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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Big home run is difference as Gators fall

After a scoreless first three innings for both teams on Tuesday (March 21), Xavier Prep’s softball team took a 1-0 lead over visiting Phoenix Horizon.
That didn’t necessarily make XCP coach Carrie Markham breathe any easier.
“I knew that it was going to take more than one run to win,’’ she said.
Markham was correct, but unfortunately for the Gators, they weren’t the team that would score more than once.
It all changed in the top of the sixth, when Horizon first baseman and cleanup hitter Makenna Woods bashed a three-run home run, and the Huskies went on to post a 3-1 victory at Petznick Field.
Horizon raised its record to 6-8. Xavier had hoped to reach the .500 level with a win, but instead dropped to 5-7. The Gators were to have a quick turnaround, playing host to Tucson Sunnyside (5-5) on Wednesday (March 22) at 3:45 p.m.
The Horizon pitching duo of Ashley Guilmette and Morgan Leinstock combined to limit Xavier to just two hits. The Gators had been hitting the ball well and often in their previous back-to-back victories, but seemed to slide a bit back into struggles.
Markham said she hoped that wasn’t an omen, but that it was simply attributable to the ups and downs of the season.
Guilmette has more of a traditional pitching style, while Leinstock, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, used her repertoire of spins and darts to keep the Gators off balance. As she prepares to deliver the pitch, she bends herself almost in half and then unfolds.
“She didn’t have overpowering speed, but she made our hitters think,’’ Markham said.
Melissa Fedorka drove in Xavier’s only run in the fourth with a single, scoring Kaela Stehly.

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