The Payson Grays played break-even (2-2) softball at the Make-A-Wish Senior Slow-Pitch Softball Tournament contested last weekend at Mesa's Crescent Run Park.
On the first day of the double elimination fray, the Grays fell to Mesa Greenfield RV 20-6, but later rebounded to whip Crescent Run 21-6.
The third round of the tournament featured one of the most unusual matches of the fall senior season. The all-male Payson team found itself paired against a world champion women's team, the Queen Bees, Grays coach Ron Makeymowski said.
Pounding out 25 hits in the battle of the sexes, the Grays coasted to a 21-0 victory.
Hours later, the Rim seniors tournament stay in Mesa came to a screeching halt with a heart-breaking, extra inning 14-12 loss to the Arizona Outlaws.
The early loss to Greenfield RV set the stage for Payson's roller-coaster ride in the tournament, Makeymowski said.
"That's a team we have beaten several times and should have again but we committed seven errors," he said.
As the starting hurler, Neil McVicar was tagged with the loss.
In the second game, Payson bats finally came to life, pounding out 33 hits in the 15-run victory. Tom Neblett was credited with the win.
Against the Queen Bees, Makeymowski struggled to convince his hurlers to pitch against a women's team.
"The pitchers didn't want to take the chance of allowing too many runs," Makeymowski said.
So, the coach took the mound and finished with the win thanks to a 25-hit attack from his teammates.
In the finale, the Grays and Outlaws entered the bottom of seventh and final frame dead-knotted 9-9. By virtue of singles from Ken Gouker and Fran Doering, the Grays pushed the winning run into scoring position at third, Makeymowski said.
But with two outs, the next Payson batter lifted a routine fly ball to center field that ended the scoring threat and Grays' hopes for a victory in regulation play.
In the eighth, shoddy Grays defense in the outfield allowed the Outlaws to rally for the two-run victory and stay alive in the tournament.
Following the team's return to Payson, Makeymowski lauded the offense of Neblett who he called "the hero of the two days."
Neblett finished with 10 hits including two home runs, two triples and two doubles.
Makeymowski pounded out nine hits.
Corb Corbin, Ken Cheeseman, McVicar and Doering contributed eight hits to the Payson cause.