Baseball Down Under Beckons Coach, Rim Players

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Payson High School baseball coach Teddy Pettet and a squad of small-town Arizona players, including nine from Payson, are gearing up for the G'Day International Sports Down Under tour.

The baseball/cultural exchange to Australia begins July 18 at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport and wraps up July 30 when the team departs Brisbane International Airport for its return trip to Arizona.

Tyler Williams, Waylon Pettet, Jeremy Heairet, David Curtiss, Manny Arguello, Rob Ochoa, Darrin Glover, Ty Brunson, Russ Wegner and Jon Beeson will represent Payson on the Arizona team.

Camp Verde's Chase Armstrong and Snowflake's Matt Abbott also are on the team.

Pettet anticipates one additional player will soon be added to the roster.

In Australia, the team will play in two tournaments against Australian teams.

The first tournament begins July 19 in Cains. While there, the players and coaches reside at the Colonial Club Resort.

In their free time, they will visit Wild World Animal Park where koalas, kangaroos and crocodiles are housed.

The squad's second tournament begins July 25 at Harristown High School in Toowoomba, Queensland -- a small city at the top of the Great Divide Range.

While in Toowoomba, the players reside with Australian host families.

In addition to baseball, the teens will ride the Kuranda scenic railroad and the Australian Sky Rail which travels over the rain forest.

At the Tjapukai Cultural Center, they will take in an aborigines dance and try their hand at throwing spears and boomerangs.

While in Queensland, the players also will visit and attend classes at Harristown High School

Following the final tournament, host families will take the players to Paradise County where they will participate in sheep shearing and whip-cracking.

Also on the schedule is an Australian barbecue dinner and entertainment by an Australian bush band.

The final days of the trip will be spent at a resort at Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast.

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