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.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Gators bounce back after loss with big win

 Everyone needs to bounce back once in awhile. It can do wonders for one’s outlook.

It happens after you’ve had a bad day, and the next day, have a bounce in your step.

Xavier Prep’s softball team found that to be true on Friday (March 11).

The Gators bounced back from a 3-1 loss to Phoenix Pinnacle at home on Thursday (March 10) with a resounding 12-2 triumph over host Scottsdale Chaparral.

Xavier is back on track at 9-2, while Chaparral slipped to 3-8.

Senior Riley Flynn had a solid effort in the pitching circle, giving up five hits with 10 strikeouts.

But it was what she did with the bat that had the Xavier fans ooohing and aaahing and the Chaparral followers scratching their heads trying to figure out what their team could do to stop her.

Flynn was a perfect 4-for-4 with a pair of no-doubt solo home runs to pace the 13-hit Xavier parade. Senior shortstop Bridget Donahey hit a two-run homer and drove in a third run with a sacrifice fly.

Flynn said the Gators were “kind of complacent’’ after the success that led up to the game against Pinnacle, so the team talked about that afterward and again on Friday.

Xavier coach Brad Downes said Flynn’s assessment “was probably accurate. We ran into a team (Pinnacle)  that was hungry for a win and their pitching and hitting combination hurt us.

“Today, we were more focused on offense, we hit well and we played solid defense. You’ve always got to have a goal of being improved.’’

Flynn added that it “definitely’’ was a good feeling to come out with a strong performance.

None were stronger than hers.

She put a big swing on the first pitch she saw while leading off the third inning.

Flynn could not recall hitting two homers in a game before. She said she knew the first one would go over the fence in left field, and was pretty sure the second, another leadoff home run on a 2-0 pitch in the seventh, also would leave the yard.

The second homer helped the Gators score three more runs after Chaparral tallied twice in the sixth.

Xavier returns to action on Tuesday (March 15) with a game against Phoenix Alhambra at Petznick Field. First pitch is at 3:45 p.m.



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