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.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Gators give seniors something to remember

Four graduating seniors were honored on Senior Night after Xavier Prep’s 3-2 victory over visiting Mesa Red Mountain at Petznick Field.
They were center fielder Megan Donahey, shortstop Becky Ducar, pitcher-first baseman Caitlyn Dickman and pitcher-infielder Emily Richards.
Each played a role in the victory, as Xavier pulled this one out with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning when Dickman’s infield hit scored junior Annamarie Hartman.
Donahey drew a key intentional walk to load the bases with nobody out, setting up a force play at any base. Ducar, who had a single and scored the first XCP run in the first inning, hit a bouncer to the third baseman, who threw to the plate for the force.
Dickman then hit a skidding shot between first and second base. The second baseman lunged and caught the ball, but had no time to finish the play and the game was over. Even if she had thrown to first, the deciding run would have scored.
The rally allowed Richards to get credit for the victory, with three hitless innings in relief of Dickman, the starter. Richards walked two and struck out five. Her pitches seemed to have more velocity than in some of her recent outings.

Xavier's four seniors celebrated the softball team's 3-2 victory over Mesa Red Mountain on Friday night. From left, Megan Donahey, Emily Richards, Caitlyn Dickman and Becky Ducar. (Photo by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

 Red Mountain (22-9) scored a run in the first. The Gators (18-4), attempting to bounce back from a 6-2 loss at Mesa Desert Ridge on Wednesday (April 20), tied it when freshman Kylie Rodgers drove Ducar in with a single.
The Mountain Lions regained the lead 2-1 on a home run by Sierra Davis with one out in the fourth. Xavier made it 2-2 in the fourth when sophomore Melissa Fedorka brought home Rodgers with a single against Red Mountain freshman pitcher Hailey  Berry.
Xavier will play its final two regular season games on the road, against Peoria Liberty on Monday (April 25) and Mesa Mountain View on Tuesday (April 26). The Di vision I state tournament begins on April 30, and Xavier likely would host a first-round game.

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