For the ninth 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 – Easton Talt (Senior) Sunrise Mountain
1B – Cruz Oxford (Senior) Sunrise Mountain
2B - Alex Sanchez (Junior) Deer Valley
SS – A.J. Singer (Senior) Mountain Ridge
3B – Cristian Mogen (Junior) Centennial
OF – Seanan Farney (Senior) Millennium
OF – Kaleb Duncan (Senior) Millennium
OF – Andrew Richardson (Senior) Northwest Christian
UT - Garrett Sloan (Senior) Estrella Foothills
P – Dale Fry (Senior) Northwest Christian
P — Ryne Palmer (Senior) Sunrise Mountain
P – Dillon Orr (Senior) Shadow Ridge
C – Zach Yorke (Senior) Mountain Ridge
1B - Tate DeBoer (Senior) Willow Canyon
2B – Andrew Ravelo (Senior) Valley Vista
SS – Max Charles (Sophomore) Liberty
3B – Joseph Randall (Senior) Glendale Prep
OF – Carson Brown (Junior) Deer Valley
OF – Ethan Lung (Senior) Peoria
OF – Cody Rockwood (Senior) Centennial
UT – Bryan Lorenz (Sophomore) Northwest Christian
P - Jace Smith (Senior) Mountain Ridge
P – Tanner Theall (Sophomore) Deer Valley
P – Aidan Banuelos (Senior) Estrella Foothills
Cactus — Aiden Delgado P/OF (Soph.); Centennial – JT Price 3B/P (Fr.), Kenny Worthy OF (Soph.); Deer Valley – Dillion English OF (Soph.); Desert Edge – Tyson Kinnear C (Fr.); Dysart – Easton Carleton P/IF (Soph.), Nate Morales-Leyva SS/P (Soph.); Estrella Foothills — Brock DeBattista IF/P (Soph.); Glendale Prep — Logan Mittendorf IF/P (Fr.), Jacob Rickey OF/3B (Soph.); Ironwood – Drake Stilwell UT (Sph.); Liberty – Gerrado Gonzales P/UT (Soph.); Millennium - Ian Haines C (Soph.), Gavin Trim UT (Soph.); Mountain Ridge - Smith Bailey P (Soph.), Jackson Forbes OF (Soph.), Northwest Christian – Cole Knipp C (Soph.), Gunnar Perzkover UT (Soph.); Paradise Honors – Jaydan Herrera C/1B (Soph.), Michael Nicolini P/1B (Fr.); Peoria - Hunter Clark P/IF (Soph.); Shadow Ridge – Chase Whitley OF (Soph.); Sunrise Mountain – Tanner Milner C/2B (Soph.), Brandon Ornelas SS (Soph.); Valley Vista – Matthews Essra OF (Soph.), Jacob Tovar IF (Soph.); Willow Canyon – Josh Schulte P/IF (Soph.).
Christian Mogen, Centennial – The junior's acension mirrored the Coyotes' rise, and this was no accident. Centennial moved up the rankings from #16 all the way to #7 in 5A this year and Mogen powered the offense. He finished with a stellar .506 batting average and 37 RBI in 89 total at bats, which added up to an .820 slugging percentage. He also was the team's number two starting pitcher, finishing with 45 strikeouts in 43 innings, and a passable 4.23 ERA. Centennial was the surprise team in the big school divisions this year and the Coyotes simply do not make the leap without Mogen's tour-de-force spring.
Runner-up: Easton Talt, Sunrise Mountain – Before departing for Oregon State, Talt took the Mustangs deep into the 5A playoffs once again. He paced the Mustangs in batting average and doubles while directing the game as a catcher, It is impressive how Talt took control of a team with many players who had played together since well before high school, despite Talkt only moving in a bit before his junior year of high school.
Second runner-up: A.J. Singer, Mountain Ridge – The four-year starter led Mountain Ridge to another top finish in 6A, though the Mountain Lions' playoff run. The statistics are scattsershop but Singer was named offensive player of the year in the always-loaded Desert Valley Region. That says a lot.
Northwest Christian senior pitcher Dale Fry, second from the right, signed with Scottsdale Community College on May 9 surrounded by family, friends and coach Bobby Howry, third from right. Howry is the West Valley Preps baseball coach of the year. [Courtesy NCS Phoenix Facebook]
Bobby Howry, Northwest Christian – Howry lead the Crusaders back to the top of the 3A mountain for the first time in his five years as coach. In an interesting twist, this is Northwest Christian's third 3A title since 2015 under the third different coach to lead it to the promised land. The former Chicago White Sox reliever did not just set the line up and watch his talented, young team roll to the trophy with ease. He, and the other 3A coaches had a unique challenge this year - that no other conference faced in 2022 or in recent memory. The Crusaders needed to win a best-of-three semifinal series with Valley Christian to get in the finals. And the MLB oitcher made the correct pitching decision, rolling out ace Dale Fry for the opener of that series and grabbing the key first win, then trusting the rest of his staff for the series and having Fry ready on full rest for the finals. The Crusaders needed every bit of his arm in the tense, defensive final with ALA-Gilbert North. And Howry set up his teamm for the title.
Runner-up: Rafael Sanchez, Glendale Prep – This is a simple math exercise. The Griffins finished 2-12 in 2021, Sanchez's first full season. This season Glendale Prep made 2A playoffs for the second first time since it joined the Arizona Interscholastic Association in 2014. The team finished 12-5 in the regular season and beat St. Augustine in a play-in game for its first postseason win before falling to Morenci 9-6 in the first round. For the first time, the Griffins had experienced players joining the program, but most were freshmen. Sanchez deserves a ton of credit for building lasting elements of a program in arguably the toughest area of the Valley to do so. Liberty, Mountain Ridge, O'Cpnnor and Sunrise Mountain are all next door, so to speak.
Second runner-up: Jon Williams, Centennial – The Coyotes revamp has been swift. Williams, like Sanchez, didn't get to implement his vision for the program in 2020. Centennial returned to the 5A playoffs in 2021, for the first time since 2017. This year's team jumped nine spots in the pecking order and competed for a top seed in a 5A conference that was deeper than ever. Centennial split with Sunrise Mountain and tied for the Northwest Region title with a team that was the 2021 runner up and poised to contend again.