Let the games begin.
That’s the battle cry of Payson Little League softball and baseball all-star teams as they begin postseason play in Winslow, Flagstaff and Lakeside.
Representing Payson in Area One Little League tournaments will be four baseball and two softball teams.
Of those, three opened play yesterday, June 29, another being July 1 and the final tournament tips off July 6.
Beginning pursuit yesterday of tournament honors were the 9-10-year-old boys in Winslow, the 10-11 boys in Lakeside and the 11-12-years fast pitch girls in Lakeside.
Those tournaments continue until July 3.
The 10-11-years boys play at 1 p.m., July 1 in Lakeside-Pinetop against Flagstaff Continental.
The 13-14-girls open at 1 p.m., July 6 against Show Low in Lakeside-Pinetop.
Teams that win Area One titles will advance to district tournaments in Flagstaff, Taylor and Lakeside-Pinetop where they will be pitted against Area Two champions.
Winners there qualify for the Arizona state championships.
For the tournaments, Eddie Duran and Tony McNeeley are coaching the 9-10-years boys.
Ty Goodman and Noah Sarnowski coach the 10-11-years team and Gary Chitwood and Heath Wacker coach the 12-year-olds.
Joe Mendoza and Michael McCarthy are coaching the 13-14-years “junior” team.
For the girls fast pitch teams, Curtis Johnson and Butch Bossier coach the 13-14-year-olds and Will Dunman and Kadi Tenney will coach the 11-12-years star team.
The Little League baseball and softball regular season began April 18 with opening ceremonies on the Rumsey III ball field.
More than 300 Rim Country boys and girls participated in the program.
At the conclusion of the season, coaches selected the all-stars that will represent Payson in the postseason tournaments.
Local teams have had a rich history in the area and district tournaments often winning titles and advancing to the state championships.
Payson, however, has never won a Little League state championship.
Last year’s 12-years LL All-Stars won area and state titles and advanced to state for the fourth consecutive time in their young careers.
In July 2006, the team posted a 4-2 state record to finish fifth among the 14 teams that qualified for the Little League finale. That was the finest showing ever by a Payson Little League team.