Payson Edges Out Maricopa As Third In Postseason Tournament

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Payson's entry in the Arizona Prep Baseball Summer League stumbled through the regular season finishing with a dismal 4-6 record.

All those frustrations came on the heels of a highly successful 1998 inaugural season when the team lost only once on its way to the league crown.

At the conclusion of the 1999 campaign, Payson team coach Teddy Pettet was not sure his squad would qualify for the four-team postseason tournament played July 19 and 20 in Fountain Hills.

But the team eventually earned a berth tying Maricopa for third place.

Because Maricopa had not shown up in Payson - for unknown reasons - to play a rescheduled game that was canceled because of rain, league officials awarded Payson the tournament's third seed and Maricopa was relegated to fourth, Pettet said.

Reversing the disturbing form it had shown earlier in the season, the Rim crew opened the tourney with a 10-3 upset of homestanding Fountain Hills.

Bryan Zumbro, who pitched the Longhorns to the Class 3A state championship last spring, started on the mound, but because of control problems gave way to Tyler Pettet.

During his four-inning stint on the hill, Zumbro struck out six and did not give up a hit. But, he walked seven and the only run scored against him was the result of a bases-loaded walk. Tyler Pettet retired nine of 10 batters he faced, struck out three and walked one.

Scotty Garduno and Steve Williamson, who were both 2-for-4 at the plate, garnered hitting honors. One of Williamson's hits was a triple.

With the victory, Payson advanced to the championship game against Chandler Seton played the following day.

Entering the fray, the local team's chances for a win seemed dismal since Seton had pummeled Payson 23-2 during regular season action.

But this time around, Payson edged out the Chandler crew 9-8, largely due to the heroics of Zumbro's last inning relief pitching. With no outs in the bottom of the seventh, Chandler had the tying run on at third.

With the dead-knotting run only 90 feet away, Zumbro reached down for the very same mettle he showed in the state championship game by striking out the next two batters.

He then got the third and final hitter of the inning to fly out on a major league infield pop-up that was corralled by Garduno.

In all, four hurlers saw action in the game. Kacy Parker started and hurled three innings before departing with a 4-1 lead. Tyler Pettet relieved and hurled one scoreless inning, departing with a 6-1 cushion. In two innings on the hill, Ky Bradley allowed four runs as Seton closed to within 9-5.

"Most of the runs he gave up were because of errors," coach Pettet said.

With the regular season at an end, most of the players will turn their attention to other fall sports at Payson High. Some, the coach said, may play winter league ball in the Phoenix area.

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