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.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Gators enter state softball as No. 1 seed

 Fortunately, Xavier Prep’s Gators will never know if a loss at Phoenix Pinnacle on Wednesday (May 5) in the regular season finale would have cost them the top seed in the 6A Conference state tournament that begins on Saturday (May 8).

A two-run rally in the top of the fifth inning took care of that, as the Gators finished it off with a 4-3 victory to cap a wild final week that also saw XCP defeat Mesa Red Mountain and Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor on Monday (May 3) and Tuesday (May 4), respectively.

So now Xavier, officially announced as the top team in 6A by the Arizona Interscholastic Association at midday on Thursday (May 6) will open play on Saturday at 10 a.m. against No. 16 Yuma Cibola (14-4).

The winner will advance to a quarterfinal game on Tuesday (May 11) against either Mesa Desert Ridge or Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor. The quarterfinals and semifinals on May 13 will be hosted by the highest seeds.

And the state championship game will be held May 17 at Arizona State’s Hillenbrand Stadium.

Key offensive factors for Xavier against Pinnacle were senior catcher Macy Lee and junior shortstop Bridget Donahey. Lee had three hits, including a pair of doubles, and drove in two runs. Donahey had one hit, and it was a run-scoring double.

Xavier coach Brad Downes used his three pitchers in the contest.

Sophomore Zoe Zowine started the game and pitched four innings, giving up three runs on two hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts. Junior Emma Petersen was next, pitching two innings while giving up one hit, a walk and striking out two.

Ace Riley Flynn stepped into the circle for the seventh inning, with a win for the team and a save for her there for the taking. She gave up one hit but had no other trouble to get the save.

6A Conference state softball tournament

First round, Saturday, May 8

All games, 10 a.m.

(Seedings in parentheses)

Yuma Cibola (16) at Xavier Prep (1), Mesa Desert Ridge (9) at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor (8), Chandler Basha (12) at Phoenix Sunnyslope (5), Mesa Mountain View (13) at Phoenix Pinnacle (4), Gilbert Perry (14) at Queen Creek (3), Surprise Shadow Ridge (11) at Phoenix Desert Vista (6), Scottsdale Chaparral (10) at Mesa Red Mountain (7), Tempe Corona del Sol (15) at Chandler Hamilton (2).



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