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 25, 2017

Xavier softball falls just short in bid for playoffs

It was fun while it lasted.
Xavier Prep’s softball team, teetering on the edge of a 6A Conference playoff spot until the last moment, instead will stay home after finishing 25th in the Arizona Interscholastic Association power rankings. The AIA announced the final rankings on Tuesday (April 25).
The top eight teams automatically qualify for the state tournament, and teams 9 through 24 in the rankings, will meet in “play-in’’ games on Wednesday (April 26). Winners of the play-in games advance to face the top eight in the state tournament.
Xavier was as high as No. 21 after a big 5-2 win over Chandler High on Thursday (April 20), but the Gators fell to Chandler 7-4 the next day on Friday (April 21), which helped to seal their fate. They dropped to 23 after that loss, then dropped two more spots after the regular season concluded on Monday (April 24).
The Gators would have had to finish 23rd to reach the play-in stage, because the 24th spot goes to Phoenix Trevor Browne. The Bruins finished 28th overall but get the last spot because they won the Metro Region and each region must have one representative in the tournament. The casualty of this format is Mesa Mountain View, which finished 24th but now has to sit out.
Xavier finished 8-15 under second-year head coach Carrie Markham.
The Gators lose three of their four infielders to graduation – shortstop Kaela Stehly, second baseman Macrina Zachar and third baseman Kelsey Melton – as well as center fielder Annamarie Hartman.
Returning players for 2018 are shortstop-outfielder Katie Banks, pitcher Kylie Rodgers, pitcher Mercedes Silva, catcher Jordan Bassett, outfielder Katie Donahey, infielder Cameron Martin, pitcher-outfielder Abby Rascon, third baseman Analisa Roman, first baseman-catcher Melissa Fedorka and pitcher Marisa Sgambati.

"Play-in'' games
(Seedings in parentheses)

Phoenix Trevor Browne (24) at Tempe Corona del Sol (9), Goodyear Millennium (17) at Scottsdale Desert Mountain (16), Phoenix Horizon (18) at Anthem Boulder Creek (15), Mesa Westwood (21) at Phoenix Mountain Pointe (13), Gilbert High (22) at Avondale Westview (11), Glendale Mountain Ridge (20) at Mesa Red Mountain (13), Mesa Dobson (19) at Tucson Rincon/University (14), Chandler Basha (23) at Tucson Sunnyside (10).


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