Two Former Longhorns Take All-Star Mound

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A 4-3 loss to the South did little to dampen Jason Sweet's enthusiasm about playing in the Arizona Coaches Association Class 3A All-Star game.

"It was a lot of fun and both Jake (Willis) and I got to pitch," he said, about the annual clash played June 9 at Surprise Baseball Complex.

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Jason Sweet represented Payson in the Arizona Coaches Association All-Star game and is now attending Grand Canyon University.

Sweet and Willis, both 2007 PHS graduates, were chosen to participate in the prestigious diamond clash by members of the ACA.

Both were members of the North team, which also included players from the East region that PHS is a member.

In the game, Willis hurled a complete inning without giving up a hit and was able to serve up a couple of blazing fastballs.

"According to the scoreboard, they were 86 mph," Sweet said.

At the plate, Willis struggled, finishing 0 for 2.

Sweet did not have a plate appearance, but pitched a full inning.

"I don't think I gave up an earned run and I had one pitch of 91 mph," he said.

The All-Star game pitted the finest baseball players, all graduated seniors, in the conference, against one another.

Ryan Guy of Fountain Hills was chosen the game's Most Valuable Player.

At the conclusion of the game, Sweet reported to Grand Canyon University where he has a full-ride baseball scholarship. He is spending the summer at the school honing his skills in a wooden bat collegiate league.

Willis indicated during the past season, he wanted to play in college, but had not yet settled on a school.

"He might possibly go to MCC (Mesa Community College) or Eastern (Arizona)," Sweet said.

During Willis' senior year, he compiled the East region's second-best batting average -- .560. He also led the region in stolen bases with 21. In helping the team compile an 18-11 record, he contributed 27 RBIs. In the Longhorns' season-ending state tournament loss to Winslow, he was the starting pitcher, but was eventually victimized by errors.

During Sweet's senior season, he hit .381 with eight doubles. On the mound, he compiled a 4-6 record.The teen was a four-year letter winner at PHS.

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