A pregame meeting, in which players had the opportunity to hash over issues affecting their play, might have been just what the doctor ordered.
Following the Tuesday Longhorn meeting, the team took to the PHS diamond where it turned in its best showing of the season.
In the 16-2 triumph over Holbrook, the Horns played what coach Teddy Pettet called "the first game all season where we did everything right. They maintained their focus and executed the entire game."
The coach urged his players to shake off the doldrums that had them on the brink of state tournament extinction.
"I told them, 'The season is up to you. You can make of it whatever you want,'" Pettet said. "They needed to motivate themselves and not always depend on coaches."
Responding to the challenge of helping the team play its way back into state contention, junior Ky Bradley turned in one of his best pitching performances of his career.
Hurling the entire five innings of the contest shortened on the 10-run mercy rule, he gave up only three hits and by walking only three was in command of most of his pitches.
The Payson offense also rose to the occasion pounding out 17 hits.
Two of the base knocks, a double by Rob Ochoa and another by Cory McRae, did most of the damage.
McRae's swat with bases loaded which came in the bottom of the fifth chased three runs across the plate.
In a hit-and-run situation, Ochoa's double scored a Horn runner from first base.
Darren Grover, the Horns 9th-place hitter, also shined at the plate, turning in a three-for-three performance.
"It was nice to see the kids step up and become leaders," Pettet said of the team's sterling performance.
The win over the Roadrunners lifted the Horns' East region credentials to 5-4-1 and keeps the team in contention for a top-four finish and a berth in the state tournament.
The team returned to action April 19 at Pinnacle.