Seton Catholic's softball team not only eliminated the Lady Longhorns, from the state tournament Friday, May 10, they captured the Arizona 3A Championship the following night by defeating Sahuarita, 6-2. Seton scored five runs while shutting out the Lady Horns.
Payson could muster only two hits off Seton's battery during the semi-final game. The private school, from Chandler, started the game with their No. 2 pitcher and then in the top of the third inning after Payson threatened to score twice, they brought in their ace, Kim Zodrozny. Zodrozny, who will pitch for ASU next year, stormed through Payson's lineup. She struck out eight of the 16 batters faced while walking one and leaving the others to her defense.
Payson pitcher Brenna Zumbro worked hard on the mound for Payson. Seton had scored 10 runs against Snowflake in the quarterfinals and Zumbro was intent on keeping the ball away from Seton's power hitters. Zumbro contained Seton's No. 1 hitter, Zodrozny, striking her out once and forcing her to hit the ball down to her infield twice.
Seton scored three runs in the bottom of the second with a lead-off single, followed by a couple to right center and then a hard line drive down first base line that went into the corner to clear the bases. Seton scored their final two runs in the third and fifth inning.
Defensively, Payson catcher Trista Carlton kept Seton's base runners under control. Seton showed their respect for Carlton's arm by not attempting to steal any bases. Carlton earned that respect when she picked off a runner sliding into third base and another who got caught leading off at first.
Offensively, Payson saw 11 batters retired at the plate. Laura Crabtree and Brooke McRae both singled, but were left stranded or forced off the bases.
Brandi Waugh had the highest on-base percentage. Waugh reached first in the first inning when she used her speed to the bag to force a rushed throw by Seton's third baseman which could not be handled by the first baseman. Waugh drew a walk in the third inning and reached second on a sacrifice bunt by Doni Miotto.
Payson will say goodbye to its five seniors LeeAnn Owens, Brandi Waugh, Jennifer Plumb, Brooke McRae and Brittany Boyes at the team's banquet May 22. Despite the loss of this year's starting five, Coach Will Dunman is positive he will field another championship contending team next year.
Junior Rachel Ray, who was sidelined from pitching after suffering a shoulder injury late in the season, is expected to return and dominate the mound as a senior.
"We have some good talent coming up," Dunman said. "They have witnessed the work ethic and dedication of the seniors, who have set the standard for Payson. We will continue to work to improve every year."
The gaps opened by this year's graduating seniors are expected to be filled by sophomore Staci Scholl and freshmen Rikki Ray, Krystal McRae, Jessica Coleman and Morgan O'Haver.
Dunman also expects to have some movement from the junior varsity level and possibly a couple of incoming freshmen.
"It's going to be hard to say goodbye to my seniors," Dunman said. "I have been with them since they were freshmen. They are a great group of young ladies."
Payson finished the year with an overall record of 25 wins and seven losses and a conference record of 8-2. All-state and All-Conference selections are expected to be announced at the banquet May 22 at Julia Randall Elementary School.