A Major League Visit

Local Diamondbacks spend Father's Day at Bank One Ballpark


For members of the Payson Little League Major Division Diamondbacks, it was a week young boys only dream of.

After finishing the regular season with a 14-4 record that tied them for the championship with the Cubs, the entire team marched proudly onto the field Father's Day at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix.

There, they were greeted by Arizona Diamondbacks Manager Buck Showalter who congratulated them on their accomplishments. Only minutes later, Arizona's star first baseman, Travis Lee, took time out to talk to the team and sign autographs.

For the next few hours, the players kicked back and watched the Diamondbacks battle the Atlanta Braves as ace pitchers Randy Johnson and Tom Glavin battled one another.

For some, it was their first major league baseball game.

The dream continued days later when a foursome of young Diamondbacks were selected to participate on the All-Star team that will represent Payson in the area tournament beginning July 12 in Page.

All-Star selections included T.J. Bynum, Brandon Labonte, Bill Todd and Tyler Williams.

Joining the Diamondback selections on the celestial squad are Kyle Asmundson (Giants), Matt Barr (Pirates), Pete Hargis (Giants), Allan McDermott (Pirates), Nathan Mileham (Royals), Cody O'Donnel (Rockies), Jerry Paul (Orioles), Tyler Williams (Pirates), Matt Levac (Cubs) and Dominic Piazza (Cubs)

All the players chosen are 12 years old except for Levac and Piazza who are 11.

Since their star selection, the team has been practicing daily under the tutelage of manager Jimmy Aguilar and coach Joe Johnson.

During the regular season, Aguilar was the Diamondbacks' manager and Johnson managed the minor league Marlins.

It's the second consecutive year that Aguilar has headed the Payson All-Stars. He said the focus of the practices have been on pitching and defense and soon will start working on hitting.

The team's first-round opponent in the upcoming tournament has not been determined.

Next week, local Little League official Butch Krieger will attend a meeting in Winslow where the tournament schedules will be finalized.

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