After 17 years of managing and coaching Payson’s Little League teams, Ty Goodman is hanging up his cleats.
“I will miss it,” he said. “Little League means so much to these kids, heck I still remember my (playing) days.”
Goodman decided last month to step away from the program to devote his time to helping newly appointed Payson High School baseball coach Scott Novack in his endeavors to build both regular and off-season programs.
“I’ll help with fall ball and some other things,” Goodman said.
During Goodman’s Little League stint, he coached all four of his sons, Tyler, Nick, Gunner and Bryce, as well as some other players who went on to play at Payson High School including current Longhorn stars Westin Gibson, Chance Randall and Jake Sleeper.
Goodman’s LL career began in T-ball and advanced to coach-pitch. For the past several years, he has managed the major division Pirates, a team he took over when Pat Haynes stepped aside.
Over the years, Goodman has coached five Payson all-star teams to postseason play, three of which won Area and District titles to advance to the state tournament.
“State has always been really rough because the big city teams have more kids to choose from and they play baseball year-round,” Goodman said.
“But all our teams have been competitive.”
His fondest memories are of 2009 when the 10-11-years Payson stars lost in the first round of the Area 1 tournament to Flagstaff Continental and rebounded to advance through the losers bracket to the championship games.
“We had to beat Continental twice to win it and we did,” he said. “We had some pitchers who really stepped up for us.”
The team went on to win the District title and represent Payson in the state tournament in Nogales.
Payson’s first game was against the Ahwautkee all-stars who were managed by former Major League infielder, Gold Glove winner and Arizona Diamondback Jay Bell.
“That was really neat to be able to talk to him before and after the game,” said Goodman. “He is a really nice guy and complimented our players and our team as a whole.”
Although the Payson stars were winless in Nogales, they were competitive in all their games.
Goodman also fondly remembers coaching the 2004 Payson all-stars along with his good friend Eddie Duran.
That team lost its postseason opener, but battled back to win six consecutive games to reach the tournament championship. There, Payson fell to Blue Ridge in a hard-fought finale.
“We were just pitched out,” Goodman said. “When you get in the losers bracket, it’s a long road back, you play almost every night, which is tough on these kids.
“And most teams don’t have the pitching to play that often.”
In coaching and managing, Goodman could usually relate to the challenges and obstacles the players faced — mostly because he was once a Payson Little League all-star.
After leaving the program he went on to become one of Payson High School’s finest pitchers, infielders and hitters.
He also was the Longhorn football team’s starting quarterback for four seasons helping the team reach the 1986 state championship.