Salpointe’s Gianna Mares joins elite list of Southern Arizona repeat state title pitchers

Gianna Mares was the ace and winning pitcher of Salpointe’s last two state title teams, a span in which the Lancers went 67-3 under coach Tricia Sztan (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

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.


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.

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.”


Table indicates schools that won consecutive state titles with their classification, head coach and starting pitcher. Note: 2020 season canceled due to COVID-19.
YearClassCoachWinning Pitcher
20172AYogi WilsonKatie Sherman
20182AYogi WilsonKatie Sherman
YearClassCoachWinning Pitcher
20074A-IAmy SwiderskiKenzie Fowler
20084A-IAmy SwiderskiKenzie Fowler
20094A-IAmy SwiderskiKenzie Fowler
20114A-IKelly FowlerMattie Fowler
2012D-IIStephanie NicholsonKayla Bonstrom
YearClassCoachWinning Pitcher
20175AEric TathamMariah Lopez
20185AEric TathamMariah Lopez
YearClassCoachWinning Pitcher
19981ABill MotenTiffany Dawson
19991AGerald DawsonTiffany Dawson
YearClassCoachWinning Pitcher
19995AArmando QuirozAshley Monceaux
20005AArmando QuirozAshley Monceaux
YearClassCoachWinning Pitcher
20193AChris StainerDanielle Kirchofer
20213AKyle HowellRiley Nielson
20223ACyndi CubillasRiley Nielson
20233ACyndi CubillasAvery Nielson
YearClassCoachWinning Pitcher
19845AJim HigginsKristy Liechty
19855AJim HigginsNicole Sandstede
19885ABilly LopezKassandra Liechty
19894A/5ABilly LopezKimberly Currier
19915ABilly LopezGreta Carlson
19924ABilly LopezJennifer McMahon
19934ABilly LopezJennifer McMahon
YearClassCoachWinning Pitcher
19794ASheila BaizeCindy Trejo
19804ASheila BaizeCindy Trejo
19813ASheila BaizeAlice Altamirano
19823ASheila BaizeTammy Zerga
2013D4Deanne BrewerLyana Waddell
2014D4Deanne BrewerLyana Waddell
YearClassCoachWinning Pitcher
20184AAmy Baray RochaAlyssa Aguilar
20194AAmy Baray RochaAlyssa Aguilar
20214AAmy Baray RochaAlyssa Aguilar
20224ATricia SztanGianna Mares
20234ATricia SztanGianna Mares


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.

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