Season Screeches To A Halt For Payson Little Leaguers

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There will be no Rim country representatives in the Little League District playoffs. All three of the Payson All-Star teams 9-10-years, 11-12-years and 13-14-years were eliminated in Area One Little League tournaments in Flagstaff and Payson last week.

At Flagstaff Continental field, coach Don Engler's 13-14-year-old star team finished with an impressive 4-1 record in a round robin formatted tournament, but didn't qualify for the district showdown in Snowflake.

Some controversy arose because Flagstaff a team that had the same record as Payson was awarded a berth in the district showdown. Apparently Flagstaff was given the district seed over Payson because it defeated the Rim team in the round robin.

Among the Payson victories were an 11-1 pounding of Winslow and a 25-7 thumping of Flagstaff Continental I.

The 11-12-year-old star team coached by Charlie England opened the tournament with a 2-0 record defeating Coconino and Winslow at Flagstaff Mount Elden.

Stellar pitching by B.J. Hill and Ridge Halenar helped propel Payson to the triumphs. Needing a single victory to advance to district, Payson lost to Continental and Mount Elden to drop out of contention for the district berths.

England attributed the gut-wrenching losses to offensive woes.

"We couldn't could get our bats going," he said. "We had good pitching, but no hitting."

In the 9-10-years tournament played on the Payson High School softball field, the Rim country stars coached by John Medlin opened with a 6-5 loss to Flagstaff Continental.

Relegated to the loser's bracket, Payson went on to win three consecutive games before being ousted by a second loss to Continental.

Although the losses marked the end of Little League baseball for the summer, England has plans to enter a youth team in a Scottsdale-based fall league.

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