It was the fourth game of the opening week of the high school baseball season for the Paris Eagles. The Eagles traveled to Booneville on Friday to play a conference divisional cross-over game against the Bearcats. The start time of the game was moved up to 3:30 p.m. in anticipation of rain in Friday’s forecast. The coaches and administrators were correct in doing so, as the rain began to fall within a short time following completion of the game. Booneville defeated Paris 9-1 behind a dominant pitching performance by their multi-sport, talented athlete and pitcher, Jacob Herrera.
The Eagles took an early lead in the game on an RBI hit by Duke Walker driving in Mason Bradley for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. But Herrera began to settle down and the Eagles could only muster a few base runners for the rest of the game. Paris’s Duke Walker had an apparent home run that appeared to clear the left field fence in fair territory called foul. But for the majority of the game, Herrera kept the Eagles’ bats in check, and Paris would not score for the rest of the game.
Defensively, the Eagles continued to struggle on defense. A near collision in shallow left field between Mason Bradley and Blake Martines ended well with Martines catching the ball for the out, but illustrated the team’s struggle with fundamentals of calling off each other on the fly ball. Passed balls and wild pitches continue to be an issue for the defense. Mason Bradley has pitched well this week and has pitched good enough to win, but has not had the benefit of good run support on offense to get him the win. He has lost a hard decision against Lamar, and pitched well enough to win against Boonveille, but the Eagles’ bats have not yet come around in the first week of the season. These are all growing pains for a young and talented team, and I expect the Eagles to improve with each outing throughout the spring.
Paris coach Josh Hart took the loss in perspective, knowing that his team played their first games of the season versus teams who had already played several games prior to their games with Paris. Coach Hart said after the game, “It was a tough loss for us as a young team to end a big opening week. The teams we played this week all had several games under their belts already, and their experience showed. We had several positives during the week; a couple including sophomore Mason Bradley having two quality starts and freshman Konnor Edwards having two great appearances in relief. We had some spectacular defensive plays throughout the week including a couple by junior Duke Walker and junior Blake Martnes who made diving plays in the outfield. Although we struggled some with getting our bat going throughout the week we showed glimpses of what we can do and its a matter of stringing hits together which will come with more at bats under our belt. We saw some things that we will be working on moving forward and will continue to get better as the season goes.”
There is a lot of good, young talent on this team, and they will improve dramatically as the days warm up, the rain stops, and the team can get in a lot of games and practice time. But like the Eagles, the Lady Eagles softball team is also young and talented, and on Friday, they lost a tight, hard-fought game to the Lady Bearcats, 2-1.
On Wednesday night, the Lady Eagles scared the Class 6A Fort Smith Southside Lady Mavericks by taking them all the way to the seventh inning and leading the Lady Mavricks into the bottom half of the inning. Southside was able to manufacture a couple of runs to pull out the win against Paris, but the game showed just how much potential the Lady Eagles have for this season. Now, just 48 hours after that emotional game in Fort Smith, the Lady Eagles traveled to Booneville to play a very good Lady Bearcats team.
In a hard fought battle, the Lady Bearcats managed to defeat Paris by the score of 2-1. The game could be a preview of the district tournament and beyond in post-season play. After the game, Paris coach Donald Hart said, “It was a good pitching duel; unfortunately, we weren’t able to get some timely hitting. Booneville is a good young team that will definitely be a conference contender. Lot of season left for us.”
The Lady Eagles are in Greenwood today to play the Class 5A Lady Bulldogs’ junior varsity team. Next week, the Lady Eagles will travel to Morrilton on Monday, to Danville on Tuesday, and will end the week on Friday with a home game against Cossatot River.
The baseball Eagles will travel to Danville on Tuesday, will host Scranton on Wednesday, will travel to Clarksville on Thursday, and will end their week on Friday at home versus Cossatot River.
So Paris fans, there is plenty of action for you next week as the weather should continue to improve and the afternoons should be very pleasant and perfect to go out to a ball park and catch one of these great teams in action.
Resident Press’s next game coverage will be on Wednesday with the Eagles game at home with the Scranton Rockets. Resident Press will also have coverage of the Lady Eagles’ game with Cossatot River on Friday.
Additional photos of the Eagles baseball game at Booneville are available on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports. Fans from both schools can visit the page and copy photos at no charge.
It was an exciting first week of baseball and softball, and Resident Press will be here all season to bring you the action from both sports.
See you at the ballpark!