Horns Begin Region Play Against Flagstaff

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The Longhorn baseball team will be looking for its first Grand Canyon Region win of the season today at Flagstaff Coconino. Game time is 3:30 p.m.

The Horns travel to Flagstaff with an 0-3 GCR record (6-12) overall after dropping a 14-4 decision April 5 to Flagstaff Sinagua.

The team rebounded from that humbling loss the following day in a 10-5 thumping of Apache Junction.

Against Coconino, coach Jerry Daniels can call upon Matt Behrens who turned in the Longhorns' finest pitching performance of the season in the win over A.J.

In going the distance on the hill, Behrens gave up six hits, struck out six and walked three.

"It was an awesome performance," Daniels said.

Also at Daniels disposal is sophomore Jason Sweet who improves with each outing. In the loss to Sinagua, he went the distance but his eventual downfall occurred after being tagged for a grand slam.

As important as pitching is to a victory today, it also will be the Horns defense -- or lack of -- that will play a major role in the outcome of the game.

During a three-game mid-season stretch, the Horns were their own worst enemy committing 18 errors. Against AJ, the Horn defense stiffened committing just three miscues.

Since the beginning of the preseason, Daniels has stressed defense saying the Horns needed to play solidly in both the infield and outfield if the team was going to be successful.

The struggling defense has been enough of a headache to prompt the coach to spend most of spring break's practice time working on fielding ground balls, turning double plays and properly playing fly balls in the outfield.

The coach said Mother Nature was one of the reasons the Longhorns have been sloppy on defense.

"Because of all the rain and wet fields, we weren't able to get much practice outside during preseason," he said. ‘It's hard to work on defense in a gym."

Offensively, the team has been able to score runs thanks to the hot bats of Kyle Sachak, Tyler Williams and Matt Levac. Against AJ, the trio accounted for seven hits and played a pole in most of the runs scored.

Following the showdown at Coconino, the Horns have the unenviable task of a four hour bus ride April 16 to Page where they will take on the homestanding Sand Devils. Game times are 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Grand Canyon Standings

Baseball

Coconino 2-0

Mingus 3-1

Flagstaff 2-1

Sinagua 1-1

Page 0-1

Payson 0-2

Chinle 0-2

Tuesday's Games

Mingus at Page, 3:30 p.m.

Flagstaff vs. Coconino

Payson at Sinagua, 3:30 p.m.

Softball

Flagstaff 2-0

Page 1-0

Coconino 1-1

Payson 1-1

Chinle 0-0

Sinagua 0-0

Mingus 0-3

Tuesday's Games

Mingus at Page (DH), 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Flagstaff vs. Coconino

Payson at Sinagua, 3:30 p.m.

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