Move Over Bonds, Payson Sluggers On Deck


The inaugural Home Run Derby, sponsored by the Mazatzal Casino, afforded Rim country weekend warriors the opportunity to flex their collective hitting muscles.

Contested Sept. 12 at Rumsey I, almost 40 Barry Bonds wannabes uncorked their best long ball efforts in a six-hour hitting marathon.


Matt Woolwine slugged 16 home runs for the Old School Home Run Derby team.

When the dust settled, Scott Nossek emerged the overall male winner and Molly Hunt took home the women's hardware.

Nossek hit 24 of 45 pitches out of the park. In 45 at-bats, Hunt had 20 home runs. For the men, the outfield fence was 235 feet from home plate; the women's was set at 200 feet.

For their victories, both received trophies from Mazatzal Casino marketing director Marc Kaplan.

"I am truly amazed at some of the athletic talent we have in Payson," Kaplan said. "I think there are some balls that still haven't come down and others might have hit the library."

In addition to Nossek and Hunt's individual victories, both were members of the tournament-winning three-person teams.

Nossek teamed with Matt Sopeland and Rick Finley on the Mountain Bible Church squad to slug a total of 40 home runs. Sopeland had 15 and Finley swatted 11.

Hunt joined forces on Hot Ice Two with Nina Ray and Melodi Deaton. Together they had 39 circuit blasts. Ray hit 10 and Deaton had nine.

Both championship teams' pre-designated charities received $500 each from Mazatzal Casino. Hot Ice Two was playing for the Gracie Haught Classic softball tournament and Mountain Bible chose Payson Area Habitat for Humanity.

The second-place teams designed charities received $300 and third-place finishers choices received $100.

"We gave away $1,800 to some very deserving charities here in Payson," Kaplan said.

In the men's division, the Rim Region trio of Donnie Garvin (11), Wayne Loy (19) and Will Dietz (18) punched out 48 round trip tickets to finish as runners-up. The team was playing for Rotary Club.

The team of Mike Barr (16), Chad Martin (16) and Steve Sachak (13) slugged 45 home runs to finish third and earn prize money for D.A.R.E.

James Deaton (12), Clay Sopeland (14) and Matt Woolwine (16) were fourth with 42 HRs.

Second place among the women went to the Hot Stix threesome of Toni Waugh (13), Tammy Felton (7) and Denise O'Donnal (4) who were playing for the Payson Humane Society.

Hot Ice Three, comprised of Cherry Nottingham (4), Cheri Brennan (1) and Marci Sanders (7) finished third with 12 home runs.

Hot Ice One managed four blasts and was fourth. On the team were Sandee Koon (two), Traci Hoffman (two) and Julie Ashby (0).

All three Hot Ice teams were playing for the Gracie Haught Classic.

All contestants received Mazatzal Casino Home Run Derby T-shirts and the first- through third-place teams picked up trophies and dinner for two at the Cedar Ridge Restaurant.

Payson recreation specialist Charlene Hunt said the derby was a success.

"It was a great event and we will do it again," she said.

According to Kaplan, the casino is looking forward to again sponsoring the derby and will consider making adjustments in the format.

"Maybe will do it under the lights, it would be a little cooler," he said."We'd like to get more people entered."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.