The Payson High School baseball team broke out of a prolonged slump in a big way, pounding Apache Junction 10-5 in a home contest Wednesday afternoon.
Kyle Sachak, Tyler Williams and Matt Levac paced the offensive onslaught going 2 for 3, 2 for 4, and 3 for 4 respectively. Daren Daniels also played a key role.
"Daniels had a sacrifice fly that tied the game up and gave us a little momentum going into the latter innings," coach Jerry Daniels said.
Matt Behrens went the distance for PHS. "He pitched the best game of the season," Daniels said. "He scattered six hits, struck out six, and only walked three. It was just an awesome performance."
Another key to the game was defense, an area of recent concern. After committing 18 errors in their last three games, all losses, the Longhorns made only three miscues against Apache Junction.
"They were scattered out so none of them hurt us real bad," the coach said. "Our problem before was that we were making four, five, six errors and they were all back-to-back and they extended innings."
Daniels singled out third baseman Sachak, shortstop Andy Sanders and outfielder Donnie Wilbanks for their defensive efforts.
"Donnie caught five flies in center field, which really helped," he said. "The whole team just played a really good game."
Flagstaff Sinagua 14, Payson 4
The baseball team played four strong innings before a pair of fifth-inning errors opened the floodgates, resulting in a 14-4 drubbing at the hands of Flagstaff Sinagua in a road contest Tuesday.
"We played really good ball for four innings, and then in the fifth inning, we just kind of fell apart," PHS head coach Jerry Daniels said.
The Longhorns were leading 4-2 going into the bottom of the fifth when Sinagua put together five hits, along with the two errors, to push across eight runs. The big blow was a grand slam home run.
Despite the rocky fifth inning, Jason Sweet went the distance for PHS, throwing a total of 102 pitches.
"He did an outstanding job through the fourth inning," Daniels said. "They started hitting him a little bit in the fifth, and then the errors combined with the hits sunk us."
The Longhorns put together two two-run innings en route to the early lead. In the first, Albert Talamante and Andy Sanders banged out hits. They moved up on a fielder's choice and came home on a base hit by Tyler Williams.
The other PHS runs were the result of walks to Donnie Wilbanks and Gerry Paul. Wilbanks eventually came home on a sacrifice fly by Jacob Willis, and Paul dented the plate on a wild pitch.
With the league loss, the Longhorns fall to 0-3 in conference play and 6-12 overall.