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, April 21, 2016

Softball loss could be wake-up call for Gators

Sometimes, you just don’t have that magic. You have to regroup and move on.
The Xavier Prep softball team faces that issue after a 6-2 road setback to Mesa Desert Ridge on Wednesday (April 20).
Xavier, which had won seven in a row, including several on rallies, dropped to 17-4 overall. Desert Ridge raised its mark to 23-7.
Xavier will play its final regular-season home game on Friday (April 22) at 6 p.m. against Mesa Red Mountain. It will be Senior Night and Xavier’s four seniors will be honored.
Three walks led to three Desert Ridge runs in the second inning, and Xavier played catch-up the rest of the way. Only this time, the Gators’ late-game magic wasn’t there.
Probably the biggest factor was the pitching of Desert Ridge’s Bailey Klitzke. The left-hander gave up just one hit through the first 5 1/3 innings, including striking out the side in the fifth.
The Gators got to her for a couple of runs in the sixth on Caitlyn Dickman’s double, but Klitzke set XCP down in order in the seventh to finish it. Xavier finished with four hits.
“She mixed up her pitches pretty well,’’ said Xavier coach Carrie Markham.
“We had a rally, but it was not enough. We pushed it a little, but we weren’t consistent, hitting-wise. We also had too many defensive errors (three).
“So we need to learn from our mistakes. I guess it’s good that something like this happened now instead of in the (state) tournament. Once the tournament comes around and this same thing happens, we’re done.’’


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