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, June 13, 2018

Girls fine-tune their softball skills during camp

Girls with a fondness for softball are getting a first-hand look at what the sport is all about as they participate in Xavier Prep’s annual summer softball camp this week.

The camp began on Monday (June 11) and wraps up on Thursday (June 14). Workouts ran from 8-11 a.m. each day. Fundamental instruction was held on XCP’s Petznick Field, and the second half of the day featured a game in the cooler climate of Vestar Hall.

Most  of the camp was led by varsity assistant Joe Bogart, JV coach Raul Vega and freshman coach Denise Macrina. Also helping out were two seniors-to-be for 2018-19, first baseman Makynlee Schmidt and second baseman Analisa Roman. The Xavier varsity will have a new head coach next spring, Brad Downes.

The daily agenda featured different elements every day. Throwing, fielding and hitting off tees.

One of the most important aspects to learn, according to Bogart, is baserunning. There is the decision whether to tag up on a fly ball, or be able to quickly return to the original base.

There were between 15-20 attendees, ranging from upper elementary school levels to incoming freshmen.

“In past years, we’ve been overloaded with one group or another, but this year we are pretty balanced and the younger players have been mixing well with the older ones,’’  Bogart said.

“They have all come in here with pretty good attitudes. It’s a chance to learn and have fun at the same time.’’

Bogart said that some of the players who have been in past summer camps eventually reached the varsity level.

A couple of catcher candidates received behind-the-plate instruction from Bogart.

“We want them to learn to become a “pitcher’s catcher,’ ’’ Bogart said. “You want to help your pitcher out in any way you can, including strike calls.’’

The final day on Thursday was to have a brief workout, followed by cooling off on the field with a Slip ‘n Slide water-slide device.

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