The Payson Longhorns' quest for a berth in the postseason playoffs roared out of the starting gate Tuesday afternoon with a 21-5 victory over Sedona Red Rock.
At the end of five full frames, the game was called on the 10-run mercy rule, which states that a game is officially over when a team is ahead by 10 or more runs by the fifth inning.
The Scorpions were held scoreless in the final two frames by starting pitcher Jason Sweet and reliever Anthony Pearce. Sweet (1-0) was credited with the victory.
The senior right-hander, who could be bound for a collegiate career at Grand Canyon University, hurled four full innings and gave up four earned runs while striking out four and walking one. Pearce faced four batters in his one inning of relief and gave up one hit.
Offensively, sophomore catcher Ridge Halenar turned in a stellar outing with a single and a double in three trips to the plate. He also scored three times and had three RBIs.
On one of Halenar's at-bats, he received a free ticket to first, after he was hit by a pitch.
Behind the plate, he committed just one passed ball and contributed an assist.
Jake Willis had three hits in four plate appearances with three RBIs, four runs scored and a stolen base. Senior Zak Miller slapped a home run, drew two bases on balls and contributed a pair of RBIs.
On the base paths, the Horns proved they might have the moxie and speed to be a threat this year, stealing five bases in six attempts.
The Horns returned to the diamond yesterday, Thursday, in the Mohave Valley Tournament near Laughlin, Nev. The team was scheduled to open the three-day fray at 10:30 a.m. against Southwest High School of El Centro, Calif. (Results not available at press time). The Horns will play at 1 p.m. today, Friday, against Flagstaff Sinagua. The tournament wraps up March 3 with the Horns playing Parker (8 a.m.) and Flagstaff (10:30 a.m.).