With the East region regular season winding to a close, it's becoming more evident the Lady Longhorns might have to rely on power points for a state playoff berth.
Currently, the Lady Horns are 3-4 in the region (12-13 overall) and are alone in fourth place in the standings behind Show Low (5-1), Snowflake (5-1) and Blue Ridge (5-2).
Since only the first three teams in the final standings receive automatic berths into the state tournament, Payson would have to overtake Blue Ridge in the final trio of games to earn the guaranteed state slot.
PHS can take a giant step toward that possibility with a win today, April 18, over the Yellow Jackets on the Lady Horns' field. Game time is 4 p.m.
"We need to win out, no doubt about it," coach Will Dunman said.
But if the Lady Longhorns can't run down the Jackets or another team in the final standings, the best the team can do is advance to state as a fourth seed on power points.
PHS is in decent shape in power points with a 10th-place ranking among the 28 teams in the 3A conference.
Most of the nine teams ranked ahead of PHS will finish in the top three of their regions and receive automatic berths to state.
Which means, Payson's 80.4722 points could earn the team a ducat to the prep big show.
The tournament will begin May 2 with first round games in the Valley, probably Rose Mofford field.
The Lady Horns kept their playoff hopes alive April 15 on PHS diamond where the team took a 16-0 win over Round Valley.
Senior Candice Johnson started on the mound and was credited with the victory after going four innings.
The game was shortened on the 10-run rule.
The key to the victory, Dunman said, "was we hit the ball, put it in play and they made some mistakes."
Also, Dunman pointed to some intangibles as reasons for the success.
"They went out and had fun playing," he said. "By having fun, they did a lot of good things."
Following today's game, the Lady Horns wrap up the campaign April 22 vs. Alchesay at Payson and April 25 at Snowflake.