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, April 18, 2018

Near triple play for XCP softball, but Hamilton rules

Xavier Prep’s softball team on Tuesday (April 17) saw why Chandler Hamilton has won two straight Division I state championships and is a strong favorite to win a third.

Hamilton flexed its muscles, hitting four home runs, and got a solid pitching effort from freshman Loganne Stepp in a 12-1 victory at Petznick Field.

Hamilton, which also defeated the Gators 11-0 on Feb. 27, climbed to 27-1, while the Gators dropped to 3-14-2.

Hamilton scored its first run in the opening inning, but Xavier prevented more with what was the top defensive play of the game.

With no outs and runners at first and second, here is how the play unfolded . . .

Left-handed hitter Abigail Andersen hit a line drive to Gators first baseman Melissa Fedorka. She caught the ball, stepped on first for the second out and threw to shortstop Katie Donahey at second to try to catch the runner there. The throw and tag were just a fraction of a second late in the base umpire’s view – otherwise, Xavier would have had a triple play.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Xavier cut the Huskies’ lead to 3-1 when catcher Jordan Bassett slugged a home run to center field on the first pitch she saw.

The Huskies made it 6-1 with three in the fifth and put the game out of reach with six more in the seventh.

Stepp showed she will be a force for Hamilton for quite some time, limiting the Gators to four hits in six innings while striking out 11. Katelyn Woodard worked the seventh inning.

Catcher Macy Simmons led the home run parade for Hamilton, sending two balls over the fence. Taylor Gindlesperger and Adhya Tandon also connected.

Xavier will play back-to-back games against Chandler High on Thursday (April 19) and Friday (April 20), the first at Chandler and the second at Xavier. The Gators will finish their season on Monday (April 23) with a home game against Gilbert Perry.

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