Prep Softball Reaps Home Run Derby Rewards

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The Gracie Haught Classic was the big winner at the Second Annual Payson Parks and Recreation and Mazatzal Casino Home Run Derby.

Following the slugfest Aug. 1 at Rumsey Park, both the first and second place teams in the women's division chose the high school softball tournament to be the recipient of their winning prize money.

Mazatzal Casino will donate $500 to the Gracie Haught tournament on behalf of the Hot Ice One team, which finished in first place. Team members included Molly Hunt, Marci Sanders and Melody Deaton. The annual spring fray will also receive $350 from the casino for the second place showing of the Hot Ice Two team of Nina Ray, Sandee Koon and Tracy Hoffman.

Hot Ice One ripped 37 home runs and Hot Ice 2 had 32.

Former Lady Longhorn softball coach Will Dunman said the prize money, which the tournament also received last year following the inaugural home run derby, will be put to good use.

"We use it for the awards and prizes and the information packets for the coaches," he said. "It (the prize money) is much needed and greatly appreciated."

The third place Ball Busters team of Toni Waugh, Tammy Felton and Cali White donated their $100 prize money to the Payson Humane Society. The trio swatted 24 home runs.

Men's division

D.A.R.E. picked up a $500 first place prize thanks to the efforts of the Two-Eighty-Six team of Chad Martin, Greg Boyer and Jason Schwein. The team slugged 29 home runs.

Although the second place Mountain Bible team of Scott Nossek, Rick Finley and Matt Sopeland banged 35 home runs it had to settle for runner-up honors because Two-Eight-Six won the final round when the three top teams went head-to-head with their previous home run slates wiped clean.

"They came through when it counted," tournament director and town recreation specialist Charlene Hunt said.

The third place Rim Region team of Wayne Loy, Mark Lyons and Shane Monahan hit 36 home runs and donated its $100 prize money to Rotary.

In the 20-years-and-under division, Mike Barr's Team of Waylon Pettet, Layton Howell and Barr took first place besting the runner-up squad of Trevor LaHaye, Kyle Sachak and Larry Wilbanks.

In the individual battles, Nina Ray slugged 16 home runs to edge defending home run derby champion Molly Hunt for the crown. Hunt punched 15 round trip tickets.

Among the men, former Seattle Mariners player, Shane Monahan was the event leader with 13 HRs. Defending champ Scott Nossek hit 11.

According to event coordinator Hunt, the home run derby could undergo some format changes next year.

"We hope to have this competition on the Kiwanis fields where we can have teams swinging on two fields at the same time," she said. "It took us more than four hours to complete, so moving onto two fields would cut the time in half."

She said she would also like to hold the event in June to avoid the monsoon rains.

The derby was originally to be held July 16, but was rained out only minutes before it was to begin.

Hunt thanked the Mazatzal Casino for donating $1,900 in prize money and the entrants for their interest. "The players love the fact they are hitting for their favorite charity and we wouldn't have that (prize money) without the involvement of the casino," she said.

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