Tryouts Begin For Oklahoma's Sun Belt Classic Tournament


Last year, Payson High School baseball star Bryan Zumbro tried out for a spot on an Arizona all-star team that was entered in the 24th Annual Sun Belt Classic Tournament in Oklahoma.

Although he came up a bit short in his bid to make the prestigious team, Zumbro said the experience of playing alongside the state's best baseball players was awe-inspiring.

The Arizona Baseball Coaches Association is setting the wheels in motion to select the player for the 2000 Sun Belt Tournament team and defending state champion Payson High has players that might have the ability to make the team.

The first of two tryouts has been set for Oct. 23 at the Maryvale Baseball Complex.

Players are to report to the complex at 8:30 a.m. The evaluations will begin at 9 a.m.

The trials are open to current student-athletes in grades 10 through 12. The fee is $20 per player which includes insurance, T-shirt and lunch.

ABCA spokesmen said the trials are a great opportunity for high school baseball players to have the chance to participate in the 25th Sun Belt Classic to be played in June in Shawnee, Okla.

High School all-star teams from around the United States will participate.

When Arizona first competed in the tournament, in 1997 and 1998, the state's team was chosen from recommendations of high school and college coaches as well as professional scouts; there were no try-outs.

Last year, the squad was the first to be chosen using the trials as the basis for determining the skill levels of the players in Arizona.

The Sun Belt coaching staff, which last year included Winslow's Art Griffith, and the ABCA Board of Directors, will choose the team based on the results of the trials.

ABCA spokesmen said it has been their organization's goal to give all high school student-athletes the opportunity to participate in the trials.

Call Brophy Prep head baseball coach Tom Succow at (602) 264-5291 for more information.

Need more

Nancy Berg continues to spearhead a movement to round up enough contributions to help local senior Tom Cooka fulfill his dream of participating in the Senior Olympics in Orlando, Fla. later this month.

Cooka, who is retired, is one of Arizona's best long-distance runners.

Berg said Founder's Bank of Payson has generously agreed to sponsor a portion of the costs involved in the travel and 11-day stay in Orlando, but more is needed.

She's appealing to the residents of Payson to contribute, "whatever you can so our town will be represented by this fine athlete."

Contributions can be hand delivered or mailed to Founders Bank at 104 E. Highway 260. Checks should be made out to the Tom Cooka Senior Olympic Account.

"It will be the trip of a lifetime and an honor for Payson," Berg says.

At the P&R offices

Registration for women's and men's volleyball leagues will be held Nov. 8-19 at the Payson Parks and Recreation offices at Green Valley Park. The entry is $150 per team and includes a season-ending tournament.

The season begins Dec. 1 and wraps up in late January. There will be a break in play during the Christmas holidays.

Also in P&R offerings, registration for play in the 5th- and 6th-grade youth basketball leagues will be held Nov. 1 through 12. The fee is $20 per child, which includes a T-shirt, a minimum of seven games and a pizza party at the end of the season.

Call 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information.

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