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 16, 2022

Softball teams do not benefit from game like this

 It was a softball game in which no team truly benefitted.

Not Xavier Prep. And certainly not Phoenix Alhambra.

Yes, Xavier won Tuesday’s (March 15) contest at Petznick Field 16-0. It was a game in which play was stopped after four innings, one inning earlier than the five-inning so-called “standard’’ with one team ahead by at least 10 runs.

Overmatched? Alhambra did its best to keep a stiff upper lip.

The Lions gave up eight hits, including two home runs. They issued 10 walks. They hit five batters. The number of wild pitches was seemingly countless.

That is why Alhambra senior catcher Natalia Garcia deserved a Purple Heart for attempting to block pitches and keep them away from the backstop for the first two innings. She then switched over to the pitcher’s role herself for the last two Xavier at-bats in the third and fourth innings.

Xavier of the 6A Conference Premier Region raised its overall record to 10-2, while Alhambra of the 6A Metro Region slipped to 4-4.

Looking for outstanding efforts from Xavier individuals?

There was senior pitcher Riley Flynn, who pitched a four-inning “perfect game,’’ striking out all 12 batters she faced in the process.

And senior shortstop Bridget Donahey slugged an opposite-field grand slam to right field and added a sacrifice fly. Sophomore Sofia Zielinski connected for a solo home run to right field.

Xavier also got some good news on the injury front. Senior infielder Meghan Schouten, who has missed nearly a month after a shoulder injury that occurred while swinging a bat in the Sunrise Mountain Invitational to begin the season, returned to action with a pair of plate appearances and some work on defense at first base.

Xavier will get a brief bit of R&R before returning to action on March 22, beginning region play with a game at Chandler Basha.

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