The high school softball regular season started in Feb. 23. West Valley Preps asked coaches in Glendale and Peoria to take a look at their teams:
4A West Valley Region Coach: Gabriel Venegas (Second year as Cactus head coach) 2022 Record: 10-14, 7-3 region Top Returnees: Brooke McAnerney, Sr., CF/1B (.396, 12 runs); Jacqueline Carpenter, Sr., 3B/2B (.333, 11 RBI, 14 runs) What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our Best attribute is that we are willing to work together, and we are working hard to improve each day. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Mature we are so young. Who are your team leaders? Senior Brooke McAnerney Junior Shelby Teasley and Sophomore Leilani Diaz. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Leilani Diaz is going to solidify our infield. Ciara Anthony is going to up all the pitching duties and Charley Enos her presence and knowledge only helps. The latter two are freshmen and Leilani is a sophomore. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? Last year we fell short by a game. I think the girls are hungry and they want to work towards the goal of making state. I believe that they will get there. They just have to believe in themselves
Deer Valley freshman catcher Kyla Decker low fives Skyhawks coach Taylor Haegle after hitting a home run during Deer Valley's win April 5, 2022 at Cactus. (Courtesy Ed Russell Photography/For West Valley Preps)
Deer Valley Skyhawks
4A West Valley Region Coach: Taylor Hagele (fifth year as Deer Valley coach)
2022 Record: 19-9, 9-1 region (Reached 4A play-in) Top Returnees: Alex Hess, Sr., SS/P (.408, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 3.23 ERA, 3-4, 47 K in 34 2/3 innings) Adyson Ordway, Soph., P/SS (.389, 26 RBI, 2.54 ERA, 13-3, 123 K in 102 innings) What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Senior leadership has a major attribute going into this season. They’ve set goals and they’re ready to accomplish them! The coachability and work ethic from all of my girls has also been huge. They come out ready to work every practice and are getting better every day. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to be aggressive at the plate. We also have some newbies who need a little time to get comfortable and for our team to mesh; that will take some time. Who are your team leaders? Seniors: Alex Hess (P), Rylee Wieters (1B/OF), and Jailey Baird (SS/3B) Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? I have three newbies this year: Brooklynn Wills (So.), Kaitlin Creley (So.), and Miley Hawkins (Fr.). All three of them have been extremely coachable and understand their roles on this team. I’m excited to see how much they grow throughout this season. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? Girls want to win region and get past first round of state playoffs. For this to happen, our defense has to minimize the errors and mental mistakes, we need to be aggressive in the box, and my team has to come together. We’re on the right track to make these goals happen, but we have some work to do if we’re going to accomplish it. I have no doubt these girls will get the job done if they want it bad enough! I’m anxious to see how they perform this year.
Sunrise Mountain Mustangs
5A Northwest Region Coach: Kristin Monk (first year as Sunrise Mountain head coach) 2022 Record: 14-8, 8-2 (Reached 5A play-in) Top Returnees: Camryn Davis Sr., P/1B; Sadie Sua Sr., P/UT What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our best attributes this season our teams chemistry, our work ethic and our willingness to get stronger and better each day. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to learn to play together as a team better, once we can play for each other big things will happen. Every pitch, every out, every throw, every inning, and every player truly matters. Who are your team leaders? Sadie Sua (senior), Cam Davis (senior), Kadence Courtright (senior) Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Phoenix Avey (freshman), Shae Kelly (freshman), Anisa Garcia (freshman) Keira Martin (junior), Ashley Khamis (senior). What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? To be successful this year, we need to continue play the game that we know and love. Each girl must believe in each other and buy into what they can contribute to the team. We have to play for each other and find joy when we succeed as a whole not just as individuals. We have to continue to be aggressive on the bases and playing every out like it could be our last.