A five-game winning streak came to a screeching halt with the Longhorns 4-2 loss to arch rival Snowflake.
In the defeat, April 11 on Payson High School diamond, the Horns jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Jason Sweet's booming home run over the left field fence. Matt Behrens, who had earlier singled, scored on the circuit blast.
The two early runs, however, were about the only offense the Horns could generate in a game in which Lobo pitching limited the usually proficient PHS batsmen to just six hits.
Payson's lead was erased midway through the game when the Lobos rallied for three runs on a flurry of hits, walks and a hit batter.
The Lobos tacked on an insurance run in the final inning.
Sweet, a junior right-hander, fresh off from a college recruiting trip, started on the hill and was saddled with the loss. Matt Behrens relieved to pitch the final out.
Offensively, Behrens and freshman Ridge Halenar led the Horns with 2-for-3 efforts at the plate.
With the loss, the Longhorns fall to 5-3 in the chase for the East region championship. Blue Ridge is atop the standings with 6-1 credentials. Snowflake is 5-2, Holbrook 3-4, Show Low 3-4, Round Valley 1-6 and Alchesay 0-6.
In other East region games, on April 7 the Horns edged Holbrook 5-2. A day later, Payson run-ruled Round Valley 17-7.
Behrens was credited with the win over the Roadrunners, hurling a complete game in which he gave up seven hits, two earned runs, struck out two and walked one.
Behrens was also a one-man wrecking crew at the plate, pounding out three hits in four trips.
Halenar was 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. The red-hot freshman also had three RBIs and a run scored.
After Payson took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Longhorns nailed down the win with a four-run outburst in the fourth.
Against Round Valley, freshman Hunter Haynes baffled Elk hitters, allowing just four hits in a game shortened to five innings on the 10-run rule.
Haynes struck out six, walked four and gave up three extra base hits.
Jake Willis and Andy Sanders both finished a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate. Willis contributed a triple, home run, two RBIs and scored two runs.
Sanders had a triple, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Zak Miller, Tyler Savage, Matt LeVac and Halenar had two hits each.
One of LeVac's hits was a home run.
In the blow out over the visiting Elks, the Horns scored in all five innings including five tallies in the first.
The chase for the East title and a berth in the state tournament resumes April 18 against Alchesay. Game time is 4 p.m. on the PHS diamond.
4 p.m. Tuesday, April 18