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.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Softball not easy when you're freezing

Spectators and players were frozen due to blustery conditions and so was the score as Xavier Prep’s softball team finished with its second 8-8 tie in as many days on Friday (Feb. 23) in the Sunrise Mountain Tournament at Pioneer Park in Peoria.

The Gators tied Peoria Centennial after opening tournament play on Thursday (Feb. 22) with an 8-8 tie against Glendale Raymond S. Kellis and a 4-2 loss to Surprise Shadow Ridge.

Xavier was due to play one, perhaps two more games, as the tourney winds down on Saturday (Feb. 24), again at Pioneer Park.

Xavier scored twice in the first inning and four more times in the second for what appeared to be a comfortable lead against Centennial.

Mercedes Silva looked good in the early going in the pitching circle, particularly since she was making her third start of the tournament.

But Centennial rallied for an 8-6 lead by scoring eight runs in the fourth inning, including a wind-blown solo home run. With a time limit looming, Xavier scored twice to tie it and was getting close to winning it before leaving the bases loaded in its half of the fourth.

Xavier coach Carrie Markham is using this tournament to judge her players in more competitive situations, moving them around to different positions in the process to determine their versatility.

The Gators won’t have much time to rest up as they jump directly into 6A Conference Premier Region play during the coming week. They play back-to-back road games against Gilbert Perry and Chandler Hamilton on Monday (Feb. 26) and Tuesday (Feb. 27), respectively.

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