Phs Athletes Earn All-State Honors

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The on-the-field exploits of a trio of PHS athletes have earned them Class 3A All-State honorable mention recognition.

Longhorn baseball players Matt LeVac and Jason Sweet, as well as Lady Horn softball player Candice Johnson, learned of the honors in the June 4 edition of the Arizona Republic.

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The pitching of Lady Longhorn Candice Johnson earned her recognition on the all-state softball team.

All-state players are chosen by the newspaper's staff with input from high school coaches.

Sweet, a junior at PHS, said he would like to have been chosen first or second team all-state, but was happy with just being selected.

"It was exciting," he said.

All three players were chosen, earlier this year, for the All-East Region first team. LeVac was an Arizona Baseball Coaches Association all-star team honoree.

In the star game, played June 10 at Grand Canyon University, LeVac started at second base for the North team and played five full innings.

At the plate, he was 2-for-2, including a walk. Despite his efforts, the North lost to the South 6-4.

The following day, LeVac became only the third PHS player ever selected to participate in the Super 50 All-Arizona game played in Chase field immediately after the Diamondbacks lost to the New York Mets 15-2.

Playing on a major league diamond was a dream come true for the teen.

"It was amazing, the park is so nice," he said.

LeVac started in right field and played error-free. He was hit less in two plate appearances, popping up both times.

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Jason Sweet, a junior at PHS, has received baseball all-state honorable mention recognition.

During the 2006 regular season, LeVac led the team in hitting with a .432 average that included team-leading marks of five home runs, 22 RBIs and 26 runs scored. He also slugged 17 extra base hits including 11 doubles.

Currently, LeVac -- who graduated this spring -- is a member of the Grand Canyon University summer team and hopes to earn a baseball scholarship to the school.

Sweet, the Horns mound ace all last season, compiled a 3-6 record that included a state opening round tournament loss to Sahuarita.

Although the high-powered Sahuarita batsmen roughed up Sweet for 10 hits, he did strike out 10. Sweet, who plays club ball in the off-season, wrapped up the campaign with a 4.50 ERA and a conference-high 86 strikeouts.

His finest game might have been recorded April 21 during a 14-4 extra inning upset of East region champion Blue Ridge.

Facing 36 opposing batsmen, he allowed two earned runs, six hits, struck out 10 and walked only two.

"I was in the zone," he said. "It felt like I couldn't do anything wrong out there. It was a great feeling."

Offensively, Sweet hit at a .347 clip with two home runs and 20 RBIs.

Sweet said he has been invited to play in two off-season showcases, including the Perfect Game Sunshine West tournament in San Diego, Calif.

"I'm really excited about that," he said. "I've got a new pitching coach and he has my fastball up to 87 mph with more movement."

For Johnson, a sophomore, receiving all-state recognition was a huge accomplishment, because the honors are usually reserved for juniors and seniors.

In addition to being named all-state and all-region, Johnson was chosen to the Class 3A Arizona State Tournament team after posting a .670 ERA in three games she pitched in the finals held May 5, 6 and 12 at Rose Mofford Complex in Phoenix.

During the regular season, Johnson led the team in hitting with a .473 average and had a 14-7 record as a hurler.

Her pitching and hitting helped lead the Lady Longhorns to the final four of the state tournament.

The team was eventually eliminated in the semifinals by a 2-1 loss to the Florence Gophers.

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