All-Tribune First Team
Player School Yr. Pos. Comment
Tess McPherson Notre Dame Sr. P Fought through injuries and won 19 games with eight shutouts, 252 Ks, 1.62 ERA; Signed with Texas Tech
Valerie Kaff Mountain View Jr. P Second in AZ with 22 wins and led Div. I with 301 K; 13 shutouts and 1.41 ERA; opponents hit .184 against her; Threw all but 20 innings this season
Jade Yost Apache Junction Sr. C Owns half-dozen school records after hitting .587 with six HR, 48 RBI, eighth triples and 1.240 Slugging; Headed to Yavapai College.
Kasey McCravey Desert Mtn. Sr. IF Broke her own single-season school record for hits (61) and added power (6 HR, 47 RBI); hit .508; Top-notch defender headed to West Point
Haley Culley Red Mtn. Sr. IF Speedster could swing, slap or bunt (.455 Avg., 52 runs, 9 SB) atop potent lineup; Dramatic defensive improvement at SS past three years
Nicole Newbury Horizon Sr. IF Sweet lefty-swing yielded .504, 25 RBI, 43 runs for state quarterfinalists
Aubrey Whitmer Mesa Sr. IF Four-year starter with twin sister, Sierra, hit .522 with 10 HR, 38 runs, 36 RBI, 1.089 slugging; Made two errors in 109 chances at SS
Payton Kornfeind Red Mtn. Sr. OF Speed demon with Culley hit school-record .547 to go with 17 SB and 51 runs
Siera Phillips Red Mtn. Sr. OF POY hit .455 with 45 runs and 47 RBI including two-run double in title game; went 13-0 with 1.40 ERA on mound for three-time state champs
Megan Ward Xavier Jr. OF Slugged 13 HR, 36 runs and 51 RBI with .933 slugging in CF
Jillian Leslie Perry Jr. Util POY candidate led Div. I with 18 home runs and whopping 1.074 slugging pct.; Sub-2.00 ERA on mound after not previously pitching
Kailey Regester Basha Sr. Util 26-4, 1.68 ERA; 198 K in 171 IP; hit .449, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 37 runs for Div. I runners-up
Dynsaty Lauvai McClintock Sr. DH .553 avg., .605 OBP, 1.026 SLG and 16 SB played five different positions and graduates with 10 school records for hitting
Player of the Year: Siera Phillips, Red Mountain
Coach of the Year: Rich Hamilton, Red Mountain: Successfully juggled his pitching staff and got the most from a couple key position changes to become first large-enrollment school to win three consecutive state championships.
All-Tribune Second Team
Player School Pos. Yr. Comment
Natalie Both Xavier P Sr. Under-the-radar ace of state quarterfinalists with 18-6 record and 2.14 ERA; Headed to Chapman University
Sierra Whitmer Mesa P Sr. 1.73 ERA with school-record 204 K, 8 SHO and .450 hitter with .821 slugging; Will join twin sister Aubrey at Southern Idaho
Elise Oldham Saguaro C Sr. A .561 hitter with 35 RBI and arguably best defensive catcher in Div. II while playing out of position (will play SS in college)
Courtney Rodriguez Seton Catholic IF Sr. .589 hitter with 34 RBI and great glove at 3B surrounded by young team; Headed to U of A
Kylie Shull Basha IF Jr. Arguably Bears’ best hitter after season of .421, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 35 runs for state runners-up
Ashley Palmer Desert Mtn. IF Sr. School-record 12 HR and 61 RBI with 36 runs and .968 fielding percentage; headed to Boise State
Marisa Stankiewicz Gilbert IF Jr. Moved to third base in terrific offensive/defensive IF with Dani Nelson and Alexa Redman; hit .458 with 36 RBI, 39 runs
Shea Palmer Pinnacle OF Sr. Uber-speedy leadoff hitter with .483 on-base, five triples, 16 SB and 40 runs; will play at Villanova this fall
Mandi Grebe Perry OF Sr. ASU-bound CF nearly flawless on defense, hit .477 with 9 HR and .865 slugging
Kelsey Montgomery Queen Creek OF Sr. Top-notch duo with teammate Amanda Baldwin; Hit .444 with 36 runs and played nearly every position
Bre Macha Red Mtn. Util. So. 14-2 with 1.24 ERA; .440 hitter with 10 HR despite not hitting for final three weeks w/ back injury;
Tamara Statman Horizon Util. Fr. Leadoff hitter with .421 average with 6 HR, 4 triples, 35 runs and big postseason; 16-9 record, 2.76 ERA and 217 K
Margaret Stahm Horizon DH Jr. .525 avg., 8 HR, 41 RBI, 45 runs, 10 walks and .822 slugging
Apache Junction: Hailey Gonwa, Jr., OF; Caitlin McDowell, So., P/IF; Autumn Rhodes, Sr., P/IF; Arcadia: Amanda Byler, Jr., IF; Shelby Koontz, Sr., OF; Alexis McKinn, Sr., IF.; Basha: Theresa Asta, Sr., DH; Courtney Hiruko, So., IF; Hailey Maher, So., IF; Hailee Siroky, So., C; Cactus Shadows: Kristin Hillier, Sr., IF; Megan Scarpulla, Sr., OF; Chandler: Jordan Blakesley, Sr., C; Kayla Escobar, Jr., IF; Kristal Whiteside, Sr., UT; Chaparral: Ashtyn Coleman, Jr., OF; Dallas McBride, So., P/IF; Hanna Mehok, So., OF; Corona del Sol: McKenna Isenberg, Jr., P; Lani Redmond, Sr., IF; Brianna Schrimpf, Jr. C; Abbey Spiel, Sr., OF; Paige Vallejos, Sr., C/IF; Desert Mountain: Rose Hannan, Sr., IF/OF; Lexi Pierson, Jr., OF; Andy Wellins, Jr., P; Desert Ridge: Jackie Hernandez, Jr., IF; Courtney O’Brien, So., UT; Alyssa Sanchez, Jr., IF; Desert Vista: Danielle Block, Sr., P; Ali Cerminara, Jr., C; Emily Panther, Sr., IF; Rebecca Perez, Jr., OF; Dobson: Jordan Barajas, Jr., IF; Amber Phipps, Jr., IF; Alyssa Thibodeau, So., OF; Gilbert: Alex Astorga, So., OF; Lynsey Duncan, Fr., P; Taylor McCord, So., C; Dani Nelson, So., IF; Alexa Redman, Sr., IF; Hamilton: Eliza Benitez, Sr., IF; Maddie McAfee, Fr., OF; Christine Olivas, So., OF; Sam Reynolds, So., OF; Jalyn Schollmeyer, Jr. IF; Highland: Kristen Gonzales, Sr., IF; Mariah Gonzales, Jr., IF; Ashley Moffatt, Sr., OF; Savannah Panell, Sr., C; Higley: Jenna Coates, Jr., C; Danielle Nelson, Sr., OF; Skylar Simpson, Fr., IF; Horizon: Katie Gore, Jr., IF/OF; Kaila Jacobi, Fr., OF; Horizon Honors: Mikaela Downs, Sr., C; Gina Garvey, Jr., IF; Shelby Sims, Sr., OF; Mesa: Lorelei Marie-Huber, Sr., OF; Mesquite: Alicia Enriquez, Sr., OF; McKensey Madsen, Jr., OF; Breona Peralta, Sr., OF; Dami Shone, Sr., IF; Mountain Pointe: Ciara Gonzales, Sr., P/IF; Hannah Hoban, Fr., C; Sabrina Martinez, Jr., IF; Mountain View: Aly Ramsaier, Sr., IF; Sidney Ryan, So., C; Kelli Wickerman, Sr., IF; Notre Dame: Nicole Bailey, Sr., UT; Lindsey Buckner, Sr., IF; Chloe Edmunds, Jr., OF; Lanie Shuba, Sr., UT; Paradise Valley: Sidney Coy, Jr., OF; Marissa Geith, Jr., C; Danali Johnson, Jr., IF; Alexis Nixon, Jr., IF; Mariah Valencia, So., P; Pinnacle: Dani Dockx, So., IF; Willow Kalinen, Jr., OF; Poston Butte: Cameron Cassinelli, So., P/IF; Samantha Costoldi, Jr., IF; Emily Lodge, Jr., IF; Queen Creek: Amanda Baldwin, Sr., P; Ryland Estrada, Jr., IF; Kelsey Jager, Sr., OF; Lexi Valenzuela, So., C; Red Mountain: Jordan Beck, So., C; Taylor Beeson, Jr., IF; Alyssa Fernandez, Fr., OF; Ashley Hill, So., IF; Marian Ruf, So., P; St. Mary’s: Jordan Huffman, Sr., P; Alyssa Madrid, Sr., OF; Saguaro: Dana Morris, So, OF; Jenna Nimtz, So., IF; Scottsdale Christian: Annie Fouts, Sr., IF; Erin Hayes, Jr., IF; Jenna Miller, So., IF; Seton Catholic: Vanessa Flores, Jr., IF; McKenna Wiegand, Jr., OF; Skyline: Bianca Gonzalez, So., UT; Destany Poulette, Jr., UT; Tempe Prep: Tierra Ellison, Fr., P; Monica LeBeau, Sr., C; Maddie Ternyik, Jr., IF; Valley Christian: Samantha Frank, Sr., IF; Janelle Hunt, Jr., IF; Larae Hunt, Jr., IF; Hannah Johnson, Jr., IF; Williams Field: Jessica Delawder, So., IF; Michelle Poe, Jr., IF; Xavier: Katie Appelbe, Sr., OF; Mallory Bellknap, Fr., OF; Lauren Johnson, Sr., IF; Katie Park, Sr., C.
Memorable Moments from the 2012 Season
Dynasty?: Much as Red Mountain might try — noting it’s a significantly different group of players each year — it’s difficult to argue against the “D” word after Red Mountain won a third consecutive big-school state championship. The Lions had a core group (Haley Culley, Bre Macha, Siera Phillips, Jordan Beck) which returned after being a huge portion of the 2011 championship team, and the Phillips/Macha combination on the pitcher’s mound set the Lions apart from the rest even while navigating through split innings and Macha’s back injury that cost her three weeks but returned and came up big in the postseason. This team’s original claim to fame: These Lions didn’t follow “The Red Mountain Way” as the Lions went through the winner’s bracket for the first time to win their fourth championship since the original divisional split in 2006.
Comeback kids: Struggles at the season’s start ultimately gave way to satisfaction for a few East Valley schools (Perry, Queen Creek, Mesa, Horizon, Horizon Honors), and No. 1 on the list might have been Valley Christian. Once a Class 2A power a couple years but which didn’t have enough players at tryouts (eight) to field a team. New coach (and Coach of the Year finalist) Jenni LaBlanc and a few experienced kids, led by Samantha Frank and sisters Janelle and Larae Hunt, recruited girls at the school, some of whom had never played softball before. With one-third of the roster brand new to the game, the Trojans went 14-11 and reached the Div. IV quarterfinals.
Ch-ch-ch-changes: Similar to the other sports, the first year of computer scheduling and new state tournament formats was a mixed bag. Most coaches loathed the computer-based geographical schedule which often didn’t take intra-division or intra-section matchups into consideration, and schools rarely played more than five or six schools within its respective section. Schools are hoping a change to playing each team once in its section (instead of twice) will help even out competitive schedule and allow for a true section champion. Conversely, the expansion of 24 teams with first-round byes in the Division I and II state tournaments, plus the move to having two rounds of single elimination games followed by double elimination for the final eight teams were both viewed as positives.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or (480) 898-6576.