Coach Teddy Pettet's Longhorn baseball team managed to sneak in a pair of skirmishes before statewide downpours put the dampers on prep play.
The Horns dropped an 8-7 thriller March 31 to Coronado, but came roaring back the following day to April Fool the Flagstaff Eagles 7-6. A doubleheader slated for April 3 at Shadow Mountain High was canceled due to wet fields and rain.
In the games the Horns were able to play before the rain hit, senior Ashton Shewey (3-3) was the pitcher of record.
With the split, the Longhorns season record stands 9-7-1 and 1-1 in the Grand Canyon region.
Although the team's record is not as impressive as it's been in past seasons, it represents a solid mark for a team that had only three starters returning from last year.
"We are a very young, inexperienced team," Pettet said.
In the loss to Coronado in Scottsdale, Shewey absorbed the defeat after coming on in the seventh inning in relief. Dustin Hacker started and went six innings before giving way to Kyle Sachak.
Coronado scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh after Payson tied the contest 7-7 by scoring three runs in the top of the inning.
The Longhorns pounded out eight hits and had two errors.
Shewey paced the offense with two hits in four appearances, including a home run and two RBIs.
The day after the loss to Coronado, Pettet tapped Shewey to start the regional showdown in Flagstaff.
"He'd only thrown about 20 pitches (vs. Coronado)," Pettet said.
This time out, Shewey went the full seven innings and was credited with the victory.
The senior, however, struggled early in the game.
"He got hammered in the first two innings," Pettet said. "But then he settled down. He only gave up one run in the last five innings."
Of the nine hits Shewey gave up, six came in the first two innings and four were doubles, Pettet said.
Shewey struck out 10 but struggled with his control walking seven.
The often silent Payson bats, which Pettet expressed concern about in preseason drills, were alive and well in the victory. Hacker, Shewey, Austin Goss, Ricky Young and Matt LeVac had two hits each. Among those, Hacker, Shewey and LeVac had doubles.
After 17 games, Shewey leads the team at the plate with a .491 batting average that includes four home runs and 21 RBIs. Hacker is hitting .458 and has five doubles. Other Longhorn threats are Austin Goss (.423), Donnie Wilbanks (.395) and Young (.379).
The Longhorns return to Grand Canyon action at 3:30 p.m. today (Tuesday) on PHS diamond against the Sinagua Mustangs. Tomorrow (Wednesday) the team travels to Apache Junction to take on the Prospectors. Game time is 3:30 p.m.