When the Longhorn baseball team's season came to screeching halt May 3 in a 7-1 state tournament loss to Chino Valley, the PHS seniors thought they'd play their final game for coach Teddy Pettet.
At the time, what the seniors didn't realize is that a trio of them would have another opportunity to play alongside their coach in a postseason all-star game.
That clash, the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association North vs. South showdown, will be contested June 1 at 7 p.m. on the campus of Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
The reunion of the Payson coach and players will occur on the North team that was selected last week in a voting of ABCA members.
PHS players elected to the star squad were Robbie Ochoa, Ky Bradley and Darrin Grover. Arnie Spiker of Round Valley High School and Pettet will coach the North team.
In addition to the selection of the ABCA All-Stars, prep coaches recently chose both the Class 3A All-State team and the All-East Region honorees.
On the All-State team, which includes players from all four geographical regions, Bradley was tapped to the first team and Ochoa to the second.
In the East region voting, Waylon Pettet, Sean Pickle, Ochoa and Bradley were named first team.
On the second East team were Chad McRae, Ashton Shewey, Nate Perna and Grover. Jeremy Heariet was named honorable mention.
In all, Payson had seven of their starting nine players earn post-season honors.
That number, Pettet said, "is the most that we've ever been able to get recognized."
The award winners
As an All-East, All-State and ABCA All-Star selection, Bradley is one of the most heralded seniors in the 3A conference.
During his senior year, he led the Longhorns offensively in three categories batting average (.514), home runs (11) and RBIs (43).
With his high school career about to end, Bradley is looking to continue his baseball career on the collegiate level.
Currently he's a member of a Flagstaff team that is participating in a Northern Arizona Connie Mack league.
In Ochoa, the Longhorns had one of the best all around first basemen in the state. A testament to his defensive ability was a sterling .988 fielding average. Offensively he finished with a .395 batting average that included a team high 10 doubles.
At the onset of the season, the thought of having Pickle selected to the All-East first team might have been a bit farfetched.
But as the campaign wore on, Pickle improved his skills enough to become probably the best right fielder in the region. Offensively, he finished with a .426 batting average that included five home runs and three triples.
For Waylon Pettet, the selection to the East first team marks the culmination of a campaign in which he compiled a .387 batting average. He also led the Horns in stolen bases with 20.
Grover, the Horns No. 9 hitter all season, finished with a .329 batting average.
"You usually find a nine hitter with that kind of average," coach Pettet said.
McRae, who batted .339, finished the season as the Horns front line pitcher with a 4-4 record.
Although coaches don't make public why they vote for players in all-star selections, Pettet believes Heariet (3-2) was chosen for postseason honors because of his regular pitching wins over Blue Ridge and two other state tournament qualifiers.
As the Horns starting catcher all season, Shewey batted .280 and had a strong enough arm to throw out more than 50 percent of the runners who tried to steal.
Perna, the starting shortstop, finished with .384 batting average.