Pepsi Baseball Event Draws Record Crowd

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The largest contingent ever, 41 youngsters, to participate in a Payson Pepsi Pitch Hit & Run competition April 20 walked away with a bounty of Arizona Diamondback souvenirs.

"We had bobbleheads, T-shirts, caps and Randy Johnson mini-bats," Payson's recreation coordinator, Charlene Hunt, said. "The Diamondbacks were very supportive."

Payson's overall champions included Austin Gibson (7-8-years-of-age), Chris Cooper (9-10 years), Westin Gibson (11-12 years) and Devin England (13-14 years).

Austin Gibson tallied 323 points, Copper had 799, England finished with 860 and Westin Gibson racked up the highest total of the event 1,068.

Austin Gibson won the pitching championship but Dalton Conway took the pitching and running crown.

The 9-10 year old battles turned out to be a dogfight between Blake Cannon, Payson Bobier and Cooper.

Cooper claimed the pitching title, Cannon slugged his way to the hitting crown and Bobier was the running champ.

In the 11-12 year-old battles, Gibson won both the hitting and running championship, but Zach Blazer hurled his way to the pitching title.

England swept all three of the 13-14-year-old events.

Pepsi Pitch Hit & Run is a baseball skills competition that allows youngsters to showcase their talents in pitching, hitting and running with scores determined by individual performances in each skills event.

Hunt thanked the Payson Little League governing board for not scheduling Little League games on the day of the event to allow all youngsters to compete.

"That's one of the reasons we had such a good turnout," she said.

The overall champs in each age group of the competition at Rumsey Park earned berths into the section championships May 14 in Flagstaff. Winners there advance to the Arizona All-Around Championships in Phoenix at a date to be announced next month.

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