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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Softball comebacks becoming routine for XCP



They did it again.
In what has become commonplace for the Xavier Prep softball team, the Gators dug themselves out of a hole against host Chandler Hamilton on Tuesday (April 19) and picked up a 10-7 victory.
Xavier has played 20 games and won 17 of them, quite a feat. The Gators don’t have much time to relish their win, because they have another long trip on Wednesday (April 20) to Mesa Desert Ridge, which is a quality team in its own right at 22-7. First pitch is 4 p.m.
The Gators will play their final regular-season home game at Petznick Field on Friday (April 22) at 6 p.m. against Mesa Red Mountain.
XCP took a 2-0 first-inning lead against Hamilton when Annamarie Hartman led off with a walk and scored on a two-out home run by starting pitcher Caitlyn Dickman.
But the Huskies outdid the Gators in their half of the first, scoring six runs on four hits with two Xavier errors for a 6-2 lead.
Dickman, Kylie Rodgers and Kelsey Melton each drove in a run in the third inning as the Gators sliced their deficit to 6-5. Dickman, who was one of azcentral.com’s Top 10 performers for last week, tied it up with an RBI double in the fourth.
Hamilton took the lead again, 7-6, with a run in the bottom of the fourth.
Dickman continued to persevere, allowing just one hit over the final three innings.
Xavier, meanwhile, scored three times in the sixth with Becky Ducar, Dickman and Emily Richards collecting RBIs. And in the seventh, the Gators added an insurance run with the help of a Hamilton error.
Xavier coach Carrie Markham said she considered the idea of bringing Rodgers in in relief of Dickman, and even had her warm up on the side. Markham said she knew Dickman wanted to finish it, although she said Dickman is not the type of player to be vocal about it.
“As the game goes on, the hitters usually catch on to what a pitcher is trying to do,’’ Markham said. “That didn’t happen after that first inning. Caitlyn was keeping them off-balance.’’
Even when Hamilton grabbed that early lead, Markham said she wasn’t worried, “because we’re a good-hitting team and can get those runs back.’’
Now it’s on to Desert Ridge.
“I told the girls (after the game) that we need to carry this momentum over to the next game,’’ Markham said.


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