Longhorns Remain Unbeaten In East Region

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Junior Hunter Haynes overcame the rigors of playing on the road by hurling and hitting the Longhorns to a convincing 7-1 East region victory over the home standing Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets.

"He pitched a jewel," coach Jerry Daniels said.

Most importantly, the triumph kept the Horns (3-0 and 10-10) the only unbeaten team in the region title chase.

On the hill, Haynes (3-3) was virtually unbeatable, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out 11 in seven innings.

At the plate, he was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

"He got as many hits as he gave up (to Blue Ridge)," Daniels said.

Ever Figueroa also turned in a sterling day with the bat, finishing 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

Leadoff hitter Nick Abraham pounded out two hits in three appearances at the plate. He also scored a run and had an RBI.

Senior first baseman Anthony Pearce was 2-for-4 with a run scored, and RBI and a double.

In all, the Horns pounded out 13 hits and were on top of their game defensively, committing just one error.

"It was by far our best game of the season," Daniels said.

The Horns will have the opportunity to improve their East credentials to 4-0 today, Friday, when the team travels to Whiteriver to take on winless Alchesay (0-3 in the East, 0-10 overall).

Daniels said he would start freshman Weston Gibson on the hill. The frosh is 0-2 on the year, but has shown signs of having the moxie and skill it takes for a first-year player to excel on the varsity level.

Although he has suffered some control problems, walking nine in nine innings with two wild pitches and a hit batter, he has also struck out eight.

Tough roster

The Horns will take to the White Mountain Apache Reservation town an arsenal of pitchers, hitters and defenders who are among the finest in the East.

Pearce's ERA of 1.934 is the best in the region. With a 2.312 ERA, Haynes is ranked fifth. He also leads the East in strikeouts, with 30.

Ridge Halenar's four home runs ties him for first in the East. Among the RBI leaders, Halenar is second, with 24 and Tyler Savage has 21, to rank fifth.

Savage is also third in stolen bases, with 12, and leads the team in hitting, with a .483 mark. Other top hitters include Gibson (.463), Halenar (.387), Sean Dougherty (.380) and Figueroa (.364).

Following the jaunt to Whiteriver, the Horns return home April 8 to host the Snowflake Lobos.

The team's eventual goal is to finish as high as possible in the East region final standings in order to earn the best possible seed into the state tournament which begins May 2 in Phoenix.

Last year, the Horns advanced to state as a No. 4 seed and lost 9-6 in the first round to North champion Winslow.

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