The Arizona Softball Coaches Association's Division I and II softball all-star games were held on Wednesday evening at Mesquite High School. The All-Star event is a way for standout senior players from around to the state to play one final game together before going off to college or other ventures.
The rosters were divided quasi-geographically by region, and the East Valley was well represented on all four rosters.
“It was really fun to get together with all the girls we always play against and come together for this game. We all had fun together.” Queen Creek infielder Raianna Dobbs said.
Dobbs is headed to Arizona State in the fall, but not before her and her Div. II South team beat the North, 9-2. Dobbs had a two-run hit and a sac fly that brought in another run. Her Queen Creek teammate, Amanda Baldwin, contributed an RBI single and pitched the final three innings for the win.
Baldwin is planning on walking on next year at BYU.
“It was a team event, we all contributed," Baldwin said. "Everyone hit and everyone made each other look good. I am going to miss Rianna next year when I go off to BYU. We have been playing together for a long time.”
Also on the South team was Danielle Nelson from Higley. Nelson scored a run in the seventh inning, a single and a stolen base.
Texas Tech-commit Tess McPherson (Notre Dame) started the game for the North and pitched a great first three innings. She allowed no runs with four strikeouts and allowed only one hit. Makaya McAdams from Tucson Ironwood Ridge was named the MVP of the Division II game.
Also on the North team was Kristin Hillier of Cactus Shadows, who won the first annual home run derby. She hit nine home runs in easily surpassing her closest competition, Abby Beasley of Peoria Centennial (four home runs). The derby contestants were chosen during Tuesday night's practices from the respective divisions.
The Division I game was much more competitive, but perhaps the biggest drama of the night came in the sixth inning when the home plate umpire was hit square in the chest by a Kailey Regester pitch.
Regester pitched the final three innings for the East and contributed an RBI double.
“It was fun to play in this event," she said. "It was fun to meet all the coaches and be a part of this.”
The MVP of the Division I game was Aubrey Whitmer of Mesa after she did the most damage offensively to lead the West to a 4-3 win over the East. She finished the game with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored. Aubrey is headed off to the College of Southern Idaho next year along with her twin sister, Sierra, who also played in the all-star event. Both are leaving Mesa High among the best players in school history.
“I was really confident in myself (Wednesday), and I was just looking for a good pitch that I could drive.” Aubrey said of her hitting. “At first I was really nervous, but by the end of the game I had a lot of fun. It was a nice thing to be a part of.”
Ciara Gonzales from Mountain Pointe got the start for the West team and pitched the first three innings before coming back in the seventh to record the game-ending strikeout with the bases loaded. Gonzales, who is headed to Santa Clara in the fall, finished with six strikeouts.
“I just wanted to come out and have a nice outing for my last time in a high school game.” Gonzales said. “That last out was kind of nerve-wracking.”
For the East, Kasey McCravey of Desert Mountain (West Point Academy) had a solo home run in the sixth inning. Red Mountain pitcher/outfielder Siera Phillips had a leadoff double in the first inning, followed an RBI double in the seventh inning to score Lions teammate Haley Culley, who won her third state championship in four career title game appearances last month.