A 10-1 win over Miami and a 1-0 extra inning victory vs. Camp Verde improves the Lady Longhorns power points record to 5-0 and keeps PHS in the chase for a Division III state tournament top seed.
Baring a huge upset, the Lady Horns should add another “W” to their record and earn even more power points in a clash today, April 2, at Division IV Heber Mogollon.
The Lady Horns travel to Heber as favorites mostly because of Payson’s front line pitching of Arianna Paulson, Arissa Paulson and Sadie Dunman.
Along with standout pitching, the Lady Horns have several talented hitters in the lineup including school home run record holder Taylor Petersen, Megan Wessel and Kaitlyn Wessel, all seniors.
The March 27 clash vs. homestanding Miami was originally scheduled for March 7 but had to be rescheduled when several Lady Horns turned up ill and unable to play.
In the nine-run make-up victory, Payson rode the standout pitching of Arianna Paulson to the win.
In picking up where she left off last season when she was one of the state’s finest hurlers, Arianna pitched a no hitter over five innings striking out 14.
Sadie Dunman relieved and pitched the final two innings.
Offensively, Payson pounded out 10 hits including Arissa Paulson’s home run.
“We hit the ball hard and our pitching was solid,” said coach Will Dunman.
Just two days after smacking Miami, the Lady Horns traveled to Camp Verde to take on a gutsy Cowboy team that obviously played much better than its 5-5 record at the time.
The record, however, might have been a bit misleading because Camp Verde had lost to some Division II schools, including Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain.
For Payson, freshman Arissa Paulson got the starting nod from coach Dunman and held the Cowboys scoreless for six innings while striking out six.
In the sixth, Sadie Dunman relieved and also held Camp Verde scoreless over two innings picking up the win.
“It was high pressure for Sadie,” said coach Dunman.
Payson scored the winning run in the top of the eighth but the never-say-die Cowboys came back in the bottom of the inning to threaten to tie up the game.
Thanks to some standout defensive plays, the Lady Horns extinguished the threat to remain unbeaten in power point rankings.
A month into the regular season, several teams are beginning to show they are big time candidates for the post-season playoffs.
Empire, Winslow, Benson, River Valley and Estrella Foothills are all playing well and appear to be among the best, along with Payson, in Division III