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.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

XCP softball wins, remains in state tournament

Xavier Prep’s softball team could not find the right magic in the early going of its 6A Conference state tournament elimination game on Saturday IMay 4) against Scottsdale Chaparral at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in north Phoenix.

Three groundouts to third base, one to shortstop in the first four innings as the contest remained scoreless.

Finally, Gator freshman Riley Flynn broke the seal with her team’s first hit as she led off the bottom of the fifth with a single through the hole between third and short.

She later came home to score on a throwing error during a sacrifice bunt play by Elliot Smith, and Smith scored on a double by Meghan Schouten to give fourth-seeded Xavier all it would need in a 2-0 triumph over the No. 9 Firebirds.

Flynn also had a crucial effort in the pitching circle, giving up just one hit.

Xavier (17-4) will play again at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday (May 8) at Rose Mofford against the loser of a Tuesday night (May 7) winner’s bracket game between No. 3 Mesa Red Mountain and No. 7 Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.

“We were getting no-hit until that point (Flynn’s hit),’’ said Xavier coach Brad Downes. “We weren’t getting the good swings that we needed (against Chaparral freshman pitcher Sashi Sakai). We were getting jammed. So we had to play some small ball (with two sacrifices).’’

Flynn had some pitching trouble early on, issuing three of her four walks on the game, “but then she got dialed in a little better,’’ Downes said. “Her rise ball wasn’t really working, but she had a good drop and some good curves.’’

A 9-7 upset loss to No. 12 Tucson in the second round allowed reality to set in for the Gators, according to Downes.

“They are a competitive group and they have the belief they will be able to continue to play and do a lot,’’ he said.


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