The Paulson sisters largely account for the high expectations for this year’s Payson High softball team.
But they’re not the only reasons.
The Longhorns demonstrated that with a 14-3 five-inning mercy victory at Fountain Hills on Tuesday without starters Arianna and Arissa Paulson and Cori Barnett. The three are on a school trip to Greece this week and won’t be back until Saturday night. So they’ll also miss the 10th Annual Gracie Lee Haught Classic this week.
“Greece is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Payson coach Kadi Tenney. “They’ve been planning and fund-raising for this trip for over a year. We’d love to have them here for the tournament so we can come together as a team,
but we’re hoping it will bring the girls who don’t get as much playing time to another level. We’re going to do the best we can to make the most of the opportunity.”
Sophomore first baseman Jewel Johnson was 4-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs and Sadie Dunman was 3-for-3 with a double to lead the Longhorns’ 15-hit attack. Dunman earned the win in the circle against the Falcons, allowing one earned run in three innings. Freshman Karlie Smith pitched the final two innings, allowing two earned runs.
“Both pitched well for having limited innings so far,” Tenney said.
PHS had 11 hits in a 6-1 victory at Camp Verde on March 11. Arianna Paulson scattered four hits and allowed just one unearned run while striking out 13 and walking none in seven
innings. She also went 3-for-4 with three doubles and three runs at the plate to lead an 11-hit attack. Becky Bauer had two hits and two RBIs, Arissa Paulson two hits and an RBI, Dunman two hits and Sara Novack delivered a two-run single.
PHS improved to 9-3 overall and 3-0 in power points games.
“So far, so good,” Tenney said. “We haven’t seen anyone that’s tested us too much yet. Obviously, with our level of pitching, that’s going to take us a long way. I’ll be interested to see what we can do against some better pitchers. I’m pleased so far with the adjustments the girls are making to the pitching we’ve seen.”