Grand Canyon coaches have named five Lady Longhorn softball players to all-region teams.
Brenna Zumbro and Molly Agnes were chosen to the first team. Hillari Armenta and Doni Miotto were named second team. Sherra Johnson reaped honorable mention laurels. Zumbro, Miotto and Johnson are seniors. Agnes and Armenta are sophomores.
Zumbro, a four-year-letter winner who also plays extensively on the club circuit, was the Lady Longhorn pitching ace the past season. Last month, the right-hander accepted a scholarship to play next year for the Whitworth College Pirates in Spokane, Wash.
The absence of Zumbro in the lineup next spring will mean coach Will Dunman will be without the hurler who has been his most dependable pitcher the past four seasons.
"She did a great job for us and was always a very good leader," he said. "She was always willing to share with her teammates what she knew about the game."
Being named all-region first team caps a prep career in which Zumbro was on the 2001 and 2002 all-state tournament teams and was second team all-Arizona in 2003. She also was named to the Class 3A all-East region first teams in 2002 and 2003.
For Agnes, the campaign ended in the postseason when she suffered a dislocated thumb after being hit by a pitch. Before the injury, Agnes built a reputation as one of the smoothest shortstops in the region. Dunman praised her as a defensive gem who also could swing the bat with the best hitters in the region.
Miotto started in centerfield for the Longhorns and rapidly became the team's best defensive outfielder.
"When the ball was hit to center, we knew she was going to get it," Dunman said. "We never worried with her out there."
Miotto also is known for her modesty.
"After making a spectacular catch, we all congratulated her in the dugout and all she would say is, ‘Coach, that's what I practice for.'" Dunman said.
Miotto is bound for Arizona State University in Tempe where Dunman is urging her to tryout for the Sun Devil team.
"We want her to be a walk on," Dunman said.
For Armenta, second team represents a huge accomplishment for a sophomore catcher competing against more seasoned veterans.
"This was her second year behind the plate and she knew what to expect," Dunman said. "She had much more confidence this year."
Johnson was the Lady Longhorns' starting first baseman the past two seasons and was regarded as a solid infielder and a good hitter especially when slap hitting and bunting.
"She was the rock we needed in the infield," Dunman said. "She was a hustler and had a great knowledge of the game."
Next year, Johnson will attend Glendale College. She is mulling over the possibility of continuing her softball career there.
The naming of the PHS players to the all-region team wraps up the Lady Horns' 21-11 season and second-place finish in the Grand Canyon regular season standings. After beating Phoenix Washington 5-3 in the opening round of the state tournament, the team was eliminated by a 15-0 loss to Tucson Sabino.
Dunman said he and the players are extremely grateful to those who earmarked their Credit for Kids tax money to the softball program. That money, along with donations and volunteer help from community, added a sparkling new touch to Lady Horn field.
The outfield fences were adorned with purple backing and the dugouts and concession stands received fresh coats of paint. The batting cages also were refenced and new bleachers were installed.
Although the season is at an end, Dunman and several of his veterans will return to the PHS diamond to host a youth camp from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., June 1 to 4. The camp, which is co-sponsored by the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, is open to fledgling players entering fourth- to eighth-grade next school year.
According to Dunman, the camp curriculum will center on the basics of the game including pitching, hitting, fielding, base-running and game strategy.
Registration may be completed at the Parks and Rec office at Green Valley Park. The registration fee is $35 and the deadline is 5 p.m., May 28.
For more information, call (928) 474-5242, ext. 268.