Lady Longhorn softball coach Will Dunman is adamantly urging all aspiring middle and high school players to take advantage of a skills camp that will be held during the Payson school district’s Christmas holiday vacation.
The 19th Annual Holiday Softball Camp for girls, which will be conducted by University of Arizona head softball coach Mike Candrea, is slated for Dec. 14 and 15 at Sahuaro Ranch in Glendale. The morning sessions are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The afternoon sessions are from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The camp fee is $120, if paid prior to Dec. 10. After that, the fee is $150.
Applications are available at the Town of Payson Parks and Recreation offices located at Green Valley Park.
Candrea, one of the most highly respected coaches in the nation, was recently selected as the head coach of the USA softball team for the 2004 Olympic games. He will also be the head coach of the USA team entered in the 2002 World Championships and the 2003 Pan American Games.
When the power point system was first introduced several years ago in 3A football, there was speculation it was intended to limit the power of East teams in the state tournament.
In some years, the East had as many as three teams reach the final four.
The previous playoff system paired regions against one another. For example, in the state opening round the first place finisher in the West region might be paired against the fourth team from the East. In that format, the second place team from the West played the third from the East. The other two regions, North and South, played one another in a similar 1 Vs. 4 and 2 Vs. 3 matchup. Every year, the regions rotated foes.
Some scoffed at the notion that the new power point system was directed at the East.
But, with the East region champion Blue Ridge playing fellow region member Payson in the state first round this evening (Friday), the argument the power point system was used to limit the East’s power seems to have gained some credibility.
After all, Payson played Blue Ridge two weeks ago and pairing the two schools in a first round rematch makes little sense.
Also, the argument can be made that a very good team, either Blue Ridge or Payson, will be eliminated early in the tournament.
Some of the teams that remain after the first round, will certainly not be the caliber of the Longhorns or Yellow Jackets.
So, how did two East schools end up playing one another in the first round?
In the power point system, which awards points on number of Class 3A victories, Blue Ridge wrapped up the season with 58.75 points and ranked No. 7 in the conference. Payson earned 52.50 points and was rated No. 10.
In the state tournament bracket, No. 7 was paired with No. 10, which created a Horns vs. Yellow Jacket showdown.
The real benefactor in the power point system might be Snowflake. Although the Lobos lost to Blue Ridge last week and finished as the East runner-up, the team had enough points to earn a number-one seed and will play lowly 16-seed Window Rock in the first round.
Under the previous playoff system, two teams from the same region would never have met in the opening round. And a region champion, like Blue Ridge, would not have drawn a tougher opponent than the region runner-up.
So, was the power point system put in place to crimp the East’s powerful style?
The argument will continue throughout the state playoffs.