Juniors Suffer Back-To-Back Losses At Flagstaff

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Postseason play turned into a case of two-and-out for the Payson Little League Junior Division (13-14-years) All-Star team.

Competing in the Area 1 tournament July 7-12 at Continental Field in Flagstaff, the Payson team was quickly eliminated from the tournament by virtue of back-to-back losses to Winslow, 12-4, and Flagstaff, 13-6.

All-Star manager Ted Pierce, who coached the Cubs to a league leading 9-1 record during the regular season, cited the team's porous defense for the two defeats.

"Too many errors," he said. "The boys had the ability, but just couldn't pull it all together when it counted."

In the loss to Winslow, Jason Sweet -- a member of the Diamondbacks during the regular season -- got the starting pitching nod from Pierce and was tagged with the loss.

Last spring, Sweet was the front line pitcher on the inaugural Rim Country Middle School Maverick baseball team.

Sweet's battery mate, Morgan Cassuto, drew praise from Pierce for his all-around play against Winslow.

"He hit the ball well and did an outstanding job as catcher," Pierce said.

Cassuto was chosen to the All-Star team as a member of Pierce's Cubs squad.

In the loss to Flagstaff, errors again spelled the demise of the Rim diamond men.

"We were leading early in the game but then gave up some runs on our mistakes," Pierce said.

Sweet led the team offensively with a home run. Cassuto was the losing pitcher.

The Payson All-Stars will form the nucleus of the Longhorn freshmen team when spring sports tip off next school year.

Payson High School coach Teddy Pettet, who watched the players as Little Leaguers and on the RCMS squad, is predicting good things for the youngsters."We think we can get enough good athletes out of that class to make a pretty good (varsity) team in a few years," he said.

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