Rain Marks Beginning Of Baseball Season

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After almost a decade of coaching Payson High School baseball, Teddy Pettet came up with a description of the beginning of baseball season.

"If it's raining or snowing and cold, you know it's time for baseball," he said. "Before the season, it's usually sunny and warm."

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Just like past seasons, the Payson High School baseball field was flooded the day the practices were to open. Inclement weather has new coach Jerry Daniels scrambling to find indoor practice sites.

Since uttering those musings, Pettet has since resigned and moved to Idaho.

Just as Pettet often predicted, the prep baseball season begins Wednesday and the weather forecasts are for rain throughout the week.

The Longhorns' opener, a preseason scrimmage against coach Art Griffith's Bulldogs in Winslow, will go on as scheduled if Vargas Field is playable. Game time is 3:30 p.m.

According to Payson High School athletic director Dave Bradley, if the scrimmage is rained out, it will not be rescheduled.

"They have a tournament coming up so there wouldn't be time," he said. "But, if Winslow's field is not playable and ours is, we could move (the scrimmage) here."

That tournament is the Mohave Invitational March 2 to 5 near Laughlin.

When the Longhorns begin the season, it will be under the leadership of veteran coach Jerry Daniels who last summer was appointed Pettet's successor. Daniels is no stranger to high school athletics. He has served a highly successful tenure as the Lady Longhorn basketball coach, was on the PHS football staff for many years, served as the junior varsity baseball coach under Pettet, coached youth league football and has been a high school official and scorekeeper.

As the Lady Horn basketball coach, from 1994 to 2000, he helped mold some of the finest girls hoop teams in school history taking the team to four consecutive state tournaments.

The 1997-98 season was one of his finest. Led by seniors Amberlyn White, Erin Dahlman and Molly Hunt, the Lady Horns finished 12-0 in the 3A Central region and 23-5 overall.

When Daniels resigned, he stepped away from his head coaching duties, he said he had a wealth of memories to take with him.

Daniels' new coaching staff will include Joe LaSalandra and Jimmy Oestmann. LaSalandra will head the junior varsity program and Oestmann, a former Longhorn sports star turned Department of Public Safety officer, takes over the freshmen team.

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