Doubleheader Loss Features Triple Play

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In the final analysis, they're just two more games in the loss column, but the Payson High School baseball team gave Shadow Mountain High School all it could handle in a doubleheader loss on Saturday in north Phoenix.

In fact, if it hadn't been for a plethora of errors -- a grand total of 13 in the two contests -- the result might have been very different. As it was, the Longhorns dropped both ends of the double dip, losing the opener 7-5 and then coming back to bow in the second game 14-6.

"The games were closer than the scores indicated," first-year coach Jerry Daniels said. "If we hadn't had some errors, they would have been anybody's games; the errors cost us the ball games."

There were a few bright spots in both games that might bode well for the future.

In the opener, Donnie Wilbanks hurled five strong innings. He was followed to the mound by Matt Behrens, who also pitched effectively.

"Donnie turned in one of the best pitching performances of the year," Daniels said, "but we had some errors behind him."

PHS also pulled off a triple play in the first game.

"It was keyed by Kyle Sachak," Daniels said. "They had runners at first and third and both broke on the pitch.

"(The batter) hit a line drive at Kyle and he caught it and stepped on the bag and threw to first, so we got both runners before they could tag up. It was the first triple play in my career, and I've been coaching high school ball for 30 years."

Matt Levac went three for four and drove in two runs in the opener, and Jason Sweet also knocked in a pair of runs. The Horns out-hit Shadow Mountain 11-6, but paid the price for their seven errors.

In the second game, the team put on a hitting exhibition in the fifth inning. Tyler Munoz led off the frame with a solo home run, and the next six batters all reached base, five with base hits and one hit by a pitch.

Darren Daniels went two for three and drove in a pair of runs in the game, while Levac also went two for three and Gerry Paul two for four.

Daniels brought up sophomore Jacob Willis to start the game, and he lasted three innings. He was relieved by Sachak, Daniels and Paul.

With the two losses, the baseball team's record drops to 6-10 for the 2005 campaign. The team returns to league play at Sinagua at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, and then comes back to Payson to take on Apache Junction at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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