The Kingman Pepsi/Albertson Invitational Fast-Pitch Tournament afforded the Lady Longhorns a sneak peek at one of the teams expected to battle Payson for the Grand Canyon Region regular season title.
In the third game of the tournament March 26 and 27, the Lady Horns dropped a 5-1 decision to the Flagstaff Eagles.
While the results of the game have no bearing on the Grand Canyon championship race, a regional showdown played yesterday (Thursday) in Flagstaff between the two teams will go down in the standings. (Results not available at press time).
Since the clash is the Grand Canyon regional opener for both schools, the winners will be off to a 1-0 jump start.
Although the Lady Horns lost the Kingman skirmish to the Eagles, PHS coach Will Dunman said he was encouraged by his team's play.
The coach's optimism is based partly on the fact that Flagstaff recorded only three base hits in the victory.
Morgan O'Haver started on the mound and received two outs of relief help from ace Brenna Zumbro. Freshman Tiffany Klemstein came in to hurl the final innings.
In yesterday's rematch, Dunman's plan was to start Zumbro and allow her to go as long as she was capable. This season, Zumbro -- who is considered one of the conference's best pitchers --as strong-armed her way to an 8-2 record.
If Zumbro was able to go the distance yesterday, the Lady Horns had a good opportunity to pull off a road victory.
The Lady Horns' lone run in the Kingman tournament loss to Flagstaff was scored by Sherra Johnson in the fourth inning. Johnson got aboard on a walk, advanced on a single by Zumbro and scored on a single by Hilary Armenta.
If the Lady Horns were to take revenge yesterday on the Eagles, the players must crank up an anemic hitting attack that produced only three hits and stranded six runners in the tournament loss.
About the only inning Lady Horn hitters could mount a threat against the Eagles was the fifth when Payson sent seven hitters to the plate.
But with the bases loaded, the Lady Horns' No. 9 and No. 10 hitters struck out to end the threat.
In other tournament games, Payson whipped Chaparral 5-4 and Cienega 6-1, but lost to Lake Havasu 6-0. The team wrapped up the tournament with a 2-2 record.
Payson returns to action tomorrow (Saturday) at Shadow Mountain. Twin bill games will begin at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The freshman/jayvee team will play a doubleheader vs. Shadow Mountain in Payson. Game times also are 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.