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 17, 2021

New softball season begins on powerful note

 Now, where were we?

It seemed like last year when we were following the exploits of Xavier Prep’s softball team.

And we were – it has been a full year. The Gators had won eight of their first nine games before the dreaded Covid virus hit.

No more season for softball or any other spring teams.

Now things have quieted down, sort of, and the spring athletes are back at it.

Softball played its first game of the regular season on Tuesday (March 16) at Phoenix Alhambra.

The Gators took out a year’s worth of frustration with a 21-0 victory in five innings.

Alhambra did not get any hits against the XCP pitching staff, led by junior Riley Flynn, while the Gators’ offense came through in a big way. Junior second baseman Meghan Schouten hit a two-run home run in an 11-run first inning. And junior Emma Petersen hit a two-run double in a six-run second.

The Gators are due to face much more of a test in their home opener at Petznick Field on Wednesday (May 17).

Phoenix Desert Vista is the opponent, and the Thunder have already sent a message out to the rest of Arizona’s softball community that they expect to be a contender for the 6A Conference title.

The Thunder feature sophomore pitcher Jocelyn Briski, who opened the season on Tuesday by tossing a no-hitter against Chandler High, with 19 strikeouts.

Xavier will play a second home game this week on Friday (March 19) against Scottsdale Chaparral.

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