For Payson teams, the Little League postseason has come to an end. Now the young athletes can turn their attention to the assorted opportunities awaiting them in fall sports.
An old nemesis ended the Payson Little League Major Division (11-12-years) all-stars’ dreams of advancing to the Arizona state tournament.
A very solid and talented Flagstaff Continental ruined the Rim Country players’ aspirations of bigger and better things on July 10 at Rumsey Park with a 16-9 win over the Payson stars managed by Ty Goodman.
“It was a real heartbreaker,” said Goodman. “But they had a little bit stronger pitching.”
The defeat marked the second time in the postseason that Payson fell victim to the Flagstaff team.
The first loss, by a 13-6 margin, was incurred July 3 in the opening round of the Area 1 tournament.
The team came roaring back two days later to run-rule Mt. Elden 17-6.
Payson then outlasted Winslow 6-5 and a day later took a 15-4 victory over Page.
Continental and Payson went on to finish 1-2 in the Area tournament and advance to the District 1 finals, which was also played in Payson.
The Rim stars opened District play on a tear, run-ruling Show Low 13-2 in four innings.
Goodman attributed the easy “W” to stellar hitting.
“The whole team hit the ball, it was crazy,” he said.
Austin Gibson started on the mound and was relieved by a trio of pitchers — Chris Wacker, Grayson Barr and Bryce Goodman.
In the loss to Continental, Payson’s ace, Taren Sarnowski started on the hill and trailed only 8-7 when he was pulled.
“He pitched really well,” said Goodman.
Rueben Estrada relieved, but struggled. “We gave up a couple of home runs with runners on base,” the coach said.
Continental will play Blue Ridge for the District 1 championship and the right to advance to the state tournament.