Horns Tune Up At 3-State Showdown

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For four consecutive days, the Payson High School baseball team will call Mohave Valley home.

The Longhorns' roadtrip began Wednesday when the team arrived in Laughlin where they will reside during the Mohave Invitational Baseball tournament.

Before departing Laughlin Saturday afternoon for the return trip to Payson, the team will have participated in six tournament games.

The opener was played at 8 a.m. yesterday (Thursday) on Mohave High School field #1 against Chino Valley. At 3:30 p.m. yesterday, the Horns took on Monument Valley. (Results of those games were not available at press time).

Today's (Friday) schedule includes a 10:30 p.m. game against Southwest, California High School and a 1 p.m. contest against Chinle. Both clashes will be at River Valley High School.

Tournament play wraps up tomorrow with an 8 p.m. game against East rival Round Valley at Laughlin High School and a 1 p.m. clash against Flagstaff Sinagua on Mohave No. 2 diamond.

The tournament drew 24 teams from Arizona, California and Nevada.

Following the Mohave Invitational, the Horns return to tournament play March 6 at the annual Miami Vandal Invitational.

The Horns open the four-day tournament against Coolidge (1:30 p.m.) and Globe (6 p.m.).

At 6 p.m. March 7, the Horns take on host Miami.

The March 8 tournament games are slated for 1:30 p.m. (against Superior) and 1:30 p.m. (against San Manuel)

All contests will be played at Miami High School.

The team

At Tuesday afternoon's practice session, coach Teddy Pettet held a full-squad scrimmage that was interrupted only by a yearbook picture taking session.

During the two-hour battle, Pettet and assistant coach David Daniels evaluated the players in hopes of coming up with the a solid starting line-up.

According to Pettet, the pitching rotation will probably be Ky Bradley, Jeremy Heariet and Chad McRae.

Bradley is the veteran among the three, having seen considerable duty last year as a junior.

Although the trio will handle most of the pitching, the coach has several other hurlers he can call upon when needed. They include Ashton Shewey, Matt Woolwine, Waylon Pettet and John Beeson.

The catching chores this season will probably be handled by Shewey, with Travis Sanders serving as a backup.

In the infield, the starting lineup for the coming tournaments could include Rob Ochoa at first, McRae at second and Nate Perna manning the shortstop position.

Perna suffered a knee injury in the Longhorn's state tournament football loss to Blue Ridge but appears to have fully recovered.

Bradley and Heariet will share responsibilities at the hot corner.

The outfield might consist of Darren Grover in left, Waylon Pettet in center and Sean Pickle in right.

Levi Armstrong, Tony Beeler and Tyler Brunson will be available when needed, Pettet said.

Offensively, the team remains a question mark. Until the hitters have been challenged by live pitching, Pettet is unsure of just how the batting order will unfold.

The Horns will not make their home debut until March 19 against the Round Valley Elks. Game time is 3:30 p.m.

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