The foundation of Lady Longhorn softball coach Will Dunman's program was shored up recently by the addition of a newly formed girls fast-pitch team.
The Payson Wildfire will compete this fall and winter in a 14-years-and-under Valley softball league. The team also is expected to travel around the state competing in ASA and youth tournaments.
In past years, several Rim country players have commuted to Phoenix to compete on one of the many tournament and traveling teams in the Valley.
Wildfire is the Rim country's first-ever girls traveling softball team.
According to Dunman, his goal for the Wildfire team will be "to assist young athletes who have the desire to improve their skills and learn the game of fast-pitch softball at an advanced level."
The new squad comprises many of the youngsters who now play for the Rim Country Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade teams. The Wildfire, which will play most of its games in the Valley, is coached by Payson High School senior Sherra Johnson, Curtis Johnson and Dunman.
Team members are Katie Calhoun, Christina Deaton, April Burns, Candice Johnson, Aubrey Laird, Skye McNeeley, Cydney Figueroa, Lacia Sommars, Karina Haught, Jade Berryman, Kyja Sommars, Sarah Cadd, Jessica Hudon and Brittney McDaniel.