Payson Little League all-star coach Ty Goodman is predicting great things for next year's team.
"They'll have most of their ace pitching back and should be better than this year's team," he said.
That's a bold prediction considering the most recent edition of the 9-10-year-old Rim Country all-stars was one of the most successful in Payson history winning both area and district championships with undefeated records.
The stars were only the second Payson-area Little League team to win both area and division championships.
With those crowns, the team earned a seed into the prestigious Arizona State Little League Tournament in Phoenix where it finished with a 2-4 record.
In the opener, the team pulled off what Goodman called the upset of the tournament whipping two-time defending state champion Phoenix Arrowhead 4-3. The Payson celestial crew also beat Eloy, but dropped decisions to Ahwatukee, Bullhead City, Verde Valley and Douglas.
"We were in most all those (losses), but then had one bad inning that really cost us," Goodman said.
The coach says his prediction that the 2006 edition might be an even better team is because many of the players who stared on this year's team will return to the 9-10-year-old division.
"Our pitchers, Blake Cannon, Chris Cooper and Nick Mullen will be back with another year (of maturity and experience)," he said. "There's some other good position players (returning) too."
Goodman says he probably won't coach the team because he'd like to move up to the 11-12-years-age division in which his son, Gunner, will play in next season.
In departing the 9-10-year-old group, Goodman said he is extremely grateful to the parents who supported the Little Leaguers through both the regular and postseasons.
"They were great, we never had a bit of the problems that you sometimes hear about in sports," he said.
Goodman also said he was appreciative of the coaching help he received from his assistants Brent Cannon, Troy Alexander, Jeff Wolfe and Craig McMullen.
"We couldn't have gone as far as we did without them," he said.