Four Payson Champs Bound For Pepsi Finals

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Payson will send champions from four age groups to the Pepsi Hit, Pitch and Run competition to be held tomorrow (Saturday) at Thorpe Park in Flagstaff.

The local champions were crowned at the Rim country Pepsi games held May 14 at Rumsey ball field No. 2.

The winners include Nick McMullen (7-8 years), Caleb Wood (9-10-years), Phillip Satterfield (11-12-years) and Luke Christensen (13-14-years).

In the Pepsi games, town recreation and sports coordinator Teddy Pettet and his staff tested the entrants' hitting, running and throwing abilities.

In hitting, the youngsters had three opportunities to swat a baseball off a tee. Their hits were then measured for accuracy and distance. In running, the entrants were required to run from second base, round third and finish at home plate -- a distance of about 160 feet. Each entrant's time was recorded. In pitching, the entrants threw six pitches at a target 45 feet away. Individual scores were based on the accuracy of the pitches.

The 7-8-years age group turned out to be the most hotly contested. Although McMullen claimed the all-around championship with a score of 526, he won only the hitting (290). Nathan Arnold claimed the pitching crown posting a score of 150. Michael Mendoza garnered the running title with a tally of 228.

In reaping the 9-10 years crown, Wood won the hit title (264), run championship (381) and tied with Will Dougherty for the pitching gold medal. Both posted identical scores of 225. Although Wood will represent Payson in Flagstaff, he is actually a resident of Surprise.

According to Pettet, the town of Surprise apparently did not host a Pepsi event, so Wood traveled to Payson to compete.

In the 11-12-years group, Satterfield claimed the all-around championship (779) but won only pitching (300). Gunner Bauer was crowned champion of hitting (242) and running (330).

Christensen, of Gisela, won all three age group tests. In pitching he posted a tally of 150. He won the hitting with 354 and running with a card of 267.

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