Salpointe senior Gianna Mares became the 11th pitcher on a team from Southern Arizona who earned consecutive state championships when she pitched a complete-game 2-0 victory over Phoenix Greenway in the 4A title game Tuesday night at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Mares’ performance followed her victory last year against CDO in which she went the distance in a 10-7 win.
“It’s just an incredible feeling to know that we did that as a team,” Mares said of the win over Greenway in which she outdueled UCLA-bound Kaitlyn Terry. “It just meant so much for all of us. It meant so much for our senior class. It was just a special night to end my senior year like that.”
The left-hander allowed two hits in the shutout with seven strikeouts and four walks. She worked out of situations with runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings. She also scored on a bunt single and three-base error in the sixth inning to increase the lead to 2-0.
IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
Southern Arizona high school pitchers with consecutive state titles:
Cindy Trejo, San Manuel, 1979-80
Jennifer McMahon, Sahuaro, 1992-93
Tiffany Dawson, Desert Christian, 1998-99
Ashley Monceaux, Flowing Wells, 1999-2000
Katie Sherman, Benson, 2017-18
Kenzie Fowler, CDO, 2007-09
Lyana Waddell, San Manuel, 2013-14
Mariah Lopez, Cienega, 2017-18
Alyssa Aguilar, Salpointe, 2018-19, 2021*
Riley Nielson, Sabino, 2021-22
Gianna Mares, Salpointe, 2022-23
* 2020 season canceled due to COVID-19.
CDO’s Kenzie Fowler (2007 to 2009) and Salpointe’s Alyssa Aguilar (2018-2019 and 2021) are the only pitchers who have achieved three straight titles.
Aguilar’s opportunity for four straight titles was affected by the 2020 season canceled because of COVID-19.
Fowler, the former Arizona great, winning four consecutive championships did not materialize because when she was a freshman the Dorados lost 1-0 to the nation’s No. 1-ranked team Glendale Cactus in the championship.
Fowler allowed four hits and recorded 13 strikeouts with no walks in the pitcher’s duel with Katie Halvorson, who went on to pitch at Nevada.
Gianna Mares @schssoftball_ @byusoftball pic.twitter.com/S86KyWe2m9
— Andy Morales (@AndyMorales8) May 17, 2023
Aguilar and Mares will be teammates again at BYU next season.
Aguilar played one season at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before transferring to BYU before this school year. She pitched in five games with one start for the Cougars this season.
Salpointe Class of 2024 standout first baseman Anyssa Wild and catcher Jae Castillo will join Aguilar and Mares at BYU as freshmen in the 2025 season.
BYU assistant coach Todd Judge, who resides in Oro Valley, is the co-founder and former head coach of Oro Valley Sun Cats Softball club. He is the third base coach, recruiting coordinator and strength and conditioning advisor for the Cougars.
“I’m so excited (about playing at BYU),” Mares said. “I’m so excited for all the girls. I love the coaches. I love the energy, the environment. It’s just going to be so much fun.”
SOUTHERN ARIZONA SOFTBALL REPEAT CHAMPIONSTable indicates schools that won consecutive state titles with their classification, head coach and starting pitcher. Note: 2020 season canceled due to COVID-19.
|2017||2A||Yogi Wilson||Katie Sherman|
|2018||2A||Yogi Wilson||Katie Sherman|
|2007||4A-I||Amy Swiderski||Kenzie Fowler|
|2008||4A-I||Amy Swiderski||Kenzie Fowler|
|2009||4A-I||Amy Swiderski||Kenzie Fowler|
|2011||4A-I||Kelly Fowler||Mattie Fowler|
|2012||D-II||Stephanie Nicholson||Kayla Bonstrom|
|2017||5A||Eric Tatham||Mariah Lopez|
|2018||5A||Eric Tatham||Mariah Lopez|
|1998||1A||Bill Moten||Tiffany Dawson|
|1999||1A||Gerald Dawson||Tiffany Dawson|
|1999||5A||Armando Quiroz||Ashley Monceaux|
|2000||5A||Armando Quiroz||Ashley Monceaux|
|2019||3A||Chris Stainer||Danielle Kirchofer|
|2021||3A||Kyle Howell||Riley Nielson|
|2022||3A||Cyndi Cubillas||Riley Nielson|
|2023||3A||Cyndi Cubillas||Avery Nielson|
|1984||5A||Jim Higgins||Kristy Liechty|
|1985||5A||Jim Higgins||Nicole Sandstede|
|1988||5A||Billy Lopez||Kassandra Liechty|
|1989||4A/5A||Billy Lopez||Kimberly Currier|
|1991||5A||Billy Lopez||Greta Carlson|
|1992||4A||Billy Lopez||Jennifer McMahon|
|1993||4A||Billy Lopez||Jennifer McMahon|
|1979||4A||Sheila Baize||Cindy Trejo|
|1980||4A||Sheila Baize||Cindy Trejo|
|1981||3A||Sheila Baize||Alice Altamirano|
|1982||3A||Sheila Baize||Tammy Zerga|
|2013||D4||Deanne Brewer||Lyana Waddell|
|2014||D4||Deanne Brewer||Lyana Waddell|
|2018||4A||Amy Baray Rocha||Alyssa Aguilar|
|2019||4A||Amy Baray Rocha||Alyssa Aguilar|
|2021||4A||Amy Baray Rocha||Alyssa Aguilar|
|2022||4A||Tricia Sztan||Gianna Mares|
|2023||4A||Tricia Sztan||Gianna Mares|
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.