The honors are pouring in for Payson High’s baseball team.
Six Longhorns received recognition on the Division 3 All-Section 5 team. Two are headed to Surprise to play in this weekend’s Arizona Baseball Coaches Association Division 3 Senior All-Star Game. And two have been invited to play in the Senior Academic All-Star Game.
Nick McMullen made all those lists. The senior first baseman-pitcher was one of two Longhorns to earn first-team all-section honors in voting by coaches at aia365.com.
Sophomore Ruben Estrada also made the first team.
Seniors Dailey Carnes and Konner Duran made the all-section second team as pitchers and senior Tyus Sarnowski and sophomore Taran Sarnowski made the second team as position players.
McMullen and Carnes are scheduled to play in the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association Division 3 Senior All-Star Game at Surprise Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday. Payson head coach Brian Young and Page coach Alex Randel will coach the North All-Stars.
McMullen and Miguel Mendoza will play in the AzBCA Senior Academic All-Star Game at Surprise Stadium on June 7.
So six Longhorns were recognized on the all-section team and seven in all received some accolades.
“I think it speaks volumes for our team that we got six players on the all-section teams,” Young said.
“Even with those numbers I feel like there were some guys who got left off. But anytime you can get six guys you have to feel pretty good — especially when our section featured three of the top eight teams in the state.”
Young said he’s thrilled to see McMullen, Payson’s class valedictorian and a real team leader, earning so much recognition.
“I’m really proud of Nick being on the all-section team, senior all-star team and academic all-star team,” the Longhorns skipper said. “It shows how well rounded he is. You don’t often see your school valedictorian as one of your school’s top athletes.
“Nick has good character, is a top-notch student and really excelled in our program for four years.
“It’s a great way for him to end his career. He is a great representative of our program.”
McMullen hit .437 and led the Longhorns with five home runs and 32 runs batted in, while scoring 34 runs. He belted eight doubles and two triples in slugging a team-high .747.
He also led PHS regulars with 12 walks, a .533 on-base percentage and a 1.280 OPS (on-base plus slugging). He usually made contact, striking out just seven times.
He also led the Longhorns with 17 stolen bases in 17 attempts. He committed just three errors in 140 total chances at first base and pitcher for a .979 fielding percentage that also led all Payson players with at least 15 total chances.
And McMullen was the Longhorns’ closer on the mound. The tall right-hander with the submarine delivery appeared in 15 games, going 2-3 with two saves, a 1.21 earned run average and 25 strikeouts, seven walks and nine hits allowed in 17 1/3 innings.
No team had more than two players named to the AzBCA Division 3 Senior All-Star Game. McMullen will play first base and Carnes shortstop.
“It’s a great honor for Nick and Dailey to represent Payson in the game,” Young said. “There were a lot of talented players out there, especially when you look at D3 being beefed up to 58 teams this year.
“They are both very deserving and will play well.
“Both players just had outstanding careers and deserve to cap it off in an all-star setting.”
Carnes was 4-2 with a 1.63 ERA and team-leading 51 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings pitched. He threw three one-hitters. He also played shortstop and batted .396 with a team-high 11 doubles, two triples, a home run, 28 runs, 27 RBIs and six stolen bases in seven attempts.
“Dailey is a great selection as a pitcher as we had some really good ones in our section,” Young said.
“I think if Dailey didn’t run into some arm soreness at the end of the season that probably cost him two starts, he probably ends up on the first team. He just had an outstanding season.”
Young said McMullen and Mendoza making the AzBCA Senior Academic All-Star Game is a huge accomplishment.
“When you are only talking about 30 players being selected out of every single baseball team in the state, it is a great honor for our program to get two players into the game,” Young said.
“I am extremely proud of Nick and Miguel. The GPA requirements are very strict to get into the game. In selecting these teams they consider grades, community service and baseball prowess.
“We ask our players to be great students, represent their families and our program well, and work hard as athletes.
“Nick and Miguel have absolutely done those things and deserve this chance to go and play with players from big schools.
“I can’t ever remember our school getting somebody into this game.”
Estrada ignited the offense, batting a team-high .441 from the lead-off position. He had eight doubles, two triples, scored 28 runs and drove in 21. He had a .500 on-base percentage and 1.070 OPS and struck out just seven times. He was 5-for-6 stealing bases.
Estrada’s versatility was a big asset for the Longhorns as he played several infield positions, as well as serving as the backup catcher, where he nailed both runners attempting to steal a base against him.
Estrada and Winslow sophomore pitcher Kuster Kinlicheenie were the only non-seniors selected to the 13-member first team.
“Ruben was one of only two underclassmen on the first team,” Young said. “I think the other coaches respected that Ruben is the type of player that can play any position and swing the bat well.”
Duran led the Longhorns in wins, going 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings. He threw a no-hitter against Globe on senior night and also pitched in a combined no-hitter against Alchesay. He also played a strong third base with just five errors in 70 total chances (.929 fielding) and batted .278 with a home run, two doubles and 10 RBIs.
Tyus Sarnowski was 3-1 with a 3.69 ERA while fanning 50 hitters in a team-leading 43 2/3 innings pitched. He also played catcher and batted .337 with eight doubles, a team-high three triples, 15 RBIs and 18 runs.
Taran Sarnowski spent most of the time playing a corner outfield position but played all over the field. He batted .395 with 30 RBIs, 23 runs, two homers, five doubles and a triple and 14 steals in 16 attempts. He committed just one error for a .967 fielding percentage. He also went 1-0 with a 2.86 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings pitched.
“Taran is just going to keep getting better and better and show more power at the plate,” Young said. “Tyus worked hard and improved his batting average from last year. He was a huge help to our pitching staff as a catcher and contributed a ton as a pitcher himself.”
DIV. 3 ALL-SECTION 5 BASEBALL
Selected by coaches voting at aia365.com
Name School Year
Cade Moring Round Valley Senior
Kuster Kinlicheenie Winslow Sophomore
James Lewis Show Low Senior
Name School Year
Colton Corum Winslow Senior
Nick McMullen Payson Senior
Brazis Horak Blue Ridge Senior
Jace Wyatt Show Low Senior
Adrian Montoya Winslow Senior
David Chimera Show Low Senior
Ruben Estrada Payson Sophomore
Colby Maxwell Show Low Senior
Bailey Schahn Blue Ridge Senior
Matt Cirre Winslow Senior
Player of the Year – James Lewis, Show Low, Sr.
Coach of the Year – Art Griffith, Winslow
Name School Year
Dailey Carnes Payson Senior
Jarom Beecroft Snowflake Senior
Konner Duran Payson Senior
Name School Year
Austin Vigil Round Valley Senior
Nate Kelley Snowflake Senior
Taran Sarnowski Payson Sophomore
Tyus Sarnowski Payson Senior
McKay Berges Blue Ridge Sophomore
Braeden Dunten Blue Ridge Senior
Henry Montiel Winslow Senior
James Lewis Show Low Senior
Hunter Bauer Snowflake Senior
Kyron Woolf Round Valley Freshman