Having secured the number one seed in the 3A-4 North division, the Paris Eagles added an additional non-conference game with West Fork as a late add to their regular season schedule. West Fork, from the 3A-1 conference, are in first place in their conference, and the game with Paris was beneficial for both teams who are sharpening their games before they begin their respective conference tournaments. So on a beautiful day in Paris and on the last day of the regular season, the Eagles came away with a 7-3 come from behind victory over the Tigers.
The Eagles trailed early in the game after the Tigers took a 3-0 lead into the Paris half of the fourth inning. Then, as it does sometimes in high school baseball, the wheels fell off of the Tiger pitching, and the result was three unearned runs and Paris scoring six in the bottom of the fourth. The Eagles would eventually add another run, and the once again solid relief pitching of Eagles freshman Konnor Edwards, would shut the Tigers down for the rest of the game, and the Eagles would go on to a four run victory.
Paris coach Josh Hart commented after game, “The win against the 3A-1 top seed West Fork marks the sixth game in a row the boys have won. We faced some adversity early in the game, but showed heart and came back from a 3-0 deficit to win 7-4. Our pitching staff had another solid outing, combining for seven strikeouts and only allowing three hits. Konnor Edwards continues to be a clutch closer for us coming in during the fifth to close the game out. He had six strikeouts only allowing one hit and no runs in the three innings he pitched. Our defense played great behind our pitching staff making several outstanding plays that were key plays in the win. Aiden Neumeier showed some range, catching four balls in shallow outfield to save base hits. Blake Martines and Nate Henderson connected for a 8-2 throw out after Blake dove for a shallow fly ball to end the game. Super proud of the boys and the way they continue to play with heart.”
Meanwhile, in Sebastian County, the Lady Eagles softball team was also playing a non-conference game that was added late to their schedules in advance of the district softball tournament on Thursday. The Lady Eagles visited Mansfield to play the top seeded Lady Tigers in Class 2A. Paris came away with a decisive 9-0 win, allowing just one hit on the day.
After the game, Lady Eagles softball coach Donald Hart said, “A quality win over a very good 2A Mansfield team that I expect to make a deep run in the state tournament. We got our best performance to date in the circle by senior pitcher Jadyn Hart. Hart allowed only one infield hit while striking out 12 hitters. Offensively, we keep finding ways to score runs against quality pitching. We’ve played five solid games in a row to carry us into our first game in the district tournament.”
Both Paris teams will play in the semi-finals of the district baseball and softball tournaments on Thursday at Booneville. Both games will begin at 6:30 p.m. The semi-final winners in both tournaments will advance to their respective finals that will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Semi-final losers will play in the third place games that will be played on Friday at 4 p.m. Teams around the state are competing in conference tournaments to determine which teams will advance to next week’s regional tournaments.
Weather is always a factor this time of year, and baseball and softball have to dodge tournament days where rain is threatening the postponement or the rescheduling of game times. The key word is flexibility; both for the teams and for their fans. Rain is forecasted at the end of this week, so, there is a possibility that district tournament games could be pushed to the weekend or beyond. So stay with Resident Press for updates on any possible weather-related schedule changes that affect tournament play.
But for now, Resident Press will see you at the ballparks in Booneville on Thursday! Good luck to both Paris teams this week in their quest for conference championships!