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, March 24, 2021

Battery charges up Gators to softball victory

 The pitcher can retire an opponent in any situation, with power and/or placement.

The catcher knows how to work with the pitcher, which pitches are working the best. And when she grabs a bat, she can hit the ball hard to any part of the field or beyond the fences.

This, softball followers, is what these two players are supposed to do, and why junior pitcher Riley Flynn and senior catcher Macy Lee are one of Arizona’s best batteries for Xavier Prep.

They were on top of their games on Tuesday (March 23) as Xavier rolled past visiting Chandler Basha 9-0 at Petznick Field.

Xavier has won its first four games to begin the season, all by shutout. Flynn has struck out 46 batters. Lee, who has signed a letter of intent with Michigan State, slugged three doubles and drove in three runs. And junior shortstop Bridget Donahey and junior second baseman Megan Schouten hit home runs.

Xavier’s victory over Basha was impressive considering that the Bears had defeated top-ranked Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor the day before. Xavier was third in those same rankings by and Basha (3-1) was ninth.

“The fact that they (Flynn and Lee) know each other well and have worked together for a long time and you take a look at their results . . . yes, I would put them up against anyone,’’ said XCP Coach Brad Downes.

Xavier is returning to the form that allowed them to post an 8-1 record in their first nine games last season before the Covid virus appeared. After that, work with club teams was hit and miss over the summer and players only were able to resume a portion of their normal routines during the fall months.

“We (coaches) are satisfied that we continue to make progress. We’re excited for the season,’’ Downes said. “The girls have worked really hard. They’re good.’’

Junior right fielder Elliot Smith supplemented Lee’s three-hit effort with three hits of her own.

In the third inning, Schouten followed a double by Lee with a double. She hit the ball through the hole between shortstop and third base and hustled into second with a head-first slide.

On defense, senior left fielder Sydney Johnson made two significant plays, one on a ball that went over her head and behind her and another on a line drive that came at her almost before she knew it.

The Gators’ next game comes on Tuesday (March 30) with a trip to face Gilbert Perry. The Pumas won their season opener over Tempe Corona del Sol and will play Glendale Cactus and Phoenix Desert Vista before taking on Xavier.



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