Trevor LaHaye is living up to the promise he made months ago when he was hired on as the Town of Payson’s athletic coordinator.
He pledged to lead the charge to return the Rim Country to the lofty status it once held as a softball Mecca.
LaHaye, the son of a former town recreation coordinator and softball aficionado, fondly remembers yesteryear when his father played a role in attracting teams from around the state to Payson for slow pitch women’s, men’s and coed tournaments.
Payson’s first mayor Ted Pettet and his son Teddy Pettet, both former ASA commissioners, were also instrumental in the town’s emergence as a softball hub.
Payson’s geographical location in the middle of the state and cooler summer temperatures made it a natural for weekend softball respites.
No one is certain what led to the demise of Payson as a softball hot spot, but few town-hosted tournaments have been held in the past 10 years.
Only last week, LaHaye took the first steps toward returning softball to the Rim Country, scheduling several major tournaments during the spring and summer months.
“I am very excited for these tournaments and sincerely believe that Payson will once again become the softball powerhouse it once was,” said LaHaye. “The outlook for Payson softball is exciting and with the local and non-local contacts, we hope to fill up every tournament with the maximum number of teams.”
Among the tournaments LaHaye has scheduled are the Town of Payson Senior Softball Invitational, Cool Pines Memorial Day Classic, Rim View Classic, Girls Class B Arizona State Championships, Rim Country Roundup, the Mike Barr Memorial Coed Tournament and Home Run Derby.
The Senior Softball Invitational will be played April 11, 12 and 13 on several Rumsey Park fields.
LaHaye hopes the Memorial Day Classic, to be held May 18 and 29, attracts a maximum of 28 men’s, women’s and coed teams.
The Rim View Classic, slated for June 18 and 19, is also open to 28 teams in three divisions.
The girls state tournament is open to players 10 years of age to senior in high school and will be played July 8, 9 and 10.
LaHaye anticipates up to 40 or 50 teams from around the state will enter.
The Rim Country Roundup, also a senior tournament, will be Sept. 9, 10 and 11 and hosted by Tournsport Tournament Coordinators.
All players in both senior tournaments must be 55 years of age or older.
The Second Annual Mike Barr Memorial and Home Run Derby is set for Sept. 30 to Oct 2.
It is open to the first 28 coed teams that enter.
The main goal of the tournament is to raise money for a memorial fund that helps needy student-athletes pay school participation fees, but there is another reason almost equally important.
“To celebrate the life of a truly great athlete and friend to many,” LaHaye said.
Barr died July 14 in California from heart failure. He was 25 at the time of his death.
He is remembered as possibly the finest all-around athlete in the history of Payson High School athletics and a fiercely loyal friend and compassionate, 6-foot-7-inch, 300-pound gentle giant.
For more information about any of the tournaments, call LaHaye at (928) 474-5242, ext 260.