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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Softball wins finale, opens state tourney Saturday

 Xavier Prep’s softball team appears ready to defend its first-ever 6A state championship when the tournament gets under way on Saturday (April 30).

The Gators wrapped up the regular season on Monday (April 25) with an 8-2 victory over visiting Chandler Hamilton at Petznick Field.

Xavier finished the regular season with a 19-5 overall record and was one of the top eight teams in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s power points rankings. The top eight have not yet been ranked by number.

That is expected to be sorted out at the end of the day on Thursday (April 27) after “play-in games’’ between teams seeded 9 through 24. Winners of those games will move on to the first round of the state event that begins Saturday and be the visiting teams against one of the top eight.

So that means Xavier will play at home on Saturday at 11 a.m. This year’s tournament will utilize a double-elimination format. So Saturday’s losers will play in an elimination game on Tuesday (May 3), with Saturday’s winners advancing to play on Wednesday (March 4). All of those games will be hosted by the highest seeds.

Against Hamilton, senior pitcher Riley Flynn helped her own cause with a pair of hits, including a home run. Senior infielder-outfielder Meghan Schouten also sent the ball out of the yard. And senior first baseman-pitcher Emma Peterson had three hits and drove in a run.

Flynn raised her record to 16-3 with seven strikeouts.

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