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.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Gator softball falls short against Pinnacle

 It was one of those days when no matter what your team tries to do, the opponent seems to be a step ahead.

And Xavier Prep’s softball team couldn’t get going as visiting Phoenix Pinnacle scored a mild 3-1 upset of the defending 6A Conference state champions at on Thursday (May 10) at Petznick Field.

Xavier dropped to 8-2 while Pinnacle’s record is now 7-4. Xavier turns around and plays a road game on Friday at 3:45 p.m. against Scottsdale Chaparral (3-7).

The Gators held a precarious 1-0 lead after three innings.

Second baseman Lauren Putz hit an opposite-field single through the hole between third base and shortstop, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored when first baseman Emma Petersen hit a slow infield roller and beat the throw to first.

Meanwile, Xavier ace senior pitcher Riley Flynn and Pinnacle senior Reis Beuerlein were involved in quite a duel. It wasn’t that Flynn threw poorly, but more that Beuerlein threw a bit better.

Beuerlein gave up just four hits, one run and struck out 10 to earn the victory. Flynn gave up all three Pinnacle runs, eight hits and struck out five. The loss was her second of the season.

Beuerlein also excelled with the bat, collecting a pair of hits and driving in a run in a two run fifth inning. Freshman Payton Crank drove in the other run with a double.

In the sixth, Paige Stockford put the frosting on the cake when she hit a leadoff home run to center field that might have been helped by a brisk wind. No matter how it got over – it got over.

Xavier went down in order in the bottom of the seventh as Beuerlein got the game’s final out on a strikeout.

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