The 2019 All West Valley Preps softball team

Centennial teammates engulf Dren Meginnis at home plate after she hit a grand slam to give the Coyotes a 4-0 lead in a May 11 game that determined who would play in the 5A state final. Centennial won the game at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix 10-0. Meginnis is the West Valley Preps softball player of the year runner up. [Stacie Sahhar/For West Valley Preps]

West Valley Preps

This is the seventh year West Valley Preps has announced honors for the best softball players it covers in the Northwest Valley. Here is the 2019 All West Valley Preps softball team:

First team

C – Mashayla Beltran (Senior) Willow Canyon
1B – Hailey Galvez (Senior) Centennial
SS – Dren Meginnis (Senior) Centennial
SS – Alynah Torres (Senior) Cactus
3B – Sophia Carroll (Junior) Shadow Ridge
OF – Mickaela Covarrubio (Senior) Shadow Ridge
OF – Ledezma Romero (Sophomore) Paradise Honors
OF – Madison Gomez (Senior) Ironwood
UT – Sydney Bickel (Junior) Sunrise Mountain
P – Sydnie Sahhar (Senior) Centennial
P – Bub Feringa (Sophomore) Cactus
P – Kylee Messmer (Junior) Sunrise Mountain

Shadow Ridge senior Mickey Covarrubio smiles while rounding the bases after her first inning home run in the April 30 6A first round softball game. [Ryan C. McGinley/Dysart Unified School District/For West Valley Preps}

Second team

C – Kaytlin Leyvas (Junior) Cactus
1B – Aris Carroll (Junior) Shadow Ridge
2B – Hannah DiFabio (Sophomore) Cactus
SS – Andraya Rhinehart (Senior) Willow Canyon
3B – Summer Pells (Junior) Sunrise Mountain
OF – Tatum Chestnut (Junior) Liberty
OF – Tanya Windle (Freshman) Cactus
OF – Leah Calderon (Sophomore) Kellis
UT – Annmarie Murphy (Sophomore) Millennium
P – Sara Norton (Senior) Ironwood
P – Kaylie Flisyn (Sophomore) Northwest Christian
P – Krista Francia (Freshman) Paradise Honors

Underclassmen to watch

Cactus – Janessa Escobar, C/3B (Fr.), Grace Seale, OF (Soph.); Centennial – Meghan Golden P/1B (Soph.), Adyson Maya OF, (Fr.); Dysart – Rhiannon Granucci OF (Soph.), Monika Rodriguez C, (Soph.); Ironwood – Colleen Mathias (Soph.); Kellis – Celina Morales 1B/3B 2B, (Soph.); Liberty – Alexia Boring OF (Soph.), Abigail Gaona 2B/SS, (Soph.); Millennium – Sadie Levandowski P, (Soph.); Mountain Ridge – Megan Lake 2B, (Soph.), Gabrielle Escontrias OF (Fr.); Northwest Christian – Sadie Wolfe 3B, (Fr.); Paradise Honors – Brylee Bilger C (Soph.), Cassidy Martin IF, (Soph,), Amailee Morales 1B, (Fr.); Peoria – Mia Vallardes 1B/P (Fr.); Shadow Ridge – Morgan Greene P, (Soph.), Paige White C/UT (Soph.); Sunrise Mountain – Skyla Mitchell UT (Fr.), Sawyer Snodgrass C/3B (Soph.); Valley Vista – Kayla Bryant SS (Fr.), Kinisyn Hansford IF, (Fr.); Willow Canyon – Jaeden Murphy 3B/C, (Fr.), Alannah Rogers 2B/OF, (Fr.), Tristen Turlington SS, (Fr.)

Cactus senior shortstop Alynah Torres touches second base and prepares to make a throw for a double play attempt earlier this season. For the fourth straight year, Torres is the West Valley Preps softball player of the year. [Ed Russell/For West Valley Preps]

Player of the year

Alynah Torres, Cactus – Torres won this award all four years of her career and saved the best for last. Her senior season featured career highs in batting average (.653), home runs (23), RBI (71, tied with her sophomore season) on-base percentage (.718) and slugging percentage (1.457). More than one of the best hitters in state history, Torres flashed exceptional range at shortstop and served as the voice of the Cobras on and off the field. Another near miss in a third controversy-filled state title game loss cannot dull the brilliance she displayed since her first day at Cactus. Unfortunately, some voters in this state must have disagreed. How a player this consistent from day one with a career .603 average, 64 home runs, 242 RBI and 1.877 OPS does not win a single Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year award is beyond our comprehension. Even with that oversight, her career goes down as one of the best in the state’s rich high school softball history.

Runner-up: Dren Meginnis, Centennial – It’s hard being the shortstop down the street from Torres during the same four-year span. Meginnis was a starter from day one and was very good in the first three years of her career. In 2019, she elevated her game to an elite level, clobbering 22 home runs and driving in 65. Both figures exceed her three-year career totals entering the season. And these were not empty stats piled up during the Coyotes’ early-season routs. They included a home run in Centennial’s second loss to Sunrise Mountain, two more at No. 11 Casteel and another in the first round win against Millennium. Then, after a dry spell, Meginnis hit arguably the biggest dinger in any game this season. Her grand slam broke a scoreless tie in an elimination game against Tucson Empire and paved the way for the win that clinched the Coyotes’ first state final berth since 2010.

Coach of the year

Jody Pruitt, Sunrise Mountain – An undefeated regular season was obscured by a sudden collapse in the seventh inning of a first round playoff upset for the ages. It should not be, considering how improbable 18-0 appeared when the spring began. Certainly, the Mustangs would be good in their return to 5A after eight season away. The only mediocre season for Sunrise Mountain softball in the last 17 or so was 2016, when an odd placement formula bumped the program to Division I against schools almost twice its enrollment. But Pruitt’s team was young and coming off a down year — by its standards — in 4A. Yet from day one, the Mustangs displayed an uncanny knack to adjust and find ways to win every game, be they pitchers duels or slugfests. Sunrise Mountain hit for power and played small ball to precision. The team shined on defense and receiver stellar pitching from Messmer and Dallis Mitchell. The players’ versatility is a reflection of their coach. And the shocking loss to Sunnyslope will only serve to motivate Pruitt and the 10 returning varsity players next year.

Runner-up: Donnie Tizzano, Willow Canyon – Cactus’ Bartt Underwood and Centennial’s Randy Kaye were superlative again this year, leading their teams to the 4A and 5A state finals. Entering the season, however, both teams were expected to reach the title game. Tizzano is in this spot for the second straight year mainly because his youngest Wildcats team was his best year. The momentum of the program’s first final 8 appearance in 2018 threatened to stall when two of the team’s top four returning players, Carrigan and Mo Foster, moved to Washington state in the offseason. Instead, Tizzano started as many as six freshmen and juggled his pitching without a true ace available. The result? A step further this season into the final six, as Willow Canyon nearly knocked out eventual 5A champion Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge. It will be tough for the Wildcats to exceed expectations now, because its class of 2022 should form one of the state’s best lineups for years.


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