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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

XCP softball glides past the Pride

Xavier Prep softball players will be happy to search for Easter eggs after putting scoreless eggs on the board for visiting Phoenix Mountain Pointe in a game on Wednesday (March 23) at Petznick Field.
The Gators had a strong comeback in the 9-0 victory, 24 hours after suffering a 9-8 setback against host Peoria Sunrise Mountain on Tuesday (March 22).
Senior pitcher Caitlyn Dickman and freshman Kylie Rodgers combined for a four-hitter as Xavier ran its record to 11-3 entering the Easter break.
Dickman and Mountain Pointe’s Danielle Farinas were locked in a scoreless duel through the first three innings.
Xavier scored the only run it would need in the fourth inning. Leadoff hitter Becky Ducar reached first on an infield error and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Marie Funes.
The floodgates opened in the fifth as the Gators scored five runs on six hits, along with an error.
Megan Donahey, Ducar, Emily Richards, Funes and Jordan Bassett each drove in a run in the frame.
Two more errors by the Pride and a hit by Ducar contributed to three more XCP runs in the sixth.
“The girls get disappointed when they lose, and that motivates them to come back,’’ said Xavier coach Carrie Markham. “Working to eliminate mistakes makes them mentally stronger.’’
Asked that allowed the Gators to break the game open, Markham said, “We started executing our short game, reading their defense. They were playing us way back.’’
Markham said the team will have limited practices during the break, due in part that some of the players will be out of town with their families.
The Gators were due to play three games in their first week back, but one of those, a road contest at Scottsdale Desert Mountain, has been moved from April 6 to April 14. In the first week, Xavier will play home games against Gilbert High on April 5 and Gilbert Highland on April 8.

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