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, April 20, 2022

Chandler cuts into big deficit, but Gators hold on

 It had been one short week for Xavier Prep’s softball team, one that seemed much longer if you had been in the opposing dugout for Chandler High after Xavier’s scorched earth campaign produced a 21-0 victory.

The Gators again reached double figures in the team’s “rematch’’ on Tuesday (April 19), but the game seemed to have a different vibe.

Xavier had a 10-0 lead after the third inning and appeared headed for a repeat of the 10-run rule that ends the game after five innings.

But Chandler scored twice in the fourth inning and four more times in the fifth to pull much closer at 10-6. Xavier then scored three more runs in the sixth and posted a 13-6 win.

Xavier raised its record to 16-5 entering Wednesday’s (April 20) game at Gilbert Perry. Xavier defeated Perry (20-5) 13-3 on March 29.

With the Perry game coming up and another game against Phoenix Sunnyslope on Thursday (April 21) for Senior Night, Xavier coach Brad Downes elected to rest his starting ace pitcher, Riley Flynn, at least for the first five innings.

Emma Peterson took the circle for the Gators and was all right early, then began to show a bit of fatigue as Chandler (12-14-1) got its four runs in the fifth, including a three-run home run by Cian Noli.

Downes brought Flynn in to eliminate any chances the Wolves might have over the final two innings, and she did just that, giving up a pair of hits and striking out four.

Freshman catcher Riley McKeever had three hits and three RBIs for the Gators and senior shortstop Bridget Donahey had three hits and two RBIs. Flynn, a senior, and senior Meghan Schouten, each brought home two runners.

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