The Payson Grays senior softball team opted not to participate in the second edition of the Rim Country Senior Softball Championships and will not be eligible to win the overall tournament crown when it is awarded June 12 and 13.
The Grays played in the first of the three-tournament championship series April 10 and 11.
RCSSC tournament director Dave Crowell said he didn't know why the Payson diamond crew chose not to enter again. "But, when the Grays elected not to play in the second of the series, they eliminated themselves -- the rule is that a team must play in all three tournaments to qualify to win the Rim Country Championships," Crowell said.
The tournament director also expressed regrets. "It is nice to have a home team in a local tournament," he said. "Hopefully next year the Grays will enter again."
Carrying the Payson banner in the absence of the local team was a trio of Rim players on the tournament champion Fountain Hills Falcons.
Tom Nebblet, Billy Joe Winchester and Crowell helped the Falcons defeat Apollo One 24-23 Saturday afternoon in the tournament finale. Winchester was the winning pitcher in the gold-medal game.
On Apollo One, the champion of the first RCSSC tournament was local player Dick Erickson.
Although the two days of play was contested under drizzling skies, the tournament drew a nice crowd of spectators, Crowell said.
The six tournament teams played in a round robin Saturday at Rumsey II, which seeded the squads into Sunday's double-elimination championship round.
The games turned out to be offensive shows of firepower with a whopping 187 runs scored.
"A slugfest was enjoyed by everyone," Crowell said.
The eventual RCSSC champion will be crowned at next month's third tournament. A point system, based on each team's performances in the three frays, will determine the overall winner.
The Falcons and Apollo, each with a tournament title, are the odds on favorites to win. However, the Arizona Blasters could be a long shot to emerge victorious.
"If the Blasters capture the (third) tournament, they would put the (RCSSC) champions into a three-way tie for high point totals," Crowell said.
If that should happen, Crowell said, he would try to come up with some type of tie-breaker.