Two months after breaking his hand, Hunter Bruno got one more opportunity to pitch in Camas Papermaker uniform Wednesday.
He was one of four Camas High School seniors playing in the Southwest Washington All-Star Baseball Series at Propstra Park, in Vancouver. Bruno, Jared Bentley, Liam Fitzpatrick and Tucker Parker were on the National League team together.
“It was definitely a good feeling to put the uniform on one more time for my senior year,” Bruno said. “I’ve been itching to get back out there on the mound. It’s been a long road to recovery with my hand.”
Bruno broke his hand when he collided with a teammate trying to catch a ball in the outfield before a game on March 30.
“It was a really bad break, so it took longer to recover,” he said. “I did everything I could to keep my arm strong.”
The season ended for the Papermakers about a week before Bruno would have been cleared to pitch. The break was not on his throwing hand. He still can’t swing a bat.
Bruno plans to attend Washington State University in the fall. He hopes to be healthy enough to try out for the baseball team.
“We were a tough team that fought hard in all our games,” Bruno said. “I’ll be able to take that fighting mentality with me to the next level.”
Bentley showcased his speed on the base paths and his glove in the field during the all-star games. He delivered a double and a single in the first game, and singled and stole a base in the second game.
“It’s a fun way to go out. One last hurrah,” Bentley said. “We’re diving for balls, stealing bases and going as hard as we can. The goal is still to win.”
Fitzpatrick hit a triple and scored a run in the first game. He added an RBI triple in the second game to give the National League a 1-0 lead in the third inning.
“The goal is just to have fun, hustle hard and play the game the right way,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a good way to finish out the end of the season and the end of our careers here.”
The action on the field was non-stop. The American League outlasted the National League 12-9 in the first game.
The AL led 8-3 in the second game, until the NL rallied to go up 9-8 in the bottom of the seventh. The AL countered with three runs in the top of the eighth, but the NL answered with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to win 12-11. Bentley, Bruno, Fitzpatrick and Parker jumped right into the middle of the celebration after the winning run scored on a wild pitch.
Fitzpatrick is on his way to Whitworth University, in Spokane. Parker will play for Concordia University, in Portland. Bentley is undecided, as he searches for the right opportunity to play baseball in college.
“I’ve been playing baseball with these guys since before high school. It’s cool to have one last game before we all go our separate ways,” Fitzpatrick said. “Camas is such a great city we get to represent for the rest of our lives.”
Bentley, Fitzpatrick and Parker were thrilled to see Bruno pitching again.
“It was awesome seeing Hunter go out there and throw again. He’s been out forever,” Parker said.
“It’s one of the cool things this game allows us to do,” Fitzpatrick said.
Parker got the opportunity to start the second game for the National League. He pitched three scoreless innings. The top of the first ended on a line drive and a double play.
All four of these Papermakers were proud to wear the Camas red and black one more time.
“We lost our last game here. For a lot of us, we thought that was it,” Parker said. “Today, we get another chance. There’s nothing on the line. Just play loose and enjoy the game we all love.”