Payson’s softball team went 6-3 in the 24-team Wickenburg Wrangler Classic held Friday-Saturday.
The Longhorns were 2-1 in pool play, losing to Division 1 Peoria Liberty 4-1 and beating Div. I Surprise Valley Vista 4-2 and Mohave Valley River Valley 6-0. In their final game on Friday, PHS beat Div. II El Mirage Dysart 11-0.
On Saturday, the Horns lost 4-0 to Nogales, which went on to lose 5-4 to Liberty in the championship game. That knocked them into the consolation bracket, where they beat Lakeside Blue Ridge 11-0, Snowflake 7-0 and Valley Vista 6-2 before falling 8-4 to Div. II Flagstaff in their fifth game of the day.
“We were pretty much out of gas,” said assistant coach Curtis Johnson. “We had a lot of girls with sore arms and were a little beat up, so we mixed up the lineup and let some young girls play who hadn’t played a lot to get some evaluations done. The girls played hard. They competed.”
Arianna Paulson batted .607 with two home runs and eight RBIs. She also fashioned a 1.286 earned run average with 62 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings pitching. Arissa Paulson batted .435 with three homers and seven RBIs and fanned 21 in 11 innings with a microscopic 0.636 ERA.
Sadie Dunman hit .375 with two doubles and a triple. Cori Barnett batted .364 with five doubles. Payton Petersen hit .333 with a home run and six RBIs and Jewel Johnson drove in six runs.
“We were extremely pleased with the girls’ performance,” Johnson said. “The first two losses were winnable games with just a few minor adjustments with our short-game defense. The defense was solid. There were just a couple errors in those close games and, with more practice we’ll be fine.”
PHS is 7-3 overall. The Longhorns play at Camp Verde at 2 p.m. today.