After having been eliminated in the second round of the Class 3A Arizona State baseball tournament, the Payson Longhorns are now relegated to watching the final four from the bleachers of Maryvale Baseball Park.
The first semifinal, which will be played at 3 p.m., May 16, will pit West region third-seeded River Valley against South region fourth-seeded Chandler Seton Catholic.
At the conclusion of that contest, South champion Globe takes on West gold medalist Fountain Hills in a battle of the pre-tournament championship favorites.
In 3A baseball circles, the Globe vs. FH game is being touted as possibly the real state championship game.
Not many give River Valley or Seton much chance of whipping either of those two regional champion teams.
The state championship will be decided at 7 p.m., May 17.
The Longhorns' quest for the school's second baseball championship came to a heartbreaking end Saturday when Fountain Hills outlasted Payson 2-1 in eight innings.
In the first round of the tournament, Payson chalked up an impressive 9-1 victory over Santa Cruz.
The Longhorns entered the state tournament as the No. 2 seed from the East region.
In the win over Santa Cruz, Jeremy Heairet went the distance on the hill and picked up the win.
Payson scored one run in the first, two in the third and tacked on six insurance runs in the fifth inning.
Taylor Walden was 2-for-4 at the plate with a triple and four RBIs. Waylon Pettet had a triple and single in four plate appearances.
In the loss to Fountain Hills, Ashton Shewey pitched probably the best game of his prep career. However, he was forced to absorb the loss when his teammates couldn't muster any type of offensive attack.
In the sixth inning, a pair of singles from Shewey and Walden gave the Horns offense a breath of life.
Shewey eventually scored Payson's only run when a walk-off play caused the FH hurler to commit a balk.
With the score dead knotted 1-1 at the end of regulation seven innings, the game went into extra innings.
In the bottom of the eighth and Shewey still in command on the hill, FH advanced a runner to third. From there he scored on a two-out infield grounder that shortstop Nate Perna had in his glove but dropped.
All that remains for the Longhorn players is to await coaches voting for the All-East region team and the Arizona Coaches Association All-Star squad. Both teams will be announced next week.