That’s where Payson’s baseball team stood in the first Division 3 power rankings released Wednesday.
The Longhorns are on a roll after four consecutive victories.
They’re ranked behind No. 1 Yuma Catholic, Bisbee, Show Low and Palo Verde.
PHS endured high winds to post a 10-0 six-inning mercy win at Holbrook on Tuesday.
“The game was played in some very harsh conditions,” said Payson coach Brian Young. “Wind was blowing 40 to 50 miles per hour straight in from center field. It was tough to bat and to pitch, but our guys didn’t let the conditions get to them.”
The Longhorns pounded out 14 hits in improving to 2-0 in Division 3 Section 5 play.
Taran Sarnowski was 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs and Nick McMullen 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs. And Ruben Estrada went 3-for-4 with two runs at the top of the order.
“Ruben Estrada has been doing a great job as our leadoff hitter,” Young said. “He has 10 hits over the last four games and is just an absolute sparkplug to get us going. It all starts at the top and when he starts quick we are usually able to generate some offense early.”
Payson scored seven runs in the first two innings to take control. “Lately our bats have started fast in games and it takes a tremendous amount of pressure off your pitchers when you can do that,” Young said. “Hopefully, that is something we keep doing.”
Six Longhorns combined on the three-hit shutout, striking out 10 and walking two as PHS wanted to prepare for this week’s Goodyear Estrella Foothills Invitational, which was scheduled for Thursday-Saturday.
“We used an interesting pitching strategy and threw six different pitchers for an inning each,” Young said.
“Looking ahead to the tournament we are playing in this weekend, we wanted to have all of our pitchers available. So we just kept switching and all of them did a nice job, especially considering the wind.
“Many of them told me it was hard to stay balanced. But it didn’t stop them.”
Miguel Mendoza pitched the first inning, followed by Tyus Sarnowski in the second, Konner Duran in the third, McMullen in the fourth, Dailey Carnes in the fifth and Taran Sarnowski in the sixth.
“It’s great when you have a pitching staff that is deep like ours and you can keep rolling out good pitchers without skipping a beat,” the skipper said.