Caught in a pickle between Lady Longhorns Devann Runzo, left, and Natalie Black, right, this Blue Ridge player had no place to go but the dugout. The out come was never in doubt. The Lady Longhorns led from the first inning on and continued to play well through the entire game. Blue Ridge managed one run but couldn't keep up with the lady Longhorns and the final score was 9-1.
Photo by Andy Towle.
The 1973 Bachman-Turner Overdrive smash hit, “Takin’ Care of Business” wasn’t about Lady Longhorn softball team’s success, but it could have been.
That’s exactly what the team did all season long, compiling the program’s first-ever unbeaten regular season (16-0) that became official April 25 in Lakeside where the Lady Horns ran roughshod over former 3A East rival Blue Ridge 9-1.
Not only did the win ensure the team a perfect record, it was also revenge of sorts for one of three losses the team suffered this year. The trio of Payson losses were in tournaments and do not count in power points or regular season standings.
On March 17 at Rumsey Park in the Gracie Haught Classic, Blue Ridge slipped past a very tired Payson team 2-1.
The second time around, in the White Mountains, the Lady Horns rode the arm of pitching of ace Arianna Paulson to the victory that could send Payson into the Division III state tournament as a lofty No. 1 seed.
Rendering the win over the homestanding Yellow Jackets even more impressive is the Lady Horns accomplished it without starting catcher and school home run leader Taylor Petersen, who was out of state on a collegiate recruiting trip.
The state tournament begins May 2 at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix, but because the Lady Longhorns will receive a first-round bye, they will not play until the second round on May 4.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association will announce soon the 24 teams that earned berths into the tournament and the opening pairings.
Against Camp Verde
The Lady Longhorn softball team improved its record to 25-3 — the best in program history — with an 11-8 win over Camp Verde on April 24 on Payson High field.
For the game, coach Will Dunman rested Paulson and turned over the pitching chores to Devann Runzo and Sadie Dunman who was credited with the win after hurling four full innings. Runzo pitched three frames striking out five and walking two.
In Payson’s 14-hit attack, Kaitlyn Jones gave Camp Verde fits all afternoon, finishing 3-for-4 at the plate. She also drove in two runs and scored two runs.
Marley Speckles was also 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Paulson was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Defensively, both teams struggled, committing three errors each.