Payson exploded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth to break open a one-run game and beat visiting eighth-ranked Winslow 7-1 in baseball on Friday night.
The second-ranked Longhorns improved to 13-2 in power points games and 9-0 in the 3A East. Payson clinched the region championship earlier in the week.
Jesse Conway pitched all seven innings for the win over the Bulldogs.
“He was really strong and got some nice defense behind him,” said Payson coach Brian Young. “I love the games where we are clean in the field. It helps our pitchers so much and that is why you can throw a complete game within our pitch count rules. Jesse didn’t walk very many and threw a lot of strikes. He has really come along as a pitcher throughout the season.”
The Longhorns won despite managing just six hits and two walks. Alan Cerna reached base three times, going 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs. Tyler Parker added two hits.
“Offensively, we were pretty slow the first five innings,” Young said. “We have to keep working at the plate and get back to scoring runs early and driving more balls. Two more games until the (state) tournament and there is a lot of work to do.”
Payson looks to finish 10-0 in the 3A East with its final region game at Lakeside Blue Ridge at 3 p.m. on Monday.
And the Longhorns want to go unbeaten at home. They carry an 8-0 home record into Wednesday’s 6 p.m. home finale against Chino Valley.