With visions of a tournament championship swirling inside their batting helmets, the Lady Longhorn softball team (7-4) returns to post-spring break play March 26 and 27 at the Kingman Bulldog Invitational.
Coach Will Dunman plans to use the two-day dog fight as a tuneup for Grand Canyon regional play which begins at 3:30 p.m. April 1 in Flagstaff.
Following the skirmish in the desert, Dunman will have one final opportunity to assess his players before GC action gets under way.
A game originally schedule to be played March 19 on Longhorn field against the Class 3A Show Low Cougars was postponed until 3:30 p.m. March 29 in Payson.
Although the clash against Show Low is no longer a regional match-up as it was in past seasons, the often-heated rivalry between the two teams will probably render a spirited scrap.
In games contested over the spring break, the Lady Horns dumped Buckeye 17-7 March 17 and baffled the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets 9-2 two days later in Payson.
In the win over the home standing Hawks, Payson rode standout pitching from Morgan O'Haver and a respectable offensive attack to the victory.
O'Haver, the Lady Horns' second line pitcher, dominated the Hawks with a variety of offerings. If O'Haver continues to excel as she did in Buckeye, the Lady Horns will have a pair of potent pitchers for all-important Grand Canyon play.
Offensively, Molly Agnes and Jessica Coleman paced Payson. Both finished with two hits in four appearances at the plate. Coleman swatted a single and a double, scored a run, stole a base and had two RBIs. Agnes, was credited with two singles, stole a base and had a team-high three RBIs.
Senior Brenna Zumbro, the team's No. 1 hurler, contributed a two-run home run to the triumph.
In 22 official team appearances at the plate, the Lady Horns had seven hits and drew 11 walks.
Following the fray, Dunman cited the players for their resiliency in playing well at a site where only four days earlier that had battled in the Buckeye Invitational.
"We were there for two days, played a lot of games, and had to go back," Dunman said. "It didn't seem to affect the girls."