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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pena returns to softball field after serious illness

Perhaps nobody was happier about Xavier Prep’s 5-3 Division I softball tournament win over Mesa Desert Ridge on Tuesday (May 5) than Gators long-time coach Bobby Pena.
It was his first day back at the helm after a very scary health situation.
In the hours following a road win over Mesa in the final regular-season game on April 28, Pena became ill and passed out due to dehydration.
It was very serious.
“They told me I had a problem with my lung and that my heart stopped briefly,’’ Pena said. “I don’t remember much from those five to seven hours. My wife (Regina) gave me (chest) compressions and probably saved my life. I am so grateful.’’
Pena re-charged his system with intravenous fluids and took it easy for the next week.
After the win over Desert Ridge, Pena said he wanted to be at the game to help and show support for the team, “because they have always supported me.
“I know there were a lot of people who were concerned, who were praying for me and I can tell you that I was definitely feeling those prayers,’’ Pena said.
Pena and the Gators will be back in action on Thursday night (May 7) at 7:30 with a game against Phoenix Horizon at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in north-central Phoenix.
According to athletic director Sr. Lynn Winsor, Pena has coached at Xavier for 10 years and has led the Gators to the state tournament each year.
“Bobby is a great coach,’’ Winsor said.

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