Victories over the homestanding Round Valley Elks have kept the Payson High School baseball and softball teams in the hunt for East region championships.
Tuesday in Eagar, the baseball crew (6-0 in the East, 17-4 overall) rode the pitching of Ashton Shewey to a 6-3 win over the Elks. On the RVHS softball diamond, Rachel Ray and Brenna Zumbro joined forces to hurl the Lady Longhorns (5-1, 18-5-1 overall) to a 5-1 East victory over the Lady Elks.
For the baseball squad, Shewey received the starting nod from coach Teddy Pettet and hurled 6 1/3 innings before giving way to Jon Beeson. In two-thirds innings of relief, Beeson was credited with the save.
The Longhorns jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The early outburst was fueled by Nate Perna's double, a triple by Taylor Walden and an RV error.
In the fifth inning, Ronnie Maksymowski's two-run single upped the Payson lead to 6-2.
In the Longhorn attack, the team's No. 5 through No. 9 hitters -- Walden, Jeremy Heairet, Maksymowski, Ricky Young and Shewey --ad seven of Payson's eight hits.
The Longhorns traveled to Eager anticipating they would face Elk pitching ace Ryan Myers who is about as good a hurler as there is in the 3A conference.
The Elk staff opted, however, not to start Myers. In the fifth inning, after Payson enjoyed some offensive success, Myers came on in relief to stifle the Horn bats.
"If they started him, he might have beat us," Pettet said. "They were probably saving him (for an upcoming game against Blue Ridge)."
For the Lady Longhorns, Rachel Ray (6-2) started her first game in more than two weeks and was credited with the victory. Ray has been sidelined by a nagging injury.
During her four innings on the hill she gave up two hits, no runs, and did not walk a batter.
Zumbro hurled three innings of relief and gave up four hits. RV's lone run was unearned.
The Lady Horns jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Doni Miotto's single, a walk, wild pitch and RV errors.
In the top of the fourth, Payson upped the count to 4-0 when Jessica Coleman's got aboard on an infield error and scored on Miotto's double.
The Lady Horns scored their final run in the top of the 7th on Sherra Johnson's single and a pair of RV infield errors.
In RV's losing effort, the Lady Elks committed five errors.
The Lady Longhorns return to action at 1 p.m. tomorrow on PHS field against the Sinagua Mustangs.