A 12-8 win over perennial powerhouse Arrowhead capped the Payson Little League all-star team's run into the state tournament.
With the victory, July 24 at Shea Middle School in Phoenix, the Rim Country celestial squad finished with a 2-2 state record.
All-star coach Eddie Duran called the hard-fought triumph, "over a team like Arrowhead, one of the best wins Payson Little League has had."
During most of the postseason, pitching has carried the Little League team. But, against Arrowhead, it was hitting that fueled the triumph.
Nick McMullen was 4-for-4 at the plate and Blake Cannon and Miguel Mendoza were both 3-for-4. Konner Duran had two hits in three trips to the plate.
After easily winning area and district championships, in tournaments played in Show Low, the Payson Little Leaguers opened state play July 16 in Phoenix, with a 3-1 loss to Mesa.
The team rebounded two days later to beat South Tucson 12-2.
Little Leaguers hopes for a berth in the final four ended in the tournament's third game, with a 10-0 loss to Nogales.
The fourth and final game against Arrowhead was originally to be played July 23, but was postponed due to rain and lightning in the Valley.
Prior to the game, Duran said the team's new goal was to compile a break-even record, "hopefully we can pull out a win."
By advancing to the state tournament, the team became only the fourth squad in Payson Little League baseball history to qualify for the Arizona showdown.ƪ