Although the Longhorn baseball team has fallen below the break-even mark at 8-9, the squad's East region record (2-0) remains unblemished.
That's a good thing because it will be the East mark that counts when the top-three region teams are seeded into the state tournament when it begins May 2.
The only other undefeated team in the region is Snowflake, which is also 2-0 (8-8 overall).
Blue Ridge and Show Low are 1-1 in the East and Round Valley and Alchesay are 0-2.
After Payson picked up its two East region wins, March 11 at Show Low and March 18 at Round Valley, the Longhorns jumped to nonregion play with back-to-back games against the Holbrook Roadrunners of the North.
The first clash between the two rivals was to be played Feb. 26 but was rescheduled for March 19 on the PHS diamond.
There, Payson run-ruled the Roadrunners 12-2 in five innings.
The following day, the Horns traveled to Holbrook where PHS dropped a 9-8 decision.
In Payson's victory, senior Anthony Pearce was credited with the win after going the distance on the hill. In facing 21 batters, he gave up six hits, walked one and struck out three.
Sean Dougherty led the Longhorn hit parade with a 3-for-3 performance that included two doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Tyler Savage was also 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
In all, the Horns pounded out 12 hits.
In the loss to Holbrook, the Horns fell behind early and then staged a late rally that came up one run short of a come-from-behind victory.
Payson will not return to action until March 27 in a clash against the Winslow Bulldogs on PHS diamond.
The two teams met Feb. 20 in a preseason scrimmage in which no score was kept. The Horns also play March 29 at Globe and then begin a stretch of eight crucial region games.
The results of those games will decide the Longhorns' post-season fate.