Lady Longhorns Play It Perfectly

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They did it again.

On Friday, the Payson Longhorns girls softball team trounced archrival Show Low 7-1, with the stands full of happy fans and parents on a perfect Friday evening in Rim Country.

Reportedly, some 500 fans and supporters turned out for the fund-raising barbecue dinner and many stayed to watch a little heart-warming history in the making.

The team played like champions, cheering one another on, exhibiting perfect sportsmanship and drawing on the determination, skill and hard work that has distinguished this storybook season.

For a time last week, the team was ranked as the best in the state for the first time in Payson history — until powerhouse Estrella Foothills posted its latest win.

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Natalie Black catches in infield pop-fly ball during Friday's game against Show Low.

Even so, the best softball team in Rim Country history settled into the No. 2 spot in the Division III power point rankings.

The team plays Camp Verde this evening at home, then must slip past never-easy Blue Ridge on Wednesday in Lakeside. The Lady Longhorns will play those final two games with the first-ever undefeated regular season on the line.

Early in May, they head for the state championships — with a chance to win it all — if they can force their way past a couple of outstanding teams. Hopefully, they’ll eventually have a chance to avenge their 1-0 defeat earlier this season at the hands of Estrella, last year’s state champion and a daunting foe again this year.

Of course, anyone who showed up to savor Friday’s game can tell you that these girls are already champions. They fielded perfectly, pitched brutally, hit copiously. They laughed, cheered, high-fived and chanted from the dugout — but they also treated their opponents with respect — even affection.

In the last five games, these remarkable young people have outscored their opponents 50 to 4, amassing a perfect record for regular season play.

So if you want to feel great about Payson — and the young people who live here — drop by the high school softball field tonight at 6. You’ll get to watch champions play — no matter what happens in the playoffs.

SV scrambles the issue

The Star Valley Town Council had one of those perplexing chicken-versus-egg discussions last week — but mostly ended up scrambled.

The council found itself arguing about what comes first: Polluting or protecting your drinking water supply.

After a long and intermittently illuminating conversation, the council decided Star Valley need not pay the hefty buy-in cost to secure rights to water from Payson’s Blue Ridge pipeline.

Turns out, Star Valley has plenty of water — always did. Topography has favored it with a shallow water table, into which most of the residents have sunk their own wells. The trifling threat from Payson’s pumps evaporated entirely once Payson secured rights to Blue Ridge.

So far so good: No need for Star Valley to spend a bunch to lock in Blue Ridge water when its wells produce more than it needs already.

But wait: There’s more.

The council also decided it need not worry about when a town full of aging septic systems will leak waste into that very same shallow water table.

Huh? Really? No worries at all? Not even if the decision to bypass Blue Ridge means residents must forever depend on that shallow water table?

Mind you, everybody in town has a septic tank — most of them old already. That means residents will have to shell out $20,000 each once the septics start to leak. Building a citywide sewage system to protect the water supply will very likely ultimately cost homeowners less than the piecemeal replacement of their septics.

Granted, residents aren’t likely to approve the creation of a sewage treatment district until some of those buried sewage time bombs go off.

But the council should start planning now for that moment, with a detailed feasibility study and the establishment of an improvement district — with the power to levy assessments and seek long-term financing and grants.

It’s one thing to bury your head in the sand.

It’s another thing altogether if the sand smells funny.

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