Rachel Ray pitched a no-hitter shutout Tuesday against Alchesay. The only Alchesay batter to reach base did so on a walk issued by Ray in the first inning.
Ray struck out 10 of the 16 batters she faced during the five-inning 28-0 rout.
Payson used restraint at the plate, opting not to chase errant pitches as Alchesay's hurlers issued 18 walks and hit two Payson batters. The freebies to first base, combined with 12 hits, led to the double-digit score.
Coach Will Dunman's team will open a four-game home stint starting at 4 p.m. today (Friday, April 5), when they host Blue Ridge.
Payson is currently ranked No. 1 in its conference.
Show Low suffered its first loss Tuesday, April 2 at the hands of Snowflake with a score of 5-4.
The Lady Horns will see action against Show Low at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, when they host the White Mountain team.
The three-way quest for the No. 1 spot in the 3A East Conference is expected to come down to Payson, Show Low and Snowflake.
Payson has faced Snowflake twice this season once in a conference match and again at the Kingman tournament defeating them both times.
Show Low, on the other hand touted as having the same caliber of pitching and catching as Payson may prove to be the Horns' biggest hurdle in their quest for a title.
The Cougars have a strong, one-two offensive and defensive punch in their pitcher, Bobbi Jo Merrill, who has a 60 mph fastball, and catcher, Cortney Nix, who can gun a ball to first or second base from her knees, picking off the quickest base runners. Merrill and Nix also hold down the three and four spots in the batting order.
Dunman will face the Cougars with his own dynamic duo. Rachel Ray will be on the mound throwing her own 60 mph fastball to catcher Trista Carlton. It will be a match of juniors versus juniors.
The Payson High School diamond will be the place to watch some quality fast-pitch softball Tuesday.