Danielle Block

Desert Vista graduate Danielle Block was one of the vital players in the Thunder's run to the postseason.

By Darryl Webb, AFN

The softball season was one of wonder in Ahwatukee Foothills.

Both programs at Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista have struggled over the years, one of the few sports where at least one of the schools isn’t considered a state contender each year.

That started to change in 2012 as the Thunder won 19 games, advanced in the postseason, and showed tremendous improvement.

The Pride chased .500 all season and nearly made the expanded 24-team field in the Division I postseason before a late season slump ended it.

It led to one of the more successful softball seasons — including Horizon Honors qualifying for the Division III postseason — in a long time.

The benefit of that is getting recognized in the postseason awards as four players from Desert Vista and three from Mountain Pointe were selected as All-Tribune honorable mention picks.

The Thunder was led by senior pitcher Danielle Block, senior infielder Emily Panther, junior catcher Ali Cerminara, and junior outfielder Rebecca Perez.

“Danielle has been our top pitcher and has improved every year, but a lot of times (in years past) her pitching went to waste,” Desert Vista coach Chris Crowl said during the season. “Now we have the offense to back her up. She doesn’t have to be perfect. She can give up a run or two and still win. That wasn’t the case before.”

Block went 18-11 with a 1.93 ERA in 196 innings, while Panther did whatever was asked of her as she hit .556 with four home runs and 35 RBIs.

Cerminara hit .394 with four home runs and 30 RBIs, while Perez scored 36 runs and hit .412.

The Pride’s top player was senior Ciara Gonzales, who is headed to Santa Clara to continue playing. She had a .409 batting average and 27 RBIs while going 6-6 on the mound with a save and a 2.35 ERA in 95 1/3 innings.

Freshman catcher Hannah Hoban had a team-best .415 average with 11 doubles and 16 RBIs, while junior first baseman Sabrina Martinez hit .368 with 26 runs.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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