Thanks to the Arizona State Games Committee and a stellar showing in postseason play, Payson High School freshman pitcher Brenna Zumbro is mingling in good company.
The committee recently announced Zumbro had been voted to the 14-member Class 3A State All-Tournament softball team.
The youngster was a highly unusual selection in that she began the season as an unheralded hurler on the PHS jayvee team.
After being told of the star selection, the 15-year-old said she never expected to be named, but it was an honor to be included among the state's best.
"My teammates had a lot to do with it," she said. "I wouldn't have done it without them."
The only Lady Horn chosen, Zumbro (10-2) finished 1-1 in the state tournament, picking up an opening round 14-4 victory over Monument Valley. She absorbed the 5-0 quarterfinal loss to Chander Seton, despite giving up only two earned runs. The youngster entered the first round contest in relief of season-long starter Rachel Rae who was forced to the sidelines with a hand injury.
Among those on the all-tournament team with Zumbro were three representatives from both state champion Snowflake and 3A runner-up Show Low.
One of the Lobos tapped to the team pitcher Kelly Sherwood turned in a brilliant tournament performance, giving up only one run in 31 innings. Probably her most impressive victory was the 2-0 win over arch rival Show Low in the championship finale.
In the bottom of the seventh inning and Show Low needing a rally, Sherwood preserved the state title win by striking out three consecutive Cougar hitters.
From the SL roster on the all-tournament team was another pitcher almost as accomplished as Sherwood Bobbi Jo Merrill. The Show Low High sophomore hurled her team into the state championship with an 11-8 semifinal win over Fountain Hills.
In the title showdown, Merrill absorbed the loss despite allowing only four hits in seven innings. She also struck out six.
Other Show Low players chosen were Cheri McNeil and Courtney Nix. Along with Sherwood from Snowflake were Molly Hatch and Jennifer Reidhead.
Representing Chandler Seton Catholic on the all-tourney squad was a pitcher all too familiar to the Lady Horns Kim Zadrozny. In Seton's win over Payson at Phoenix Rose Mofford Sports Complex, Zadrozny allowed only two hits a pair of singles off the bat off Jennifer Plumb.
And when Zadrozny wasn't setting down Horn hitters with her pinpoint pitching accuracy, she was leading the Seton offense.
Her two hits, one of which was a home run, and two RBIs was all the Seton crew needed for the tournament triumph.
Other players chosen by the committee were Debbie Yescas (Sahuarita), Nicole Baker (Holbrook), Michelle Garrison (Santa Cruz), Kristin Rinne (Fountain Hills), Jessica Trulson (Fountain Hills) and Brittany Martin (Seton Catholic).
Senior members of the all-tournament team are eligible to be voted to the Arizona Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game which will be contested this summer.
Because she is a freshman, Zumbro will have to wait before she can be selected to the game. She is, however, continuing her pitching exploits into the summer as a member of the 18-years-and-under Phoenix-based Arizona Stars team.