Payson may be one of the top baseball teams in Arizona, but the top-ranked 3A team in the state got a look at unfamiliar competition in the Goodyear Estrella Foothills Wolves Classic on Thursday-Saturday.
The Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep Ramblers beat the Longhorns 14-3 in the first game on Thursday. Payson bounced back to beat both Cottonwood Mingus (7-2) and 3A East foe Lakeside Blue Ridge on Friday to finish second in its pool.
The Longhorns advanced to face Tucson Sabino and lost 8-4 on Saturday.
Payson is 14-5 overall, 10-1 in power points games and 5-0 in the 3A East.
The Longhorns return to power points action at Holbrook today. The Longhorns have won their last nine power points games.
Tuesday’s action kicks off a challenging week for Payson, which takes on Queen Creek San Tan Foothills in their annual game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick at 3 p.m. on Thursday. The Sabercats lost in 10 innings in the 2A state championship game last season.
Erie Cathedral Prep 14, Payson 3
Against Cathedral Prep, Harold Hunter doubled and drove in a run and Jesse Conway tripled but the Longhorns managed just four hits. River Phillips and Makoa Rich singled for the other hits. The Ramblers had 11 hits, including a home run off of two innings each by Conway and Alex Mastin.
Payson 7, Mingus 2
Wade Parton was 3-for-3 with an RBI and Alan Cerna and Kevin Cerna were 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead an eight-hit attack. Joshua Wright pitched 6 1/3 innings, scattering seven hits, four walks and two runs while striking out seven. Logan Plain got the final two outs without incident. Mark Petefish struck out three in 1 2/3 perfect relief and Tyler Parker pitched 1/3 of an inning, yielding one hit.
Payson 11, Blue Ridge 3
RJ Butler had two hits and three RBIs and Harold Hunter two hits and two RBIs to lead a 10-hit offense. Makoa Rich added two hits. The Longhorns also drew nine walks from a trio of Yellow Jacket hurlers.
Rich pitched the first five innings, scattering six hits, three walks and three runs for the win.
Tucson Sabino 8, Payson 4
Information from the final game was not available at presstime.