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, May 12, 2021

Grand slam and other booming bats help Gators

 Any doubts of how Tuesday’s (May 11) 6A Conference softball semifinal might end were put to rest as top-seeded Xavier Prep scored 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to defeat No. 8 seed Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor, 12-2, with the 10-run rule in effect.

Xavier (17-2) now moves on to a semifinal game at Petznick Field on Thursday (May 13) against No. 4 Phoenix Pinnacle (15-5). First pitch is at 4:05 p.m.

The Gators defeated Pinnacle, 4-3, in the final regular season game for both teams on May 5 at Pinnacle, which is coached by former Xavier head coach Bobby Pena.

The key to Xavier’s big offensive outburst against Sandra Day O’Connor in the fifth inning was a grand slam by junior Emma Petersen. That gave Xavier an 11-2 lead.

Another essential hit for the Gators was produced by senior Jazmin Andrade, who connected for a two-run double. Andrade also drove in a third run earlier in the game with a home run.

Junior pitcher Riley Flynn earned the victory, giving up two runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

Thursday’s semifinal winners will advance to the 6A state championship game on Monday (May 17) at the University of Arizona’s Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson. The other semifinal will feature No. 11 Surprise Shadow Ridge and No. 7 Mesa Red Mountain.

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