LA JOYA — In the dugout, she wiggled an increasingly purple finger, marveling at the bruise spreading across it like a flesh-eating virus. Luckily it was not one, but still, the EHS senior found out Saturday what it’s like to catch the hardest thrower in the Valley. As one of the six city kids invited to take part in the annual East-West All-Star Game, Tafolla got the assignment to don the “tools of ignorance” with former enemy Iliana Hinojosa of North, who was firing them in there quicker than ever.

In fact, the entire day offered a study in decided incongruence, as baseball started at 6 and softball later in the evening, in adjacent fields within the impressive Coyote Empire complex. The baseball stars were equally rivalry challenged, with North’s Noel Cruz palling around with Bobcats Derrick Soza, Carlos Pena, and Lee Rios. It seemed that they had nevet battled tooth and nail for the City Title, the way they carried on during their last high school contest.

Over at the softball field, EHS outfielder Claudia Salinas, to no one’s surprise, became the instant holler gal for her nee outfit, and even threw in a couple of “Give it a rides” for her long-time Lady Coog foes, Hinojosa and Nikki Garza. If there is a counterpart that can give the fiery Salinas a run for her money in the banter department, it is the hilarious Garza, and those two kept the West team ready to roll throughout.

The All-Star Games are always about half fun and half seriousness, and the record-setting number of Edinburg athletes (10), which also included slugging first baseman Sarina Rios and second sacker Mariah Ozuna of EHS, did the city proud with their performance in both categories.

The bottom line marked a chance for kids who have been on opposite sides of a bitter rivalry for four seasons to relax and just enjoy the rare air of All-Star competition.

“Man, she is the fastest pitcher I have ever caught,” said the long-braided Tafolla, whose team won 30 games this year and advanced to the fourth round of the postseason for the first time in program history. “And she’s got a screwball that is just beautiful.”

NOTES: The Bobcat Volleyball Camp will be held July 26-29 at EHS, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day. All incoming players from sixth to ninth grades are eligible, and the camp costs $35 (pre-registration) or $45 (at the door). For more info, call 655-3601,or 289-2406, or e-mail HYPERLINK ""

Also on tap for the summer is the Edinburg Softball Camp, July 6-8 also at the high school. There will be two groups, through sixth grade (8 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and from sixth to eighth (10 a.m. to noon). Campers should bring their own equipment, and the registration price of $50 includes T-shirt and a pizza party. For more info, call Coach Jesse Banda at 289-2406.



P Sammy Alvarado, EHS; 2B Lee Rios, EHS; OF Andrew Arteaga, North; OF Christian Alvarado, EHS


P Richard Warwas, Econ; P Rios, EHS; 1B Edgar Cordon, North; SS Derrick Soza, EHS; OF D.C. Recio, Econ; Util Arteaga, North


P-SS Justin Montano, Econ; P-SS Mark Esquivel, North; P Arteaga, North; P Nick Escobar, North; P-3B J.J. Balderas, EHS; C Aldo Zamora, EHS; C Ray Miranda, Econ; 1B Epi Vega, Econ; 2B-Util J.C. Garcia, Econ; 3B Eric Alonzo, Econ; OF Joel de los Santos, North; OF Jeremy Salinas, EHS; OF Ricky Vazquez, EHS; Util S. Alvarado, EHS

All-Valley: Christian Alvarado, EHS