When Longhorn baseball players look back on the 2006 campaign, they will undoubtedly remember a 2-1 victory over Holbrook and forget the 24-6 lackluster loss to the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets.
The games, played March 27 and 28 on Longhorn field, turned into a contrast in performances that had fans scratching their heads in bewilderment.
Against Holbrook the Horns could do no wrong. A day later battling Blue Ridge, the home standing Longhorns could do nothing right.
Against Holbrook, junior righthander Jason Sweet turned in his finest pitching outing of his career. In seven innings, he gave up three hits, one earned run, struck out four and walked four.
"It was a great performance," said coach Jerry Daniels.
While Sweet was mowing down opposing hitters, the Longhorn offense was generating just enough fire power to earn Payson its first region win of the season.
After the Roadrunners took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Payson rebounded to score an
earned run in the second to dead knot the game.
In the top of the seventh and final frame, Payson pushed a run across the plate to take a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Sweet and the Horn defense nailed down the win by holding the Roadrunner scoreless.
If fans had any doubts the game was a pitching duel, all they had to do was look at the
box score. Payson had two hits and Holbrook three.
The difference in the game was the defensive -- Payson committed one error, Holbrook had four costly miscues.
In fact, Payson did not score an earned run.
Jacob Willis and Sweet had Payson's only two hits.
Blue Ridge romps
In the loss to the Yellow Jackets, on a cold, blustery day more suitable for winter football than baseball, Matt Behrens drew the starting pitching assignment but struggled in his two innings on the mound.
During his stint, he allowed 12 runs, seven earned, while giving up 12 hits, three of which were home runs.
Inside the PHS dugout, coach Jerry Daniels and assistant David Daniels mulled over ways to get the normally reliable Behrens untracked.
"He's got to be smarter with his pitches," David Daniels said.
Hunter Hayes and Shawn Christensen relieved but couldn't slow the BR express as it steamed to victory.
In all, BR sluggers pounded out a whopping 24 base hits.
The turning point in the game was the Jackets' 11 run outburst in the third.
For Payson, Tyler Savage was two-for-three at the plate. Matt LeVac, Behrens and Willis had one hit apiece. Andy Sanders drew two bases on balls and scored a run.
Next up for the Horns is an April 1 showdown in Whiteriver against the Alchesay Falcons. The game was originally scheduled for March 25 but was postponed. Game times are at 11 a.m. (junior varsity) and 1 p.m. (varsity).