DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Donahey's softball versatility makes a difference

Megan Donahey is one of those all-purpose players that every successful softball team needs to have.
There are a number of ways that she can affect the outcome of a game.
The junior played a key role for Xavier on Monday (March 23) as the Gators earned a 4-1 victory over visiting Chandler Hamilton at Petznick Field.
Xavier now has a 14-4 record, while Hamilton slipped to 8-9.
Donahey helped out with her defense in center field, her bunting ability and her speed on the basepaths.
Meanwhile, junior Caitlyn Dickman pitched a strong game for the Gators, limiting Hamilton to four hits and carrying a shutout into the seventh inning.
Donahey figured prominently for the Gators when they broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third.
With two outs and courtesy runner Taylor Ford at first base after a single by catcher Emily Jordan, Donahey put down a bunt just in front of the plate. Since there were two outs, the play kind of caught Hamilton’s defense off-guard and the catcher threw the ball past first, down the right-field line and into the corner.
Ford scored easily and Xavier coach Bobby Pena, in his customary spot as the third-base coach, waved Donahey home and she scored with a quick slide.
“There was no way I was going to stop her (at third),’’ Pena said.
Donahey wasn’t sure where the ball was as she hustled down the first-base line, but saw first-base coach Joe Bogart waving his arms for her to continue running. Then she shifted her speed into an extra gear.
“I was lucky I got the chance to bunt. I guess they (Hamilton) didn’t expect it,’’ Donahey said.
Hamilton’s Tyra Craig hit a triple to center to lead off the sixth. Spectators thought the ball had bounced over for a ground-rule double, but the ball hit off the fence. Donahey could not stop her momentum as she went after the ball and crashed into the portable fence.
“I knew the ball was somewhere in front of me, and Amanda (Preach, right fielder) told me where it was, so that helped me get the ball back in. The outfielders are good about communicating,’’ Donahey said.
Donahey kept the run from scoring on the next play when she charged the ball hit to shallow center, made the catch and came up throwing. Dickman then got the next batter to pop to shortstop and then caught a line drive for the third out.
Hamilton scored its run in the seventh on an infield hit and a double after Xavier had taken a 4-0 lead with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on a leadoff home run by Preach and a run-scoring double by Dickman.
Donahey enjoys playing defense behind Dickman.
“She always does well,’’ Donahey said. “She’s got a good change-up and that can keep the batters from hitting the ball hard and allowing the defense to make the plays.’’
Said Xavier coach Bobby Pena: “It was a good win for us. They (Hamilton) are a solid team.’’

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