While the curtain has fallen on the Longhorn baseball team, the stage continues to be set for the PHS softball squad.
The Horns state championship hopes ended Saturday with a 13-2 loss to the Bradshaw Mountain Bears.
The softball team stayed alive in the postseason by beating Phoenix Washington 5-3.
Both games, played at Payson High School, were Class 4A state tournament opening round clashes.
With the softball team's victory, the Lady Horns return to state tournament play at 4 p.m. today (Tuesday) at Tucson Sabino. The Lady Horns opponent is the No. 1 seed from the 4A Kino division. Because Sabino was a regional champion, the team drew a bye in the opening round of the state tournament. The Lady Horns are the No. 2 seed from the Grand Canyon region.
The baseball team wrapped up the season with a 17-15-1 record in its first year of 4A conference play. The Horns finished as the Grand Canyon region's third place team and a Grand Canyon tournament runner-up.
Earning a state berth as a rookie 4A team and as the smallest school in the conference was, "a big accomplishment for our kids," baseball coach Teddy Pettet said.
The Longhorns opened the season with three returning starters and a roster filled with inexperienced players.
At the beginning of the season, Pettet wondered if his team had the moxie and talent it would take to be competitive in the big school conference. By posting a winning record and earning an upper division region finish, the team proved it could compete with the 4A's best.
In the loss to Bradshaw Mountain, senior lefthander Ashton Shewey started on the hill and was saddled with the defeat. In the sixth inning, Shewey was relieved by Dustin Hacker who quickly dished up a home run ball.
For the PHS baseball players, all that remains is the traditional season-ending awards ceremony where they will learn which athletes have been voted to the all-region team.
The senior players are also eligible to compete in the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game when it is played later this summer.
According to Pettet, the date and place for the baseball awards ceremony will be announced soon.
In the softball team's victory, senior fire-baller Brenna Zumbro was credited with the win. In seven innings, she struck out 12, didn't issue a walk and gave up four hits.
"I was throwing a lot of high fastballs and some change ups that they were popping up," the pitcher said.
The Lady Horns played without the services of starting shortstop Molly Agnes who suffered a dislocated thumb in a regular season game against Page.
Molly was replaced in the lineup by her younger sister, Sarah.
Zumbro is expected to get the starting pitching call in today's game against Sabino.