The 3A-4 district softball and baseball district tournaments came to a rousing conclusion on Saturday afternoon in Booneville as the Lady Bearcats won a thriller over the Paris Lady Eagles by a score of 3-1, and the Danville Little Johns defeated Paris by a score of 5-1, to win the 3A-4 conference championships.
The Lady Bearcats were led by their outstanding freshman pitcher, Lexi Franklin, who went the distance giving up just one run in the championship win for Booneville. Lady Eagles Jadyn Hart picked up the loss after going the distance for Paris. The game was a battle of two outstanding teams who will now go into next week’s regional tournament as the number one and two seeds from the 3A-4 and could possibly meet again deep into the state playoffs. Booneville has now defeated the Lady Eagles three times on the season by a margin of less than two runs per game, and fans from both schools would love to see the two Logan County schools meet again, perhaps at Bogle Park on the campus of the University of Arkansas. But, before that can happen, there is a lot of softball yet to be played, and it all begins on Thursday in Harrison.
The baseball Eagles, fresh off of their big win over Booneville on Friday night, faced a very good Danville Little Johns team that entered the tournament as the number one seed from the south division of the 3A-4 conference. The Little Johns are very deep in good pitching, and that was the difference on Saturday. Paris threw its top two pitchers in the win on Friday night, and the day two rotation of pitching for Danville was more effective for the Little Johns. Paris battled hard, but left runners aboard in the loss by not being able to come up with the key base hit to score runs. In the end, the Danville pitching was able to secure the win for the Little Johns, and Danville will go to Harrison next week at the top seed from the 3A-4. The Eagles will play on Thursday as the number two seed from 3A-4.
The championship softball game between Paris and Booneville was classic and was well-played by both schools. Many big plays occurred in the game, but no play was bigger than the collision that occurred in the Lady Eagles’ half of the sixth inning when the Paris base runner and the Booneville short stop collided on a ball hit to the third base side of the infield. It was a violent collision that, thankfully, did not result in either player being injured. The outcome of the play was the Paris runner who was running from second base to third base being called out, and the Paris hitter being sent back to first base. The play resulted in one Paris run being called out that could have possibly scored, a second runner not advancing into scoring position, and two outs being recorded in the inning.
Sports are full of “what ifs” and “could haves”, but depending on which fan perspective you look at the play, the bottom line is that it was a big call for both teams that occurred late in the game. In a classic pitching battle between two great pitchers, runs are critical and are in short supply, and the play was huge for both teams.
The 3A regional will be held at the Equity Bank Sports Complex in Harrison. Valley Springs High School is the host school for the tournaments, but the games will actually be played in Harrison. Resident Press will have a feature on Tuesday evening previewing the eight 3A-4 teams that will be playing in the baseball and softball regionals. Teams will be looking to win their first regional tournament game to secure a spot in the state tournaments.
In the third place games that were played earlier in the day, Hackett earned the number three seed in next week’s regional softball tournament with a win over Charleston. The Lady Tigers will go to Harrison next week as a four seed. The Booneville Bearcats defeated Charleston for the three seed in the regional baseball tournament. Charleston will also be the four seed in the regional baseball tournament.
Congratulations to all of the district tournament finalists and Resident Press wishes all of our teams from the 3A-4 the best of luck in this coming week’s regional tournament. All four teams are very strong and should represent the conference well.
And one last mention to the fans who came out to the sports complex in Booneville to cheer on their teams! It was a great atmosphere and Resident Press hopes to see everyone in Harrison next week!
See you at the ballpark in Harrison on Thursday! Travel safely, and enjoy the great regional tournament action!