The Lady Horns' softball team huddled on the Snowflake Lobos' field prior to the game Friday, March 15 and made a solemn vow to show "no mercy."
"We downplayed the fact we were playing Snowflake," Coach Will Dunman said. "Coach (Kadi) Tenney and I told them they can beat anybody on any given day."
The Payson ladies, with an infield boasting four seniors, were out to avenge the defeats they suffered to Snowflake last year when they dropped both conference games with scores of 4-3 and 7-0.
The first inning was slow for both teams as Snowflake's pitcher sent Payson's first three batters to the dugout on a strike out and two infield pop-ups. Payson's pitcher, Rachel Ray, returned the favor with a strike out and two ground-outs to the infield.
Payson busted loose with two runs in the top of the second when Brooke McRae led off the inning with a double. She advanced to third base on a single to left field by Brittany Boyes. McRae scored on a sacrifice by Trista Carlton; Boyes scored on an infield sacrifice by Brenna Zumbro.
In the bottom of the second inning Snowflake matched Payson with a hit by their lead-off batter who singled to left field. However, she was cut down by Payson's catcher Carlton when she attempted to steal second base.
Snowflake mustered one run when its centerfielder tripled to right center field and scored on a sacrifice fly ball to right field.
With the score 2-1 in favor of Payson, the "no mercy" vow led to the addition of three runs in the top of the third inning when lead-off hitter LeeAnn Owens slapped the ball down the third baseline for a single and advanced to second on an overthrow by Snowflake's third baseman. Brandi Waugh followed with a walk. With runners on first and second, Ray protected the lead by hitting a triple to right center field for two RBIs. Ray scored the third run of the inning when she slid into home on a passed ball by the Snowflake catcher.
With the score 5-0, Payson held the Lobos scoreless in the third and fourth innings.
The fate of the Lobos was sealed in the top of the fifth inning when Payson's battery hit through the lineup scoring four runs on a walk, three singles and a triple.
Horns' shortstop McRae received a free-pass to first base by the Lobos' pitcher and then scored on a single by Zumbro. Carlton followed with a single and scored along with Zumbro on a triple bagger by Staci Scholl. Jennifer Plumb put the icing on the four-run inning when she singled to score Scholl.
Snowflake mustered three runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings on a single, fielder's choice and two triples bringing the score to its final of 9-4.
Rachel Ray got the win for Payson and will not see action on the mound until Friday, March 22 when Payson travels to Kingman for a two-day tournament featuring 21 teams from Arizona and Nevada.
"We came out and played like a veteran team. This win is one of many stepping stones for our team," Dunman said. "I was excited to see the determination in the players' eyes. All the girls did their jobs offensively and defensively."
Sophomore Brenna Zumbro will be on the mound today (Tuesday, March 19) in a 3:30 p.m. home game against 3A East opponent Round Valley.