A 1-4 record in the season opening Thunderbird Classic Baseball Tournament wasn't the jump-start Payson High School coach Jerry Daniels and his charges were hoping for.
But that's exactly what unfolded during Feb. 28 to March 1 at Bullhead City.
In the tournament, hosted by Mohave High School, Payson opened with losses to Yuma, 3-1, and Flagstaff Coconino, 5-0, before rebounding to beat Joseph City 7-3.
But in the final two games of the tournament, the Horns stumbled against Mohave, 6-5 and River Valley, 10-5.
If there was a game to remember in the tournament it was the Longhorns one-run loss to the host Thunderbirds.
In the seesaw affair, Payson took a 2-0 lead into the second inning only to see the T-Birds score five of their own.
MHS continued to hold onto the three run lead into the top of final ending.
In the frame, Payson scored two runs to close the Mohave lead to 5-4. But with one out and runners at first and third, Mohave stuck a dagger in Longhorn hearts by executing a 6-4-3 game ending double play that preserved the one-run victory.
The Horns will try to right their listing victory ship during the Miami Invitational Tournament set to begin March 5. Payson opens the tournament at 11 a.m. against Globe. Play continues the same day at 5:30 p.m. vs. San Carlos.
On March 6, Payson plays at 1 p.m. against San Manuel.
The tournament wraps up for PHS March 7 with games at 9 a.m. (vs. Miami) and 1 p.m. (vs. Superior).