Players Earn The Coach's Vote


Matt LeVac and Jason Sweet have earned some of the most prestigious awards prep baseball players can receive.

The honors arrived early this week when the two were named to the East All-Region first team. Because the players are chosen for the award by coaches, making all-region carries extra clout. Opposing coaches traditionally have a very critical eye and their assessments are normally on-target.

Matt Behrens and Jacob Willis of Payson were chosen to the All-East second team.

The foursome helped lead the Longhorns to a 14-12 record, a tie with Snowflake for second place in the final East standings and a berth in the state tournament.

At state, Horn hopes for the school's second 3A championship ended with a first round 6-0 loss to Sahuarita.

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 was among the East's best power hitters, with 17 extra base hits including 11 doubles. His on base percentage of .500 was one of the region's best marks.

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

Although the high-powered Sahuarita batsmen roughed up Sweet for 10 hits on a rare off day, he did strike out 10. Sweet, who plays club ball in the off-season, wrapped up the campaign with a 4.50 ERA and 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," the Payson High School junior said after the game. "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.

Behrens compiled a 5-2 record in six starts with a 3.23 ERA. He struck out 19 and walked 13.

At the plate, he hit .328 with three doubles and 6 RBIs. Once Behrens got on base, he represented an opposing pitcher's nightmare in that he was always a threat to steal.

His 14 stolen bases, in 14 attempts, were the best in the East region.

Willis hit at a .365 clip with three doubles, four triples and two home runs. He also ranked third on the team in RBIs, with 16.

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