This is the eighth year West Valley Preps has announced honors for the best softball players it covers in the Northwest Valley. Here is the 2021 All West Valley Preps softball team:
C – Sawyer Snodgrass (Senior) Sunrise Mountain
C - Brylee Bilger (Senior) Paradise Honors
1B – Bub Feringa (Sophomore) Cactus
2B – Alannah Rogers (Junior) Willow Canyon
SS – Ann Marie Murphy (Senior) Millennium
SS – Hannah DiFabio (Senior) Cactus
OF – Hanna Bowers (Senior) Willow Canyon
OF – Ledezma Romero (Senior) Paradise Honors
UT – Hannah Lindsay (Senior) Shadow Ridge
P – Marissa McCann (Sophomore) Willow Canyon
P – Meghan Golden (Senior) Centennial
P – Morgan Greene (Senior) Shadow Ridge
Paradise Honors sophomore Samara Romero prepares to deliver a pitch May 11 in the state 4A quarterfinal at Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood. Paradise Honors won 6-3. She is a second team All West Valley Preps pitcher. [Courtesy George Werner/AZPreps 365]
1B – Amailee Morales (Junior) Paradise Honors
1B - Camryn Davis (Sophomore) Sunrise Mountain
2B – Alexandra Hess (Sophomore) Deer Valley
SS – Alishia Sanchez (Freshman) Peoria
3B – Raelynn Rogers (Senior) Willow Canyon
OF – Leah Calderon (Senior) Kellis
OF – Tanya Windle (Junior) Cactus
OF – Shaylee Zaitz (Junior) Mountain Ridge
UT – Paige White (Senior) Shadow Ridge
P – Sadie Levandowski (Senior) Millennium
P – Kaylie Flisyn (Senior) Northwest Christian
P – Samara Romero (Sophomore) Paradise Honors
Cactus – Brooke McAnerny, OF (Soph.); Centennial – Ella Cordova 3B, (Fr.), Samantha Jarvis OF, (Soph.); Deer Valley – Audrey Leyba 3B (Fr.), Jayden Sanchez OF, (Soph.); Dysart – Geneva Holman 3B, (Soph.), Alanna Zepeda OF, (Soph.); Kellis – Dayanara Ceballos OF, (Soph.), Jocelyn Roe 3B, (Soph.); Liberty – Allyson Farrington, P, (Fr.); Millennium – Sydnee Levandowski OF/P, (Soph.), Cyan Ramos 1B/3B, (Soph.); Mountain Ridge – Courtney Lake 3B, (Fr.), Guilliana Wilson OF/P (Fr.); Northwest Christian – Macie Thomas C/SS, (Soph.) Kianna Van Metre OF/2B, (Soph.); Paradise Honors – Makayla George, OF (Fr.); Peoria – Jada Watson C (Soph.), Jayden Zamora UT (Soph.); Shadow Ridge – J’Kai’A Graves 2B/UT, (Fr.), Allison Lindsay 1B, (Soph.); Sunrise Mountain – Sadie Sua P/UT (Fr.); Valley Vista – Brooke Hyde UT, (Fr.); Willow Canyon – Harmony Andrade IF, (Fr.), Kayleigh Bowers OF/P, (Soph.), Trinity Kennemer 1B, (Soph.),
McKenna “Bub” Feringa, Cactus – The era of the ace pitcher/power hitter carrying her team into contention has been on the wane for years. And neither Feringa or the powerhouse next door, Centennial senior Meghan Golden, was able to lift her team to a state finals return after pitching in their respective 2019 title games. But it was not for a lack of trying. Feringa gets the slight edge over Golden — who led in the glamour stats of home runs at the plate and strikeouts in the circle — by virtue of her overall impact. Bub batted .644 with six homers and 37 RBI, sporting a 1.109 batting average. And she finished her third season as the Cobras’ ace with a better record (13-4) and earned run average (.95). With this Cactus team not nearly as stacked as the 2018 and 2019 4A runner up teams, the Cobras needed Bub’s best to reach the quarterfinals.
Meghan Golden, Centennial – Doubling Feringa’s home run total with 12 seemed far fetched before Golden’s season began. After all, she entered the year with one dinger in her high school career. Her 31 RBI also paced the young and inconsistent Coyotes. Golden’s 10-7 record was more a sign of bad luck and little run support She finished with a 1.60 ERA and rolled up 196 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings. That’s fifth in the entire state. No pitcher in Arizona had more success against Willow Canyon’s bounty of bats, holding the eventual 5A champions to two runs but losing when her offense was shut out.
Alannah Rogers, Willow Canyon – It’s splitting hairs trying to find the Wildcats’ MVP. McCann dominated the 5A playoff stretch. Hanna Bowers was voted the 5A conference and Central Region player of the year. But we give Alannah Rogers the nod. She edged Bowers in RBI, batting average an d stolen bases (17). Her ability as a leadoff hitter and base stealing threat (17 last season) is emphasized on a team that has everything you could want — other than speed.
Willow Canyon's Donnie Tizzano, shown here talking to senior Raelynn Rogers during the 5A final May 7 in Tucson. Tizzano is the West Valley Preps softball coach of the year. [Ryan McGinley/For West Valley Preps]
Donnie Tizzano, Willow Canyon – We expected Willow Canyon in the state final at least, as more talent from Surprise floods in. While a state finals game appearance looks and sounds like heady stuff for a program that had not been higher than 5th place in previous 5A playoffs. Yes, Canyon View had a younger team, but neither team had ever been close to this far into the playoffs. Yet the Wildcats acted and played like they’d been there before, and were much calmer than the Jaguars at state. That’s a credit to Tizzano, who struck a balance between allowing the girls to enjoy an unprecedented season and making sure they were locked in for each game. Tizzano also reaped the benefits of keeping McCann fresh and limiting her regular season innings. She was in control of all four playoff games.
Kortny Hall, Shadow Ridge – Returning to the West Valley after a college softball coaching career Hall, who led Liberty to a surprise 4A-II state finals berth in the Lions’ third varsity season, was an out away from a stunning 6A state title game trip in her first year at Shadow Ridge. The three seniors always seemed to come through in big situations, but the program was decimated by 10 graduations and the Carroll twins heading to the University of Arizona. Hall helped discover some other players, and managed to have enough club players to fill out a lineup. And Hall’s dogged approach was adopted by the team, which won nine straight games at midseason to jump to #3 in the 6A rankings. Four straight losses dropped Shadow Ridge to #11, but Hall righted the ship and the Stallions knocked off two higher seeds before nearly doing the same to Red Mountain in the semis.
Bartt Underwood, Cactus – This is not a career achievement award for the recently retired state hall of fame coach. The 2021 edition was not like the previous four Cobra teams that reached three state finals with loaded lineups and airtight defense. Feringa, DiFabio and Windle were run producing machines, and juniors Janessa Escobar, Reagan Levyas and Angelica Tello has solid years at the plate. No other Cobras batted above .250. The outfield defense was in a state of flux and Underwood moved his pieces around to improve it - ending up with Tello in the outfield and Windle playing third base. The changes worked. After allowing 24 runs in early season losses to Perry and Willow Canyon, Cactus allowed only 25 runs in their final 17 games and knocked off eventual 6A runner up Red Mountain and previously unbeaten Mingus. Underwood got the absolute most out of his final group to finish 17-4 and make the 4A quarterfinals.