Diamond Squad Off To Slow Start


Finishing 1-5 in last weekend's Mohave Invitational Tournament wasn't the scenario Payson High School baseball coach Teddy Pettet was hoping for.

Because the Longhorns are defending Class 3A champions and state fifth-ranked, the coach was pointing his charges toward a better showing against top-notch competition.

But the victories simply weren't to be had and the Horns (2-5) now must focus their hopes on the Miami Invitational Tournament originally set to begin Wednesday.

Due to the snow that blanketed Gila County early this week, the team's opening round game against San Carlos was postponed.

At press time, Pettet said, he believed most of the tournament schedule would have to be revamped and many of the games played this weekend when, hopefully, fields become dry and weather clears.

The Horns were to play Florence, Coolidge, Superior, Miami and San Carlos.

At the Mohave tournament played at River Valley and Mohave Union High Schools, the Horns opened with a 2-1 loss to River Valley. After falling to Lake Havasu game 11-1, the Horns rebounded for a 12-2 triumph over Ganado. In their final three games, Payson lost to Coconino 6-0, Flagstaff 7-4 and River Valley 2-1.

In the five losses, Pettet said, the team was always in contention and could have emerged victorious in several had it not been for mental letdowns and miscues.

"We didn't run the bases (well), missed a lot of signs and didn't hit the ball very well," the coach said.

On several occasions, Pettet called for hit and runs, only to watch his baserunner thrown out at second when the hitter didn't catch the coach's hit away signal.

"We ran ourselves out of a lot of innings," he said.

Offensively, the Horn attack was anemic at best, but the trio of Waylon Pettet, Scotty Garduno and Bryan Zumbro did manage six hits apiece.

Proper hitting techniques will be a point of emphasis in future training sessions if the team can find a dry field to practice, Pettet said.

While the team did suffer at the plate in the series, several pitching efforts had the coach smiling. In the win over Ganado, little-used O.J. Siebert picked up the win, consistently throwing strikes and keeping opposing batsmen off the base paths.

"He was kind of a surprise for us," Pettet said.

Another good performance was turned in during the opening round loss to Chino Valley by Tyler Pettet, the coach's son. Over the course of the five-inning game, young Pettet gave up only two hits.

On the down side, however, a wild pitch late in the contest allowed the winning run to score from third.

Against Coconino, sophomore Ky Bradley was foiled by teammates' defensive mistakes after giving up only four hits in four innings.

Bryan Zumbro, the winning pitchers in last spring's state championship game, started against Lake Havasu and gave up just three runs while the game was still close. However, after Kacy Parker relieved, Havasu went on a hitting binge.

Parker rebounded, the coach said, to pitch a solid game against Flagstaff.

In addition to absorbing the loss against Havasu, Zumbro was the pitcher of record against River Valley.

After watching his hurlers in action over the course of six games, the coach said he's ready to settle on Zumbro as his ace starter.

The second spot would go to Tyler Pettet except he underwent a tonsillectomy early this week and will be out of action for about two weeks.

Kacy Parker is penciled in as the three-hurler and Ky Bradley as four. Pettet also has Siebert and Joey Klein at his disposal.

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