By virtue of East Region tournament opening round victories, the PHS baseball and softball teams are advancing to the postseason shoot-out’s second round.
Playing both openers on April 27 at Payson High School, the baseball team earned a ducat to advance with a convincing 28-0 lambasting of Alchesay.
The Lady Longhorns earned their ticket with a pulsating 6-5 victory over the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets.
In the baseball triumph, the outcome of the game was never in doubt as the Horn offense pounded out 23 hits and the porous Alchesay defense committed a whopping 12 errors.
Although the clash was obviously a mismatch, it also represented a golden opportunity for Payson hitters to fatten their batting average and pad their statistics.
Among those to take advantage was Westin Gibson who put up numbers that some prep players couldn’t attain in a month.
He was 3-for-5 at the plate with two home runs, a double, an eye-popping seven RBIs and four runs scored.
Dakota Marshall was equally productive on offense, pounding out four hits in five appearances with two home runs, a double, seven RBIs and four runs scored.
Jake Sleeper punched a round trip ticket among his three hits. He finished with five RBIs and three runs scored.
Sleeper also pitched two hitless innings striking out five. Sean Dougherty and Zack Blazer mopped up.
In the Lady Longhorns’ victory, Mary Hagen went the distance on the hill giving up seven hits and striking out eight.
Four of the hits she allowed were in the Jackets’ third inning, five-run uprising.
Due to the onslaught, Payson trailed 5-2 entering the fifth inning, but rallied to tie the game on Kelsey Waugh’s two-RBI triple and nifty base running.
The Lady Horns scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth after Rylee Halenar got aboard on a bunt. She advanced to third on Chrissy Heron’s bunt single and scored on a fielder’s choice infield grounder off the bat of Megan Wessel.
“Rylee was aggressive on the base paths and that really helped us,” coach Will Dunman said.
In the top of the seventh and final frame, Hagen was at her pitching best retiring Blue Ridge’s 3, 4 and 5 hitters on two pop ups and a strike out.