Inclement weather that struck the Rim country Tuesday ended Lady Longhorn softball hopes of entering a crucial showdown today, Friday, against the Snowflake Lobos with a 4-0 East regional record.
The Horns were scheduled to play Holbrook at 3 p.m. Tuesday, but the game was rescheduled for April 12.
That means the Lady Horns, now 3-0 in the East and 5-2 overall, don't have the advantage of a tune-up game against Holbrook but do have a few days' practice time to prepare.
Assistant softball coach Kadi Tenney, a former PHS sports star in the early '90s, knows the tradition and rivalry that fuel the Payson-Snowflake clashes.
"Tell the whole town to drive to Snowflake. We need them there," she said.
Game time in Loboland is 3:30 p.m.
A win over the Lobos would keep the Horns unbeaten in the race for the East crown and, almost as important, serve as a huge boost to PHS spirits.
The rapidly improving Lady Longhorns got off to a slow start this season at the San Manuel Tournament, winning just two games, but the team rebounded recently to whip St. Johns, 7-6 and Blue Ridge, 16-2.
The East region victory over the BR Yellow Jackets, March 20 in cold, windy conditions on PHS field turned into a showcase of Lady Horn superiority.
Finishing with a team batting average of .435 and an on-base standard of .735, the Horn offense was on a rampage.
Defensively, the Horns did not commit an error in five full innings. The game was called up on the 10-run mercy rule.
Senior Sidney Swartwood drew the starting nod from first-year coach Will Dunman and picked up the win after pitching four full innings.
Highly promising freshman Rachel Ray mopped up for one inning. Both pitchers, Dunman said, performed admirably.
At the plate, Sage Walden, Brittany Boyes and Allison Crabtree finished two for three. The trio, Dunman said, "just crushed the ball."
The one-run win over St. Johns March 17 in Payson turned much more dramatic than the debacle against Blue Ridge.
With the score dead-knotted 6-6 in the bottom of the 7th inning, Jennifer McRae swatted a ground ball single through the middle of the infield that scored Tanya Heglie from second base with the winning run.
Until that final last gasp, the game was up for grabs.
McRae finished the Horns offensive leader with two hits in three trips to the plate. Jamie Peace had three RBIs on two hits in four plate appearances.