She didn’t look like a freshman when she made her varsity softball debut as Payson’s starting shortstop in 2018.

And the tall, athletic youngster didn’t play like a ninth grader.

Raci Miranda slid right into the middle of the batting order and produced like a veteran, hitting .342 with power and gobbling up everything that came her way in the field.

She took over as the pitching ace as a sophomore and simply dominated, going 20-6 with a 2.54 ERA and striking out 258 hitters in 168 innings. She also led the Longhorns with a .468 batting average and blasted five home runs.

After COVID-19 wiped out most of the 2020 campaign for the Longhorns, she came back with another standout season in leading Payson to a 20-4 record and back to the 3A state championship game for the first time in five years and for just the fourth time in program history.

Also a standout in the classroom, Miranda will continue her softball career at Cal State-Fullerton.

She ranks among the best softball players in Payson history.

Her excellent final season led to her recognition as the Roundup’s 2020-21 Payson High Female Athlete of the Year.

Miranda was voted 3A Co-Defensive Player of the Year on the 3A All-State Softball Team this season. She was also voted 3A East Defensive Player of the Year.

Payson went 20-4 overall and reached the title game for the fourth time in program history, losing to Sabino 4-1 in the final.

Miranda went 20-1 in the circle with a 0.56 ERA with 279 strikeouts in 136 2/3 innings, allowing 60 hits and walking 26.

She hit .449 with 26 RBIs, a team-high 33 runs, 11 doubles, three triples and a team-high three home runs. She led Payson in on base (.542) and slugging (.826) percentages, as well as OPS (on base plus slugging) (1.368).

Miranda also made the 3A All-State First Team as a sophomore in 2019, when she was voted 3A East Player of the Year. There were no all-region or all-state votes last year because of the pandemic-shortened season.

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