Six Lady Longhorns who led the Payson High School softball squad into the state final four have been rewarded with all-region honors.
Hilary Armenta and Candice Johnson were named first team. Second team honors were awarded to Hannah Armenta and Molly Agnes. Jadyn Walden and Kaycee Pugel were tapped for honorable mention.
The all region players were chosen in a voting of coaches held at the conclusion of the season.
They, and their teammates, were honored at a season-ending awards banquet held May 15 at PHS.
First teamers Hilary Armenta and Johnson comprised the pitching and catching battery that all season long fueled the Lady Horn effort.
Hilary, a strong-armed, rock-solid catcher, was also one of the team's leading hitters and on-the-field leaders.
Last season, she was one of just two Lady Horns who made the Class 4A Grand Canyon all-region team.
Hilary also excels in the classroom and was selected an Arizona Scholar recipient earlier this season.
She is also the reigning Payson Roundup Young Woman of the Year.
Hilary plans to continue her softball career next year at Mesa College where she will major in physical therapy and athletic training.
Johnson, a sophomore, wrapped up the season with a 2.30 ERA but was at her best in the three state tournament games in which her ERA was a minuscule .67.
She also led the team in hitting with a .473 average and had a 14-7 record as a hurler.
Hannah Armenta, Hilary's younger sister, was one of the most outstanding hitters in the East region with a .431 batting average that included 45 RBIs and five home runs.
Agnes ended the season on an 18-game hitting streak that improved her batting average to .425 for the season.
Walden hit at a .361 clip and Pugel posted a .354 average.
"Both were strong leaders and had excellent senior seasons," first-year coach Curtis Johnson said.
Losing five seniors
In all, the team loses five seniors to graduation this spring. They include Hilary Armenta, Agnes, Pugel, Walden and Ashley Anesin.
"We are sorry to be losing our seniors," coach Johnson said.
"They all played vital roles in the team's success this year, but we do have some young talent for next year and I believe we can look forward to another great season."