West Valley Preps’ 2019 softball season preview

Willow Canyon's Andrya Rhinehart tags out Marana's Kyana Vieux on a stolen base attempt during a 5A play-in game April 25, 2018 at Willow Canyon High School in Surprise. [Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps]

Compiled by Richard Smith
West Valley Preps

Last week marked the beginning of the high school softball regular season. West Valley Preps asked Northwest Valley softball coaches to take a look at their teams:

Centennial Coyotes

5A Northwest Region
Coach: Randall Kaye (third year as head coach)
2018 Record: 25-10-1 (5A third place)
Top Returnees: Sydnie Sahhar, Sr., P (3-0, 1.51 ERA, .421, 15 RBI); Dren Meginnis, Jr., SS/P (.381, 3 HR, 22 RBI)
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our team’s best attribute this season is experience. We have six seniors, five of whom were on last seasons semifinal team. I would also say this team genuinely cares for each other.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? I think we need to improve our team hitting and we have spent a lot of time working on our swings. we have gone back to the basics and with six pitchers, we get lots of live reps.
Who are your team leaders? We have kids from all grad years that are leaders but I would say that primarily, we are led by seniors Sydnie Sahhar, Dren Meginnis, Makenzie Celeya and Hailey Galvez. They were all key contributors from last season and they want a shot at winning a title before they graduate.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? We have added junior transfer pitcher Mariah Lopez (who started in both of Vail Cienega’s 5A state finals victories). She will instantly add playoff experience. We also have more depth with Senior transfer Madison Fusich (from Kellis) and freshman Adyson Maya. Fusich will sit the first half due to the transfer rule and Maya who is the younger sister to junior Aubrey Maya, has been a nice surprise offensively.
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We need to stay healthy and keep the team first mentality. Other than that, they just need to have fun and win one more game than we did last season.

softball
Centennial’s Dren Meginnis hits a two-run double against Shadow Ridge on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at Centennial High School in Peoria. [Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps]

Kellis Cougars

5A Northwest Region
Coach: Todd Pyne (first year as Kellis coach)
2018 Record: 4-20-1 (Did not reach 5A playoffs)
Top Returnees: Ashley Sandoval, Jr., SS (.477, 3 HR, 12 RBI); Desarae Leyva, Jr., C (.390, 7 RBI)
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Willingness to work together.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Need to solidify our defense.
Who are your team leaders? Ashley Sandoval, Leah Calderon and Sidney Kirkeby.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Daija Kitt.
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? Solidify our defense and trust one another.

Millennium Tigers

5A Desert West Region
2018 Record:
7-17 overall, 5-5 region (in 6A)
Coach: Sophia Lujan (second year as Millennium coach)
Top Returnees: Emma Bolin, Soph., IF, (.462, 12 RBI), Taryn Havel, Sr., C (.400, 10 RBI)
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We are a scrappy softball team that that has a hunger to compete.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? I believe that with any team, staying consistent in the little things is important, such as the fundamentals.
Who are your team leaders? We communicate to our players that everyone has opportunities to lead. Team leaders are not picked out of one group of players. Everyone can lead in some way that will benefit the team.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Honestly, every new player we have is an impact player. Which is why this season is going to be special. We have great talent spread out within each position.
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament, or achieve the goals you have set this season? Consistency, staying positive, working hard and knowing our purpose. Everything else will fall into place and we will see out goals reached.

Paradise Honors softball senior Ashlyn Buntin runs to first base Feb. 25 against Kingman. [Submitted]

Paradise Honors Panthers

3A Metro West Region
2018 record: 16-6 (Reached second round of 2A tournament)
Coach: Paul Hatcher (fourth year at Paradise Honors)
Top Returnees: Brylee Bilger, Soph., C (.565, 22 RBI, 42 RBI); Ashlyn Buntin, Sr., OF (.460, 18 RBI, 12 SB); Ledezma Romero, Soph., C (.600, 28 runs)
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? The Lady Panthers have great attitudes, they concentrate on the task at hand, and they give 100 percent effort. They love to compete.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to continue to come together, and to play as one unit. A lot of new athletes this year.
Who are your team leaders? All the Lady Panthers are leaders. They are amazing young women, who will do amazing things, on and off the softball field.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? All new members of the Lady Panthers make an impact, as do all the returners. The Lady Panthers are 14 equal pieces that play as one.
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? To reach the state tournament, the Lady Panthers need to continue to grow into one solid unit, as opposed to 14 individual pieces. They need to compete every time they step foot on the field. They need have fun. Have positive team first attitudes, concentrate, and give the best effort they can.

Sunrise Mountain softball
Sunrise Mountain sophomore Kylee Messmer throws a pitch during a 4A playoff game against Rio Rico on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria. [Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps]

Sunrise Mountain Mustangs

5A Northwest Region
Coach: Jody Pruitt (20th year at Sunrise Mountain)
2018 Record: 22-5 (4A final eight)
Top Players: Kylee Messmer, Jr., P; Sydney Bickel, Jr., SS
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have a lot of heart.
Who are your team leaders? Sydney Bickel and Dallis Mitchell
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Freshman Skyla Mitchell
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We need to understand the importance of going to battle as a team. Pitching will need to continue to work hard to give our team a chance to win.

Valley Vista Monsoon

6A Southwest Region
2018 record: 14-10 (Did not reach playoffs)
Coach: Julie Medrano (first year at Valley Vista)
Top Returnees: Moira Mesola, Jr., C (.500, 28 RBI, 12 RBI); Kristin Deal, Sr., OF ( .534, 12 RBI)
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our big bats, our new hitting coach Tommy Downs has worked around the clock breaking down swings and preparing the team for success at the plate. Also his knowledge with teaching slap hitters how to read the defense to have beneficial at bats.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Our mental game needs to improve in order for us to be successful, being confident in ourselves, as well as playing as a team and gelling together will need to improve for success.
Who are your team leaders? Senior Kristin Deal, outfielder, slap hitter an impressive 31 hits in 64 plate appearances last season. Senior Trinity Nolan is a pitcher and right handed hitter who hits for power. Junior Moira Mesola Catcher speedy slap hitter with 27 stolen bases last season. Junior Paige Bryant is a returning varsity pitcher and outstanding outfielder.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? New to varsity but not the program Senior Abigail Gould will make a big difference at the plate for us as well as junior first baseman Josette Orion. We’ve also added five freshman that will play key roles for us this season. Kinisyn Hansford, Kayla Bryant, Abby Medrano, Abby Menor and Madison Vazquez. The level of talent in our freshman class is exciting for the growth of our program as well as our success this season.
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We need to be successful in the classroom to keep all of our great players on the field. We need to have great character and stay grounded through our ups and downs of the season and If we stick with our team first approach I believe we will be successful and reach our team goals.

Willow Canyon Wildcats

5A Deset West Region
2018 record: 18-13-1 (Reached final eight of 5A playoffs)
Coach: Donnie Tizzano (second year of second stint at Willow Canyon softball)
Top returnees: Mashayla Beltran, Sr., C/IF (.453, 27 RBI); Andraya Rhinehart, Sr., SS (.390, 15 RBI)
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our overall athleticism is our best attribute.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We’ll need to gain more experience. We have a young team that will continue to grow together and get better with more reps.
Who are your team leaders? Mashayla Beltran and Draya Rhinehart.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Tristen Turlington, Alannah Rogers, Jaedan Murphy, Samantha Farnsworth, Bella Serratos, Gabby Sublasky, Bre Gonzalez and Avie Luckey.
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We need to improve our team defense. Once we catch the ball, we need to make good decisions.



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