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.

Monday, June 6, 2022

3 Gators in race for spring Players of the Year

 Only a few days remain before Saturday’s (June 11) annual azcentral Sports Awards gala at Arizona State’s Gammage Auditorium, and Xavier Prep has three athletes meriting strong consideration for spring sports Players of the Year.

Two senior softball players who helped Xavier capture its second straight 6A Conference state championship were named All-Arizona, allowing them to qualify for the Player of the Year honor.

They are pitcher Riley Flynn and shortstop Bridget Donahey.

Flynn finished with a 21-3 record and 215 strikeouts and hit .418 with four home runs and 22 RBIs for the Gators. She pitched a no-hitter against Phoenix Desert Vista in the state tournament, and finished her career with a 61-9 record.

Donahey hit 14 home runs with a .524 average and played solid defense throughout the season to help stabilize the Gators’ infield.

Xavier also had an honorable mention selection – sophomore infielder Lauren Putz.

And Gators coach Brad Downes was among the top candidates for Coach of the Year.

XCP’s tennis team had another strong season under coach Laurie Martin, finishing as Division I state runner-up to Scottsdale Desert Mountain.

Leading the way for the Gators through most of the spring was senior Ryan Kershner, who is an All-Arizona selection and Player of the Year candidate.

She often faced the opponent’s top singles player and then turned around to play doubles with sophomore Danielle Dyer. That combination won the state individual doubles title.

Dyer was named as an Honorable Mention, as was senior Victoria Chrostowski, and Martin was a finalist for the Coach of the Year honor.

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