Youngster Winning Titles In Basketball, Baseball

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Zach Blazer is not letting his youth stand in the way of building a reputation as one of the Rim country's finest athletes.

In the past several weeks, the 12-year-old Rim Country Middle School sixth-grader has won the Basketball Bonanza Arizona State three-point championship and the Pepsi Pitch, Hit and Run Payson age group title.

The youngster contributes his athletic success to his family.

"We all play sports together, even my mom (Kim)," he said.

His basketball shooting skills are honed on a basket at his home, on the Rumsey Park courts and during youth town league play, he said.

"I just like to play basketball, it is my favorite sport," he said. "Baseball is OK, but basketball is the best."

Blazer earned the state three-point championship for 11- and 12-year-old boys April 16 at America West Arena in Phoenix.

He advanced there as the Payson three-point champion. A title he won Feb. 12 at the local competition held in Payson High School gymnasium.

His Payson Pepsi championship was earned in the same age group April 20 at Rumsey Park.

The event, which tested entrants' pitching, hitting and base-running skills, was sponsored by Pepsi, Major League Baseball and the Payson Parks and Recreation Department.

In addition to capturing the pitching title, he also finished as age group all-around runner-up to Westin Gibson.

In the Basketball Bonanza three-point shootout, a rack of five balls was placed at five locations around the three-point line -- 19 feet, 9 inches from the baskets.

Each player had one minute to shoot as many times as possible around the arc. Each successful shot with one of the first four balls on the rack was worth one point. The fifth ball, deemed the "money ball," was worth two points.

In the state showdown, Blazer scored 12 points and was able to sink three money balls.

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