There is practice speed. There is regular-season speed. And there is playoff speed.
In order for
a team, in this case, a softball team, to keep playing, it must figure out how
to shift gears and play at a higher level.
Prep’s fourth-seeded Gators did that on Tuesday (April 30), but it didn’t start
out that way in a 6A Conference state tournament game against No. 13 Queen
Creek at XCP’s Petznick Field.
The Gators allowed
the Bulldogs to score the first five runs of the game for a 5-0 lead in the
second inning, then came back for two runs in the third and five in the fourth
and held on for a 7-5 victory.
tournament now shifts to a double-elimination format, and Xavier (16-3) plays
another home game in the “A” bracket on Thursday (May 2) at 4 p.m. against No.
12 Tucson High, which posted a big 4-1 upset of No. 5 Perry in Gilbert on
A year ago,
Tucson defeated Xavier in a “play-in’’ game, preventing the Gators from
reaching the state tournament.
So now it’s
a new ballgame, with Xavier undergoing a major overhaul with an infusion of
promising young talent, particularly at the freshman level.
Riley Flynn is among that group, and she has performed well all season. Against
Queen Creek, however, she struggled in the early going.
Brad Downes looked out at the scoreboard to see his team’s deficit. While that
might have concerned some coaches, he said it did not bother him.
really worried,’’ he said. “It had been more than two weeks (April 12) since we
last played a game (against Chandler High). We had been swinging the bats well
in practice, but there is a different speed between that and a regular game, and
now a playoff game like this.
thing applies to Riley’s pitching. You saw that today. She started out trying
to get a feel for things, and we saw her improve and get stronger as the game
up five runs on five hits in the second inning, including a three-run home run
by Jaylei Brechler, but surrendered just two hits after that. She also
maintained her composure despite being called for illegal pitches a few times
by the umpires.
In the third,
Xavier had two runners on base with two outs after a single by Katie Donahey
and a double by Jazmin Andrade off the first baseman’s glove. Flynn then hit a
tapper back to the circle for what appeared would be an inning-ending out, but
the pitcher threw the ball very low over to first and it went for an error,
allowing both runs to score.
the Gators new life, and they took the lead in the fourth. Run-scoring hits by
Cameron Martin, Meghan Schouten, Andrade and Flynn would prove to be the
defeats Tucson, it would advance to the next round on Tuesday (May 7) at the
Rose Mofford Sports Complex in north Phoenix (7:30 p.m.) against either
top-seeded, defending state champion Phoenix Pinnacle or No. 9 Scottsdale
Chaparral. Pinnacle is coached by former Xavier coach Bobby Pena.
loses to Tucson, it would go to the loser’s bracket at Rose Mofford on Saturday
(May 4) at 1 p.m. against Pinnacle or Chaparral.