The Payson Longhorn baseball team remains in the running for an East region berth in the Class 3A state tournament after an 11-7 victory over the winless Round Valley Elks.
The region victory April 24 on the Payson High School diamond improved Payson's East credentials to 7-4 (18-9 overall), with only a doubleheader against Show Low remaining in the season.
The twin bill was played last evening in Payson (results not available at press time).
Coach David Nikolaus' Cougars entered the crucial frays with an 8-3 mark and still in the running for an East championship.
Currently, Snowflake -- fresh off a 30-1 win over Alchesay -- lead the league with a 9-2 record.
Blue Ridge (5-6), after an 8-5 loss this week to Show Low, has fallen out of the playoff picture.
No bugle in these Elks
In whipping Round Valley (0-16), Hunter Haynes opened on the mound and hurled a complete game victory, giving up just one earned run. He allowed six hits, walked three and struck out eight.
Tyler Savage's red-hot bat paved the way for the offense. In four trips to the plate, he pounded out two singles, a double and scored three runs. Ridge Halenar was two-for-two, with a whopping five RBIs. He also punched a round-trip ticket, scored twice and drew two bases on balls. Gage Conway was two-for-two and Jason Sweet two-for-three.
In addition to good pitching and solid hitting, the Horns put on a display of heads-up base running, swiping five bases, without a single runner being thrown out.
The state tournament tips off May 4 at Maryvale Baseball Park.
If the Horns advance as the East's No. 4 seed, the team would plan at 3 p.m. against the North region champion.