For the eighth year, West Valley Preps has announced honors for the best baseball players it covers in the Northwest Valley.
Here is the complete All-West Valley Preps baseball team:
C – Gavin Armbruster (Junior) Liberty
1B – Treyton Tarver (Senior) Shadow Ridge
2B - Mike Raby (Junior) Willow Canyon
SS – A.J. Singer (Junior) Mountain Ridge
3B – Spencer Horwath (Senior) Sunrise Mountain
OF – Kolby Felix (Junior) Liberty
OF – Connor Hill (Senior) Millennium
OF – Easton Talt (Junior) Sunrise Mountain
UT - Andrew Biddle (Senior) Liberty
P – Kaden Schiefelbein (Senior) Liberty
P - Dale Fry (Junior) Northwest Christian
P – Gray Bailey (Senior) Mountain Ridge
C – Aidan Bevers (Junior) Mountain Ridge
1B - Brexton Clubb (Senior) Liberty
2B – Carson Brown (Junior) Deer Valley
SS – Joey Collier (Senior) Paradise Honors
3B – Mikel Black (Junior) Peoria
OF – Eddie Montoya (Junior) Valley Vista
OF – Kaleb Duncan (Junior) Millennium
OF – Adam Moser (Senior) Sunrise Mountain
UT – Seth Jelovic (Senior) Centennial
P - Ty Howry (Senior) Northwest Christian
P – Patrick Steitz (Senior) Liberty
P – Alex Ramirez (Senior) Sunrise Mountain
Cactus — Phoenix Little P/IF (Soph.); Centennial – Christian Mogen SS/P (Soph.), Kevin Ramos SS/P (Soph.); Deer Valley – Rudy Gonzales SS/OF (Soph), Casey Parks OF/C (Soph.); Dysart – Easton Carleton P/IF (Fr.), Tyler Giacoletti-Moody C (Soph.); Estrella Foothills — Brock DeBattista IF/P (Soph.), Demario Faison OF (Soph.); Glendale Prep — Jacob Rickey OF/3B (Soph.); Ironwood – Drake Stilwell UT (Fr.); Kellis – Elijah Arsenault UT (Soph.); Liberty – Max Charles UT (Fr.), Traig Oughton P (Soph.); Millennium - Roman Amaro OF (Soph.); Mountain Ridge - Jackson Forbes OF (Fr.), Cooper Neville 2B/SS (Soph.); Northwest Christian – Bryan Lorenz UT (Soph.), Gunnar Perzkover UT (Fr.), Paradise Honors – Travis Albert P (Soph.), Damien Mercado OF (Soph.); Peoria - Zachary Keller C (Soph.); Shadow Ridge – Austin Humphres P/OF (Fr.), Chance Greene C (Soph.); Sunrise Mountain – Christian Roncal OF (Soph.); Valley Vista – Stephen Neal UT (Fr.), Derek Wheeler UT (Soph.).
Kaden Schiefelbein, Liberty – A pair of seniors were atop the list for their impact at the plate and on the mound. Schiefelbein may not be the hitter the runner up is, but a .386 average, 21 RBI, four home runs and a .757 slugging percentage. And the Washington State-bound ace was one of the top five pitchers in the state, from the 7-1 record to the 0.85 ERA to 62 strikeouts in 41 innings. Steitz is another tremendous starter, but coach Chris Raymond set up Schiefelbein to pitch in the 6A quarterfinals and finals. And in the one game in two months that the Lions' bats were largely silent, Schiefelbein entered in the seventh inning of a 4-3 first round game against Chandler and struck out the side to avoid an end to a 15-game winning streak and a stunning upset.
Connor Hill, Millennium – The other side of the all-around player coin, Hill was a terror at the plate. leading the top-seeded Tigers with a .534 average, 30 RBI and an .844 slugging percentage. He also was Millennium's top pitcher, throwing 10 more innings than any teammate and a 3.43 ERA. Offense took this team farther than expected and that offense started with Hill.
Gray Bailey, Mountain Ridge – Along with Schiefelbein, Bailey was the West Valley pitcher teams did not want to see, He finished with a 9-0 record including beating rival O'Connor and becoming the last pitcher to win a game against Liberty. He finished with a 1.68 ERA and pitched a high 50 innings in a shortened season, and made the Mountain Lions the favorite to win in all of his starts.
Chris Raymond, Liberty – Late in the season, Raymond mentioned his team losing its turtle before it went on his 19-game winning streak - in a 24-game season. Baseball hitting turtles are used for batting practice. More teams should lose their turtles. A 19-game streak defies the norms of baseball, as does 16 of those wins by six runs or more including drubbings of Alhambra, Hamilton, Mountain Ridge and O'Connor. The team hit an eye-popping .414. And Raymond kept the crew sharp but loose enough to focus on playing every day, allowing a talented team - but not an overwhelming 6A favorite - to do things that sounded impossible en route to a ring.
Michael Deardoff, Sunrise Mountain – Technically it's Deardoff's third season in north Peoria, but really it is his second full year leading the Mustangs. All he did was guide a veteran team to this proud program's first state final in 10 years. It was a group of 14 seniors, but by year's end Deardoff had five juniors in the everyday lineup that beat eventual champ Desert Mountain in the final regular season game and won three playoff games before falling to the Wolves in the final. Both of Deardoff's Mustangs teams that finished the season greatly outperformed their seed in the playoffs.
Matt Royal, Millennium – Arguably the top regular season coach in the area, Royal led a team expected to finish in the 5-9 range to a surprising #5 seed in 5A. Royal did it with offense more than dominant pitching. And while the Tigerswere knocked out in the quarterfinals, this team played better than anyone expected. And again, though it was Royal's second season, it was his first chance to show the young squad how far it could grow.