The Lady Longhorns came up short in their bid to win the school’s first state softball championship, but two star players have reaped the highest honors that can be afforded a prep athlete.
Junior pitcher Arianna Paulson was named on Sunday The Arizona Republic’s “Small School Player of the Year” and senior catcher Taylor Petersen was chosen Division III All-State first team as a designated hitter.
Paulson’s selection as the state POY marked the first time a PHS player has earned the honor in the 27-year history of the program.
During the 2013 season the pair led the Lady Longhorns to a 29-5 record and a berth in the state semifinals where a loss to Winslow ended players’ hopes of garnering a state crown.
For PHS, Paulson hit .648 and led the team in doubles (18) and RBIs (47).
As the Lady Horns’ front line pitcher, Paulson compiled a miniscule .86 ERA and a 16-0 record.
Known as a strike-out specialist with a baffling array of pitches, she K’d 174 opposing batters in 89 innings pitched.
Petersen, who is bound for college on a softball scholarship, broke her own season home run record, hitting 16 during the past season. She also compiled a .392 batting average, and had 42 RBIs and 32 runs scored, according to MaxPreps statistics.
Both Paulson and Petersen were earlier named both to the All-Section and All-Division first team.
In baseball, the Republic named junior first baseman and pitcher Nick McMullen to the Division III, All-State team.
Last season, McMullen compiled a robust .515 batting average with 11 home runs, 41 runs scored and 47 RBIs. He also successfully swiped 14 bases in 15 steal attempts.
He was also sometimes called upon to pitch and finished with a 3.39 ERA and a 3-2 record.
Andrew Bryniarski of Fountain Hills was named the baseball “Small School Player of the Year.”