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, April 27, 2015

Gator softball struggles, but doesn't panic

Xavier Prep’s softball team has lost two of its last three games, but it is not a time to panic. The Gators, who fell 2-1 to Phoenix Horizon on Friday (April 24) and 3-0 to Glendale Mountain Ridge on Monday (April 27), have one regular-season game remaining, a road encounter at Mesa High on Tuesday night (April 28). Xavier is 22-6 entering the finale.
After that, the Gators will wait until Thursday (April 30), when the Arizona Interscholastic Association releases its Division I state tournament brackets at 2:30 p.m.
From that point, all the games in the double-elimination tournament will have the same feel as the games against highly regarded Horizon and top-ranked Mountain Ridge. Xavier, formerly ranked No. 1 by, was fourth in the Web site’s final rankings released Monday.
Xavier still should gain a first-round bye and host a second-round game on May 5 before the tournament shifts to the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in north-central Phoenix.
Against Mountain Ridge (23-4) on Monday, XCP’s Caitlyn Dickman was locked in a scoreless duel with the Mountain Lions’ Giselle Juarez. The powerful left-hander was coming off an impressive 2-0 shutout of Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor on Friday.
Payton Alsobrooks blooped a single to left field to lead off the Mountain Ridge fifth and scored when fellow sophomore Riley Seegan hit a two-run homer to left for a 2-0 lead. The Mountain Lions scored their final run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Alsobrooks.
Juarez gave up just four hits, while Dickman surrendered eight.
Xavier survived an injury scare when third baseman Sam Sydenham collided with a Mountain Ridge middle infielder in the second inning on a steal attempt, but she returned to action in the fourth.

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