Although the Longhorn baseball team didn’t enjoy the success coach Jerry Daniels and the players were hoping for in 2010, the frustration of not reaching the state tournament didn’t stop opposing coaches from honoring PHS athletes.
In a voting of the six East coaches, Ever Figueroa and Westin Gibson were chosen first team.
Dakota Marshall and Sean Dougherty were second team and Jake Sleeper and Edwin Estrada reaped honorable mention laurels.
In a voting of state coaches held May 16 at Mesa High School, Figueroa and Marshall were chosen to participate in the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star Game to be played 4 p.m. May 29 at Surprise Baseball Complex.
The two will be members of the North team.
Selecting Gibson All-East was a no-brainer for coaches, mostly because the PHS junior was one of the finest young players in the region.
In 29 games, he led the Horns in hitting with a .495 average, which was also third best in the region. He also belted six home runs, which tied him for the team lead with Marshall, and had four triples, 13 doubles, 39 RBIs and 38 runs scored — all team highs.
On the base paths, he was successful on eight-of-eight steal attempts.
If Gibson has any weakness that must be shored up before his senior season it is his defense. He committed 24 errors over the campaign, but did help turn five double plays.
Figueroa was another of the Longhorns’ top offensive threats with his .471 batting average, which was fifth best in the East. His mark included two home runs, five doubles, 36 runs scored and 23 RBIs.
He too was a threat on the bases, pilfering five in five attempts.
Figueroa saw only very limited duty as a pitcher, but finished with a 2.47 ERA.
Marshall was Payson’s mound ace with his 5-3 record, 3.11 ERA and seven complete game performances.
In 54 innings, he struck out 36 while walking walking only 17.
The lanky 6-foot, 5-inch senior was equally as good in the batter’s box as he was on the mound.
He compiled a very respectable .393 batting average with 38 RBIs and 30 runs scored.
Showing good power most of the season, he ripped eight doubles and tied Gibson for the lead in round-trip tickets punched.
During his senior year, Marshall was one of Payson High’s finest all-around athletes competing in football, basketball and baseball.
Dougherty sometimes struggled on the mound, as evidenced by his 2-5 record and 5.19 ERA, but he did strike out 25 while walking only nine.
His finest contribution to the team might have been at the plate, where he hit .345 with four doubles and 12 RBIs.
Dougherty has been a fixture on the Rim Country baseball scene since 2004 when he was selected a 12-year-old member of the Little League all-star team.
Sleeper, who played quarterback last fall for the Longhorn football team, appeared in 26 of the Longhorns’ 29 games, compiling a .333 batting average with six doubles, a triple and one home run.
In 20 innings on the hill, he compiled a 4.20 ERA, allowing 22 hits among the 89 batters he faced.
Estrada missed only two games during the season, playing solid defense on the PHS infield.
At the plate, he hit .275 with nine RBIs and 12 runs scored.
As a team, the Longhorns wrapped up the season 12-17 overall, 5-5 in the region, and in fourth place behind No. 1 Blue Ridge, silver medalist Snowflake and third-place Show Low.
Despite the fourth-place finish, which in the years before power points would have qualified the team for the state tournament, the team did not advance, coming up short of the controversial points awarded via a matrix using victories, victories by opponents and school size classification of opponents.