PHS alumni and prep wrestling stars R.C. LaHaye and Larry Wilbanks are building a powerhouse wrestling team at Grand Canyon University from the ground up.
It’s not often that an Arizona smalltown high school can claim sweeping the traditionally powerful Snowflake Lobos in two sports.
But that’s exactly what unfolded March 13 on the Payson High campus where the Horn baseball team run-ruled the Lobos 15-5 and the Lady Longhorns corralled and hog-tied Snowflake 14-2.
Those two wins probably had PHS alumni, who have long suffered at the paws of the Lobos, “partying like it was 1999,” to borrow a line from Prince.
With the twin killing, both Payson High teams are now 8-1, giving the school a pair of legitimate section title contenders.
In the baseball team’s win over the Lobos, the Horns trailed 2-0 until the bottom of the third when Cale Novack walked, took second on a passed ball and scored on Dylan Richardson’s single. Nick McMullen doubled Richardson home to tie up the game 2-2.
In the top of the fourth, the Horns turned into their own worst enemy committing walks, errors and a wild pitch that allowed the Lobos to score three runs on just one hit.
“Anyone that saw that inning got to see the circus for free,” said coach Scott Novack. “The only thing missing was a clown car.”
In the bottom of the frame the Horns dashed away those bad memories by scoring seven runs to take a lead the team would never relinquish.
Big hits in the inning were Chance Randall’s double off right center field fence and McMullen’s double to left.
Snowflake uncharacteristically contributed to the rally issuing three consecutive walks and committing a throwing error trying to catch R.J. Cox stealing second.
In the top of the fifth, coach Novack yanked starting pitcher Will Dougherty, replacing him with Richardson.
Dougherty hurled four complete innings giving up six hits and five runs, two of which were earned.
Dougherty, however, didn’t receive much defensive help from his teammates who committed four errors while he was on the hill.
In Richardson’s stint on the mound, he retired the Lobos in order striking out one.
The Horns opened the fifth inning by tacking on three more runs on Cale Novack’s booming home run that scored Gunner Goodman and Miguel Mendoza who had walked.
Later in the frame, the Horns added two insurance runs to win on the 10-run rule.
For the game, McMullen finished with doubles, two RBIs and was on base all four of his at bats.
Cale Novack was 1-for-2 with three RBIs and Richardson turned in a 2-for-2 effort with three runs scored.
Randall swatted a double in three appearances and drove in three runs.
Left fielder Cale Novack and McMullen at first base drew the coach’s praise for their defensive efforts.