Little League All-Stars Take To The Diamond

Payson hosting several tourneys

Photo by DJ Craig.

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Look up at the sky most nights here and you see lots of stars.

Gazing at baseball and softball diamonds this time of year yields the same sight.

Payson Little League All-Star teams are preparing for Area 1 tournament play, which begins next week for most age groups.

The Softball Majors (11-12) All-Stars actually started their area tournament play in Flagstaff with a 17-7 win over Holbrook on Monday before losing on Tuesday.

The top two teams in each area tournament move on to District 1 tournaments. The district champions advance to the state tournament.

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Payson Little League hosts the Baseball Area 1 Majors (11-12) Tournament at Rumsey Park. It begins on Monday on Field 3 with Payson facing Flagstaff Continental at 7 p.m. following the Winslow vs. West Flagstaff game at 4. The top two teams from that tournament advance to the district tournament at Payson beginning July 7.

Speaking of state tournaments, Payson is scheduled to host one of them. The Junior (13-14) Softball State Tournament is set for July 15-25. Payson didn’t have enough girls available to field an all-star team in that age group this summer. However, the tournament is expected to be a boon for the local economy.

“We are actually anticipating over 2,000 people here in Payson for that tournament,” said Payson Little League president Barbara Rasmussen. “It’s a very large tournament. There could be anywhere from 14 to 18 teams.”

Payson’s Intermediate/50-70 All-Star Base­ball Team for ages 12-13 will feel the excitement of participating in a state tournament beginning at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Nogales. Only five of the eight districts in the state fielded teams in the Intermediate/50-70 Baseball Division this season and only four of those districts picked all-star teams. With no need for area or district tournaments, they advance directly to a four-team state tournament.

Little League started the Intermediate/50-70 division two or three years ago. It uses high school rules, although the pitching rubber is 50 feet from home plate instead of 60 feet 6 inches and the bases are 70 feet apart instead of 90. In the Majors for 11-12 year olds, runners must remain on the base until the ball is hit. However, leading off is allowed in Inter­mediate/50-70.

“It’s slowly catching on,” said Payson Little League Tournament Director and Inter­mediate/50-70 Baseball All-Stars coach Ken Schneider. “Eventually every district will have one or two teams.”

The Minors (9-10) and 10-11 Baseball All-Stars play in the Area 1 Tournament at Flagstaff beginning Monday.

The Minors (9-10) Softball All-Stars open tournament action in Flagstaff on Tuesday.

District 1 Tournaments begin the week of July 7.

Little League Baseball Majors (11-12)

Area 1 Tournament

At Payson – Monday, June 30

Game 1: West Flagstaff vs. Winslow, 4 p.m.

Game 2: Flagstaff Continental vs. Payson, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, July 1

Winners’ bracket

Game 4: Holbrook vs. Game 1 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 3: Page vs. Game 2 winner, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, July 2

Losers’ bracket

Game 6: Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 4 p.m.

Game 5: Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 7 p.m.

Thursday, July 3

Losers’ bracket

Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 4 p.m.

Winners’ bracket

Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7 p.m.

Winner advances to District 1 Tournament at Payson beginning July 7

Saturday, July 5

Losers’ bracket

Game 9: Game 8 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 10 a.m.

Winner advances to District 1 Tournament at Payson beginning July 7

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