Longhorns, Lady Longhorns Open State Tourney Play In The Valley

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The Payson High School Longhorns baseball team and the Lady Longhorns softball team are scheduled to play in state tournaments today, Friday, May 2.

Both teams are scheduled to begin their respective bids for state titles with first-round playoffs beginning at 3 p.m.

The boys team won the title of 3A East Region co-champs after defeating the Show Low Cougars 16-4 Friday, April 25.

The Lady Longhorns softball team fell one spot in the East region rankings, however, after losing to Alchesay 4-1 last Friday.

The boys presently are the ninth seed and will go up against eighth-ranked Chino Valley today in Surprise, said Payson baseball Coach Jerry Daniels.

He said Hunter Haynes is slated to be the Horns' starting pitcher in that match-up.

Haynes comes to the mound with a 5-4 record, he said.

Daniels said the game could go either way.

"If we hit the ball like I know we can do, we will win," Daniels said.

"Hunter will keep us in the game, so we just have to hit the ball," he said.

If the boys win, they will play top-ranked Globe, or 16th-ranked 3A East Region co-champs Blue Ridge in the second round of the playoffs at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3, also in Surprise.

The girls softball team also goes to the diamond Friday, May 2.

The Lady Horns lost their final regular season game to conference runner-up Snowflake April 25.
All four of Snowflake's runs were unearned against pitcher Candice Johnson.
Johnson pitched a great game, but unfortunately the defense let her down by committing eight errors, Coach Kadi Tenney said.

Payson's only run was scored in the first inning after Johnson reached on a single and scored on a double off the bat of senior catcher Sarah Cadd.

Seeding into the state tournament is automatically awarded to the top three teams in each conference, and the teams with the most power points fill the remaining four spots.

Payson has been seeded 12th according to the power points and will, ironically, face Snowflake, the number five seed, in the first round of the tournament today.
The game will take place at 3 p.m. at Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix.

The winner will then play at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 3 against the winner in the bout between Santa Cruz and Tuba City.

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