willis And Sophia Carroll acted as coach along with Salpointe's assistant Alma Mejia GarciaCDO assistant Maggie Morales and graduate of Mountain View Zaylie Calderon (who finished her career at UTEP in the spring).

One player who received the most applause was Amphi senior Zoey Hitchcock, who has been an inspiration to the Panthers throughout her career. Their exuberance symbolized the love of the game held by all players who attended the event at Arthur Pack.

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Anna Harden

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