Returning Players Give Coach Second All-Star Call

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Do you believe in deja vu?

Pause.

Do you believe in deja vu?

Pause.

OK, so it's a corny joke. But deja vu is exactly what Payson Major Division (11-12 years) Little League All-Star coach Bob Halenar was experiencing when play opened yesterday (Monday) in the Arizona Area One tournament at Flagstaff Continental diamond.

Most of the players on the current edition of Payson Major All-Stars are the same ones Halenar coached and managed two years ago when they were members of the Rim country's Minor Division (9-10-years) All-Star team.

That talented team played its way to the championship of the Area tournament and advanced to the final round of the district tournament before being eliminated 6-5.

That was a disappointing loss for the fledgling players, but the team's outstanding showing in the two tournaments was solid proof there was plenty of talent on the squad.

That performance also has Halenar oozing with confidence that the current Payson all-star team will again do well in the upcoming postseason showdown.

"We've got strong pitching and some very good hitters," he said.

Originally, the all-star team was to be managed by Nick Fitch, who guided the Cardinals to the regular season Little League Major Division championship.

When Fitch had to relinquish the position because he couldn't make the time commitment away from work, Halenar took over the reins of the team.

During the regular season, Halenar guided the Giants to a Major Division runner-up finish. Assisting Halenar is Pirates manager Pat Haynes.

The players that will represent the Rim country in the tournament were selected in a voting of managers at the conclusion of the season.

The players

All-stars and their regular season teams are Sean Dougherty (Cardinals), Ever Figueroa (Cardinals), Ridge Halenar (Giants), Hunter Haynes (Pirates), Josha Horsley (Diamondbacks), Justin Jumper (Giants), Dakota Marshall (Pirates), Tyler Savage (Giants), Josh Sloan (Marlins), Alberto Vargas (Diamondbacks) Ryan Williams (Diamondbacks) and Cody York (Cardinals).

The games

The team began tournament play at 5 p.m. yesterday against Tuba City (results not available at press time). A win would propel the team into an 8 p.m. game today (Tuesday) against the winner of the first round game pitting Continental against Flagstaff.

A Payson loss in the first round would drop the team into a loser's bracket clash slated for 5 p.m., July 8.

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