Horns Denied Their Field Of Dreams

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Teddy Pettet finally has the free time to kick back and enjoy his favorite rites of spring fishing trips to Roosevelt Lake.

No longer will he be spending his free time coaching the Payson High School baseball team.

For the coach and his Longhorn charges, the 2001 campaign came to a screeching halt Saturday morning at Peoria Sports Complex.

There, a 10-0 state tournament second-round loss to Fountain Hills eliminated the Longhorns from postseason play.

The Horns had entered the season-ending fray eyeing the school's second state baseball championship. In 1998, also at Peoria Sports Complex, the Horns rode Bryan Zumbro's hurling prowess and a torrid hitting attack to a victory over Cactus Shadows and PHS's first baseball title.

With Saturday's victory, Fountain Hills moves on to the state semi-final round at 3 p.m. May 11 at the Sports Complex.

Following the Horns' state tournament loss, Pettet lauded Fountain Hills for being a talented team capable of winning the state title.

"They're tough," he said. "They could do it (win the 3A championship)."

Fountain Hills entered the state tournament boasting a top-five state ranking and the proud new owners of the West region championship.

With the one seed automatically afforded region champions, Fountain Hills easily disposed of South-four representative Sahuarita in the opening round.

In the quarter-final contest, the Horns didn't prove much more of an obstacle, falling in five innings on the 10-run rule.

Fountain's Brock Stephens improved his pitching record to 8-1 with the win.

Horn Ky Bradley, a junior right hander, absorbed the loss.

O.J. Siebert relieved Bradley in the bottom of the fifth and gave up the hit that allowed the 10th and deciding run to score. Earlier in the frame, David Scher swatted a two-run homer that propelled FH to a 9-0 lead.

The loss was a tough one to absorb but the Payson players took solace in that they pulled off a mild upset in the opening round by whipping North regional runner-up Tuba City 13-2.

Senior Tyler Pettet picked up the win by hurling 5 2/3 innings before giving way to relief help from Chad McRae.

Payson advanced to the state tournament as the East Region third seed after playing its way to a 6-4 victory over Pinnacle April 30 in Miami.

The game was a continuation of a contest played April 20 that ended in a 4-4 tie. It was not extended into extra innings due to darkness. The game was being played on a Pinnacle High field that had no lights.

In the original game, the Horns who were trailing 4-3 late in the game were on the brink of disaster before a booming home run by Bradley deadknotted the contest.

Later, a rarely used hidden ball trick erased Pinnacle's winning run from the base paths.

Had the Horns not come from behind to tie up the game and two weeks later win it the team would probably not have earned a berth to the state.

With the win over Pinnacle, Payson was awarded the third seed and Pinnacle fell to fourth.

In other state tournament action, Coolidge the South's three seed advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 win over Chino Valley and a 8-3 thumping of Winslow. The Bulldogs entered the tournament as the North champions.

A 3-2 second-round loss to South runner-up Globe eliminated East champion Show Low from the tournament.

In the first round, the Cougars whipped North representative Greyhills.

The 3A state championship will be decided at 7 p.m. May 12 on the Peoria Sports Complex main field.

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