A pair of events that occur about as often as the Arizona Legislature adequately funds public education highlighted the Longhorn baseball team’s season-opening “seed scrimmage” on Saturday morning at PHS diamond.
The first, a very rare triple play, was turned just after Payson’s “purple” team had gotten runners on at first and second and were threatening to score with no outs recorded.
The next batter lined a red-hot infield grounder toward third. There, John Figueroa scooped up the ball and tagged the runner attempting to advance from second to third.
Out No. 1.
Next, Figueroa fired to second baseman Gunner Goodman for the force out on the “white” team runner steaming toward second from first base.
Out No. 2.
Goodman then turned and threw a perfect strike to first baseman Nick McMullen for the force out.
Out No. 3.
The very extraordinary triple play got a rise from fans and Longhorn coach Brian Young, “That was a lot of fun to see.”
Next among the unusual feats occurred in the later innings when freshman pitcher Bryce Goodman took the hill in relief to hurl against his older brother, Gunner, a senior.
For the intrasquad scrimmage, the two were members of opposing teams.
Just after Gunner stepped into the batter’s box, his father Ty, an assistant baseball coach last season, teasingly and good-naturedly yelled at Bryce, “Hit him.”
Sure enough, an inside fastball got away from Bryce, striking Gunner on the arm.
Of course, Gunner took the entire episode in stride but returned to the dugout after the at-bat with a nice-sized welt on his arm.
No word as yet on what happened when the two boys returned home after the game.
The first-ever seed scrimmage was so-named because the price of admission was a pack of sunflower seeds which the players will have as the season wears on.
The season begins in earnest tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 20 in the Fountain Hills Invitational Tournament.
It continues through Feb. 23 with teams from Northwest Christian, Bourgade Catholic, Winslow and Payson competing.
The Horns make their regular-season home debut at 4 p.m. March 5 against the Salt River Eagles.