If being chosen a member of the Payson Little League 11-12 years All-Star softball team in 2008 was a thrill for Taylor Petersen, she must have been ecstatic when tapped to play in the Arizona North vs. South All-Star game that will pit the state’s finest graduating senior players against one another.
The celestial clash, which will mark the end of high school careers for all the players chosen in a voting of coaches, will be played June 15 at Show Low High School.
The first game of the twin bill begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a second showdown at 8 p.m.
Petersen will be a member of the North team.
While the day is about the star games, the festivities actually begin earlier that day with team practices. Those sessions will be followed by a guest speaker and dedication of the game to former Winslow High Softball coach Becky Barris, who tragically died last year in an auto accident.
“She was always a big part of the all-star games so we are dedicating this one to her,” said Show Low softball coach Carl Nix.
Following the speech, dedication and team luncheons, the all-stars will go head-to-head in a series of skill games in which their speed, base running, throwing and hitting will be tested.
While some prep all-stars return from the postseason clashes saying the experience of playing on the same team with athletes they had been competing against their entire careers was more than a bit weird, Petersen claims she’s ready for the unusual happenstance, “It won’t be too different.”
Looking back on one of the most illustrious careers in PHS softball history, Petersen struggles to point on a specific highlight saying, “It kind of all runs together.”
Next season, Petersen will attend the College of Southern Idaho where she will continue her softball career.
At SI she will be joining an elite college program that last year racked up an impressive 50-11 record.
Last season at PHS, Petersen helped lead the Lady Longhorns to a 29-5 record and a berth into the state semifinals where a loss to Winslow ended the team’s quest for a state title.
As a senior, she set the school home run mark of 16. She also hit .353, had 30 RBIs and 28 runs scored, according to MaxPreps statistics.
Defensively, she was one of the finest catchers in Arizona, regardless of school size classification.
Prior to being named an all-star, Petersen was chosen to the All-Section and All-Division first teams.
At the Wickenburg Invitational early in the season, she was voted the tournament’s most valuable player.