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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

XCP routs Liberty, looks for good spot at state

It took a while, but Xavier Prep’s bats came alive late in the game, finishing with a flourish for a windy 11-3 victory over host Peoria Liberty on Monday (April 25).
The Gators held a 4-3 lead entering the seventh inning and put the game away with seven runs in the frame, including a two-run home run by freshman Kylie Rodgers, the first of her career.
One final regular-season game remained for Xavier, at Mesa Mountain View on Tuesday (April 26). A victory would give the Gators their 20th win in 24 tries and put them in a good spot for the approaching Division I state tournament.
Xavier was rated fifth among D-I teams entering Tuesday, and Gators coach Carrie Markham was hoping a win over Mountain View would move the team up one spot.
Even if Xavier remains at No. 5, they still would get a first-round bye (the top eight have byes). The tournament begins Saturday (April 30), but the Gators would not play until May 3, when they would host a second-round game.
If they are the No. 4 seed, they would play the winner of Saturday’s game between the 20th and 13th seeds. If they are the No. 5 seed, they would play the winner of Saturday’s game between the 21st and 12th seeds. Seeding will be announced by the Arizona Interscholastic Association on Thursday afternoon (April 28).
Xavier scored twice against Liberty (6-19) in the third inning after neither team scored in the first two innings. Liberty battled back for a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third, two runs coming on a home run by shortstop Rebecca Woolf.
The Gators took a 4-3 lead in the fourth on a run-scoring triple by Megan Donahey and a Liberty error.
In the seventh, the Gators scored seven runs on six hits and two errors. It included RBIs from Macrina Zachar, Annamarie Hartman, Donahey, Becky Ducar and the home run by Rodgers.
The game also featured a rarity. Both starting catchers – Xavier’s Melissa Fedorka and Liberty’s Kalli Tutrone, throw left-handed.
Markham said Rodgers had been hitting the ball hard in practice and that “it was only a matter of time’’ before she produced a big hit.
Caitlyn Dickman entered the game in relief and pitched the final four innings, giving up just two hits.
“She did a really good job,’’ Markham said.

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