Xavier Prep softball finished the spring season in high spirits as they brought home the school’s first softball state championship with a 10-0 win over Red Mountain in the 6A conference.
The Gators went 19-2 this season in a competitive schedule that led them all the way to state, where they secured their shutout victory in five innings. Overall, the team outscored their opponents 40-3 throughout the state tournament.
Head Coach Bradley Bledsoe Downes said it was exciting to see the team’s hard work pay off.
“The team played well at the right time as the playoffs were in a single elimination format this year,” Downes said. “The players took control of team leadership and worked toward their goal, always seeking to be better.”
There were notable players in the line-up with nine teammates hitting home runs throughout the season. According to Downes, pitcher Riley Flynn, Lauren Putz and Bridget Donahey were stellar players and regional/conference leaders who propelled the team forward, particularly with four challenging games in the playoffs. Flynn was named to the All Arizona Softball Team of 2021, and Bridget Donahey and Macy Lee were named as honorable mentions.
Downes said that having a well-rounded team with solid pitching, defense and offense turned the tide in their favor.
“Every game was a challenge, which helped prepare the players for the postseason run,” Downes said. “The success of the team was a direct result of their control.”
Senior leadership was honored at an end-of-season banquet for players and families, with the team looking forward to returning and competing at a high level next year.
Downes said one player the team will miss in the 2022 season is Macy Lee. The graduating senior was unstoppable at the plate, hitting .625 in the playoffs while going 3-for-4 in the championship game with two doubles, a home run and 7 RBIs.
Lee credits Coach Downes with leading a well-rounded program that made her last year as a Gator extra special.
“I believe we were able to succeed this season thanks to our team chemistry. We trusted and played for each other,” Lee said. “There is no other group of girls I would rather spend my last year with. Every player wanted to have fun and compete daily.”