Lady Longhorn senior catcher Taylor Petersen, who is bound for Southern Idaho University on a full athletic scholarship, was named the Wrangler Classic Girls Softball Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
In a voting of coaches at the conclusion of the Wickenburg High School-hosted shoot-out, Petersen garnered the trophy possibly because during six games she swatted two home runs to go along with a number of other base hits.
Her round-trip tickets were punched against Estrella Foothills and River Valley.
Playing without Arianna Paulson, last year’s ace starting pitcher, the Lady Horns compiled a 3-3 tournament record in the fray played March 1 and 2.
Paulson did not play due to illness.
In the 24-team field, Payson finished 16th overall.
In pool play on opening day, the Lady Horns defeated River Valley 7-6 and San Manuel 10-4 but lost to Barry Goldwater 3-1.
On Saturday in the so-called “Play In Bracket,” Payson run-ruled Fredonia 12-0 but lost 8-2 to eventual tournament champion Estrella Foothills.
In the consolation bracket on Saturday, Payson eventually forfeited to Coolidge in an extra-inning game in which the Lady Horns simply ran out of pitching. At the time, the game was tied 6-6.
Without Paulson, Sadie Dunman — the only pitcher on the Lady Horn staff — was exhausted after hurling almost 30 innings in less than two days.
Despite the loss, coach Will Dunman was upbeat, “The kids worked hard and did a great job; I am very proud of them.”
The team opens the regular season today, March 5, at Salt River near Scottsdale. Game time is 3:45 p.m.