The Longhorns control their own destiny in the battle for the championship of the most competitive 3A Conference softball region in the state.
But third-ranked Payson has put itself in prime position to prevail in the 3A East heading into the final four games of the region schedule.
The Longhorns entered Thursday’s home-field showdown (visit payson.com for the story) against No. 2 Winslow at 5-1 in the region and leading Winslow, Snowflake and Show Low by one game. The Longhorns were 11-2 in power points games with 11 wins in their last 12 games following Tuesday’s 9-7 win at Holbrook.
One of their biggest wins was a 2-1 victory at Winslow on April 2. They also rallied for a 9-8 eight-inning triumph over Snowflake in Payson on March 26. The teams meet again at 3 p.m. today in Snowflake. The Lobos (11-2) are ranked No. 5.
After hosting Chino Valley in a non-region game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Payson closes the home schedule with a showdown against No. 7 Show Low at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. The Cougars handed the Horns their only 3A East loss, 8-7 in Show Low.
The Longhorns close the season with games at No. 11 Phoenix Northwest Christian on April 17 and at No. 10 3A East rival Blue Ridge on April 22.
Payson 9, Holbrook 7
In Tuesday’s win at Holbrook, the Longhorns overcame five errors to beat the Roadrunners for the second time in four days. Rebekah Rice had three of Payson’s 13 hits, including a pair of doubles. Missy Chiccino had two hits and three RBIs, Alex Hagen and Kara Percell each had two hits and Raci Miranda homered and drove in three. Raci Miranda struck out 11 and allowed 10 hits and one earned run.
Contact the reporter at