Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Tribute, softball win would have pleased Sr. Nancy



It was a special night for the Xavier Prep community and the school’s softball team.
In a game against visiting Anthem Boulder Creek at Petznick Field on Thursday (March 3), it was as if Sr. Nancy Perlick was throwing every pitch and taking every swing for the Gators.
Perlick, who was an XCP athletics administrator and was in charge of softball for several years, passed away in December. She was honored by a large, appreciative crowd before the game with the dedication of the press box in her name.
After a scoreless deadlock in the first three innings, Xavier opened things up with three runs in the fourth and the fifth and four in the sixth to signal the end of the contest on the 10-run rule in a 10-0 victory.

Boulder Creek Jaguars, left, and Xavier Gators line up for the pre-game National Anthem. (Photos by Chiara Minneci).

 Xavier’s record improved to 7-1 entering Friday’s (March 4) game at Phoenix Horizon.
Senior Caitlyn Dickman pitched a two-hitter and struck out seven against Boulder Creek. The Gators iced it in the sixth, highlighted by a two-run, inside-the-park home run by senior center fielder Megan Donahey and a solo shot over the fence that followed by senior shortstop Becky Ducar.
Sr. Nancy would have been pleased with the win and the pre-game festivities to honor her.
Xavier athletic director Sr. Lynn Winsor led the ceremony. Speakers included Sr. Nancy’s sister, Cindy Hoffman, former player Emma Bogart, current coach Carrie Markham, and Dickman and Donahey. The Xavier Honor Choir sang the National Anthem and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame’’ and the press box was blessed by Fr. Kevin Grimditch and Fr. Kevin Dilworth.
Fans were able to munch on complimentary hot dogs, Cracker Jack and cookies, and they were able to work those calories off by gyrating to one of Sr. Nancy’s favorite songs, “Build Me Up Buttercup’’ by the Foundations. It was played all night between innings.


Xavier parents and boosters enjoyed the thrill of the grill.

Valley sportscaster Daron Sutton had the good fortune to sit in Sr. Nancy’s public address-announcing chair and did an admirable job.

Sportscaster Daron Sutton (left), Sr. Joanie Nuckols and Vanessa Peinado worked the press box.
 Xavier’s three runs in the fourth came on an RBI triple by Ducar and sacrifice flies by Dickman and sophomore third baseman Marie Funes.
Three more runs scored in the fifth on a single by Ducar, a double by Dickman and a triple by senior Emily Richards that the Boulder Creek right fielder appeared to lose in the lights.
“You couldn’t have planned how this turned out any better,’’ Markham said. “The girls knew about this game for a while, and they were excited and nervous at the same time. Our program and players have had a lot of respect for Sr. Nancy.
“There maybe was a bit of pressure, but that’s one of the things we’ve been talking about, dealing with the pressure.’’
Boulder Creek’s Hilaria Stewart matched Dickman pitch for pitch over the first three innings and Markham said the Gators altered their hitting strategy a bit after that.
“It was a little different than we expected,’’ Markham said. “We talked about swinging quicker and sooner, hitting the ball hard.
“Caitlyn pitched really well. She was keeping their hitters off-balance. She doesn’t usually get a lot of strikeouts, but this was a good strikeout game for her.’’

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