The names Walker and Edwards are not the names of an investment or a law firm in Paris. They are, however, a dynamic duo of power and finesse. On Friday night in the 3A-4 district tournament semifinals, the two outstanding players combined for seven innings on the mound to get the win over Booneville, as well as each hitting home runs in the game to contribute offensively to the win. Freshman Konnor Edwards made a crucial defensive play at the plate to tag what would have been the tying run late in the game. Junior Duke Walker started the game, pitching quality innings, and hitting a mammoth home run over the center field fence. The Booneville baseball diamond is 350 feet to dead center, and Walker’s ball cleared the fence by at least 20 feet. And when it was all over, it was Paris hanging on in a thrilling 3A-4 semifinal win over the host school Booneville Bearcats.
On the softball field, it was the Jadyn Hart show as she once again pitched a complete game for the semifinal win over Charleston, 10-0. Hart pitched a no-hitter in the game and continues her march to all state honors. Charleston had been a hot team as of late, winning their way into the district semifinals and into next week’s regional tournament.
The Lady Eagles’ win over Charleston sets up a big rematch in the finals with Booneville. The Lady Bearcats defeated Paris earlier in a cross-over divisional conference game by the score of 2-1. In that game, Paris had multiple opportunities to tie or take the lead, but ultimately stranded runners on base. Saturday’s final will be the match-up of the two best teams in the conference and will be the game that everyone wants to see.
The baseball Eagles, now winners of their last seven, continue to come together as a team. That was clearly the case on Friday night as the Eagles led the entire way, but made big defensive plays, both at the plate, and on two hard-hit fly balls deep to center field that were ran down by Blake Martines. If Martines does not make both catches, the outcome could have been much different. The Eagles refused to fold under the relentless effort of the Bearcats to take the lead. It was a great high school baseball game, and with the win, Paris advances to Saturday’s final against Danville.
The game to determine the third and fourth seeds in the softball regional will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. The Hackett Lady Hornets will play the Charleston Lady Tigers with the winner advancing to regionals as a three seed and the loser as a four seed. In the baseball bracket, the Booneville Bearcats will play the Charleston Tigers for the three and four seeds. That game will also begin at 11:30 a.m.
The softball and baseball championship games will be played after the completion of the third place games. The winner of the championship game will earn the district tournament championship and the top seed in next week’s regional tournaments in Harrison. The loser will go to regionals as two seeds.
And one last thought. I would like to recognize the Booneville school district, support personnel, and all associated with the Booneville baseball and softball programs for the fine work they did to make the fields playable for Friday’s games. After heavy rainfall, the tournament was only delayed one day, and the fields were in good shape for the games on Friday. This takes a lot of work, and all those responsible should be thanked and congratulated.
So in a few hours, we will know the seedings for baseball and softball in next week’s regional tournament. We will also crown a district champion in both sports, and we will then turn our sights to the next step in the process of winning a state title. Eight teams combined will leave Booneville Saturday afternoon with championship dreams, and Resident Press would like to wish them all good luck.
It’s been a great season and has been a lot of fun to cover….but it’s not over yet!
See you at the ballpark!