The young and scrappy Payson High School baseball team improved its record to 4-1 with a 15-5 drubbing of a Heber Mogollon diamond crew that was playing its season opener without much practice time due to the inclement weather that limited the time the Mustangs could prep outdoors.
“Mogollon struggled a little defensively because they haven’t been able to practice outside due to all the snow,” said PHS coach Brian Young.
Over the course of a five-inning game, shortened on the 10-run mercy rule, Mogollon committed six errors, many of which led to Longhorn runs. Also, Mustang pitchers struggled with their control, hitting five PHS batters and walking six.
“So, we pretty much constantly had guys on base,” Young said.
As lopsided as the final score seems, it could have been worse, “We were up 15-0 going into the top of the fifth, but had a tough inning defensively.”
In Mogollon’s five-run fifth, Konner Duran relieved on the hill and “was solid but we didn’t have the help behind him,” said Young. “It was a little tough to stay focused, but as a young team we need to continue to work on the mental side of the game, especially to close out a win.”
Of the five runs scored in the frame, only one was earned. Duran was on in relief of Miguel Mendoza who pitched the third and fourth innings, striking out four and not giving up a hit or run.
Tyus Sarnowski got the starting nod from Young and picked up the win after hurling the opening two innings without allowing a hit or run.
Offensively, Payson unleashed a 10-hit attack that included exceptional outings from Gunner Goodman, Ruben Estrada and Duran.
Goodman swatted two hits in three appearances, had two RBIs and scored a run.
Estrada was 1-for-2, with three runs scored and an RBI.
Duran uncorked the Horns’ only extra base hit, a double, and was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs.
The Longhorns return to action today, March 5, at Salt River. Game time is 4 p.m.
PHS makes its home debut, tomorrow against Bradshaw Mountain. Game time is 3:45 p.m.