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Reina, Courage find redemption in all star game

Five players from foothills lead North to win over South
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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SACRAMENTO ? Alyssa Reina and Jordan Courage found themselves on the same team Wednesday with both in the mood for redemption. Reina slugged an early home run and Courage closed out a 10-5 win for the North in the 35th annual Evening Optimist Club of Sacramento All Star Game at Capital Christian High. ?Let?s just say it was a nice second chance,? said Courage, a senior from Del Oro High. ?Obviously playoffs didn?t go the way we wanted to so to be able to come out and have that one last chance to wear the jersey again and play well was really exciting.? Courage was named the player of the game for her six-strikeout performance over the final three innings in which she didn?t give up a hit. The outing was an ideal rebound from her last time in the circle when Del Oro was eliminated by Christian Brothers 8-3 in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs. Courage, who will play collegiately at Concordia next season, struck out the side in the seventh inning, another in the eighth and two more start the ninth. Reina served as the big bat for Bear River all season but admitted to being disappointed about her 1-for-4 performance in the Division III title game, which the Bruins won 9-3 over Whitney. Reina found a golden opportunity to redeem herself early when she crushed a ball over the left field fence that was destined to go over the short fence the moment she connected. ?I was rounding first and the coach said, ?Slow down Alyssa, you?re good,? said Reina, who had seven home runs on the year. ?I went up there, I didn?t really think, I just looked for my pitch and drove it.? It was the only at-bat for Reina, who will play at North Dakota State next season, but the senior got to catch her good friend and Bruins teammate Erin Nichol for the first two innings of the game. ?It meant a lot because that?s the last game that I?m ever going to play,? said Nichol, who won?t play softball at Portland because of her academic commitment as a pre-med major. ?That was a great way to go out so I was happy with that.? Nichol pitched flawlessly with a strikeout and no hits allowed. Bruins star Stephanie Ceo, who is headed to the University of Texas next year, went 2-for-3. Del Oro shortstop Whitney Smith was 2-for-3 with a run scored.