Horns Tame Mustangs, Bury Prospectors

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Longhorn fans won back-to-back victories that symbolize opposite ends of the baseball gamut.

In Grand Canyon regional action April 6 on PHS diamond, the Longhorns mustered a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to salvage a nail-biting 4-3 win over the Flagstaff Sinagua Mustangs.

The Longhorns returned to the diamond the following day and ho-hummed their way to a 20-6 victory over the home-standing Apache Junction Prospectors.

That victory, which ended after five innings on the 10-run mercy rule, could be one of the Horns most humdrum of the campaign.

While fans reveled in the excitement of the thrilling win against Sinagua, coach Teddy Pettet was much more at ease watching his players hammer Apache Junction.

In overwhelming the Prospectors, the Longhorn bats pounded 13 hits, seven of which were for extra bases. In their seven-run fifth-inning outburst, senior Ashton Shewey uncorked a grand-slam home run.

Shewey also had a two-run single in the third and a three-run double in the fourth. Shewey wrapped up the day with nine RBIs.

Junior catcher Tyler Williams, known more for running trap plays between the guards in football than scoring in baseball, finished the day with four runs and a stolen base.

Ryan Thiel, who just returned to action after being sidelined all season with a shoulder injury, contributed two singles.

The speedy senior's return to the lineup is a dose of good news for the Payson offense. Anytime Thiel is on the paths, he's a threat to steal, take the extra base or be a part of a hit-and-run play.

In the victory at Apache Junction, senior Ricky Young got the starting nod from Pettet but was not at his hurling best.

"He struggled early allowing four singles in three complete innings," Pettet said.

Although Young (3-1) was yanked in the fourth and replaced by sophomore Matt Behrens, he was credited with the win. During his stint on the hill, Young struck three and walked three. Behrens gave up two hits and two runs.

Against Sinagua, the Horns fell behind 1-0 in the top of the second, but came roaring back with single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Clinging to a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh, the Horns were within two hits of a victory.

"We had a chance to end the game in regulation, but shoddy defense and poor pitch selection allowed the Mustangs to tie it up," Pettet said.

In the frame, a one-out double, an error in left field, Payson's infield throwing error and Shewey's errant pick-off attempt fueled Sinagua's rally.

"The Mustangs No. 4 hitter then laced a 0-2 pitch up the middle to tie the game and send it into extra innings," Pettet said.

In the bottom of the seventh, Payson failed to score.

The Horns finally nailed down the victory in the bottom of the eighth when Ricky Young scored on a ground ball off the bat of Ron Maksymowski that got past the Sinagua third baseman and rolled into left field.

Earlier, Young got on board on a one-out single to right field and was sacrificed to second by Donnie Wilbanks.

In the win, Shewey started on the hill and was credited with his fourth victory of the season striking out 17 and walking three.

In eight complete innings, Shewey gave up eights hits, only one of which was for extra bases -- a double in the seventh.

"He was brilliant at times," Pettet said.

The Horns (2-1 and 11-7-1 overall) return to Grand Canyon play today (Tuesday) in Flagstaff against the Coconino Panthers. Game time is 3:30 p.m.

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