Softball’S ‘Burma Road’ Tests Lady Longhorns


Senior Cami Barnett readies herself to jump on a fastball offering from an Alchesay pitcher. Lady Horn hitters enjoyed a field day in the twin bill scoring 35 runs.

Senior Cami Barnett readies herself to jump on a fastball offering from an Alchesay pitcher. Lady Horn hitters enjoyed a field day in the twin bill scoring 35 runs. |

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After watching her charges play eight high school softball games in nine days, Lady Longhorn assistant coach Kadi Tenney summed up the tiring stretch saying, “It’s been insane.”

The trip along the fast-pitch thoroughfare began April 12 in St. Johns where the Lady Horns more than doubled, 15-7, the score on the Redskins.

“Karessa Armstrong had a double and three RBIs,” said Tenney. “Satomi Suzuki played first base in the place of the injured Kaitlyn Wessel and made two excellent heads-up plays.”

Suzuki is a Japanese foreign exchange student still learning the game of softball.

After downing the Redskins, Payson traveled the following day to Heber to face a Mogollon Mustang team they had beaten in the Gracie Haught Classic.

photo

Max Foster/Roundup

Summer Kelley shows the hurling form she used to shut out the Alchesay Falcons in the Lady Longhorns’ 14-0 win April 20 on PHS field. Payson also won the second game of the doubleheader by a 21-2 margin.

This time around, the cleats were on the other foot as Mogollon got a 9-7 revenge win.

“Karessa Armstrong hit a grand slam in the third inning and Rylee Halenar was 3-for-4 with three singles,” said Tenney. “Kelsey Waugh and Cami Barnett played outstanding defense, but it wasn’t enough.”

Mogollon touched Payson pitching for 12 base hits. The Lady Horns punched out nine base knocks.

After one day of rest, the Lady Horns traveled to Snowflake where they dropped a hard-fought 6-2 decision to the Lobos.

The game was a defensive pitching duel that featured a total of just nine hits — PHS had four and Snowflake recorded five.

In the loss, a pair of untimely errors hurt the Lady Horn cause. PHS scored its runs in the fourth inning on singles by Natalie Black and Chrissy Heron and a walk to Taylor Petersen.

On April 18, PHS was to meet Blue Ridge in a game that was postponed earlier this year due to weather.

The game was to be played in Payson, but because Blue Ridge had transportation issues, the two teams met on a neutral Show Low field.

There, both teams were hampered by gusts of wind that reached 30 mph, but the Yellow Jackets managed a 9-2 victory.

“Satomi Suzuki doubled in the fourth to score Natalie Black who was 3-for-3 on the night,” said Tenney.

“Rylee Halenar (who was 2-for-3) scored in the fifth after a sacrifice fly by Chrissy Heron and a wild pitch.”

Tenney summed up the loss bemoaning, “Blue Ridge just out-hit us with 10 hits on the night.”

The Lady Horns did, however, play strong defense, committing just one error.

The following day, April 19, the Horns hosted Round Valley in a doubleheader, one of which was a make-up game from an earlier postponement.

Payson took the twin bill 21-5 and 11-1 in games shortened on the 10-run mercy rule.

“Everyone in the lineup finished with at least one hit in the first game and in the second game Natalie Black was 2-for-2 with a walk,” said Tenney.

The games mark the return of Kaitlyn Wessel to the lineup after being sidelined seven games by illness.

She returned with a bang, ripping three singles in three appearances at the plate.

Megan Wessel, Kaitlyn’s sister, also returned to the roster after being shelved since the Gracie Haught tournament by a broken finger. She was credited with the second game-pitching win over RV.

Barbecue today

The Lady Longhorn softball team benefit deep-pit barbecue that was originally scheduled for April 8 but postponed due to rain, wind and snow flurries has been rescheduled for today, April 22.

The date is also the team’s final regular season game, which will be against the visiting Fountain Hills Falcons. Varsity game time is 7 p.m.

The barbecue fund-raiser will be served from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the PHS softball diamond. The event annually attracts throngs of fans eager to taste bits of Albert Hunt’s deep-pit beef and cowboy beans that have long pleased the palates of those who savor outdoor cooking.

The meal consists of down-home delicious beef, beans, salad and a drink for $6. Tickets are available at the door or from Kadi Tenney at (928) 468-1838.

All proceeds, which often exceed $3,000, benefit the PHS softball program.

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