Don’t look now Paris fans, but your Lady Eagles softball team and your Eagles baseball teams are winners of their 3A-4 North Divisions and are headed to next week’s district tournaments as number one seeds in both tournaments. The Lady Eagles finished in first place after second half wins over both Charleston and Hackett. The Lady Eagles split the season series with Hackett and swept Charleston, and the Lady Hornets split with Charleston and that was the difference for Paris in winning the top seed going into the district tournament. The baseball Eagles have been a very hot team over the past few weeks. The Eagles lost at home to Hackett and then proceeded to reel off five consecutive wins, including wins over Hackett and Charleston to finish in a tie with the Hornets and thus earn the number one seed in the tournament by tie breaker. Both Paris teams are young, and both teams will enter the district tournament at Booneville knowing that they have already secured births in the following week’s regional tournaments. Both teams have finished conference play, and both are currently finishing the week with non-conference games that are aimed at keeping them sharp before the district tournament begins on Thursday for Paris. On Tuesday, the Eagles baseball team made the short 18 minute trip to Scranton to play the Rockets in a non-conference game.
Both Scranton and Paris used a lot of pitching on the day, and both were playing to stay sharp before their respective district tournaments. Paris broke the game open, after initially leading 2-0 to only see Scranton claw its way back to tie the game at 2-2. Paris freshman Konnor Edwards hit a deep two-run blast in the top of the fifth inning that not only gave Paris the lead but opened up an onslaught of runs scored by Paris that eventually led to a 16-3 victory for the Eagles. The Eagles are swinging hot bats all the way up and down the lineup, and Eagles coach Josh Hart hopes his hot Eagles hitters will continue to swing the lumber next week in Booneville.
After Tuesday’s win at Scranton, a very proud Josh Hart spoke of his team’s success and timing as they prepare to enter post-season play. “It was a great non-conference win to keep our momentum going. We are peaking at the right time of the year with the win against Scranton. The win marks a five game winning streak and winning seven out of our last eight games. The pitching staff had a great outing with Cagen Knoles, Cooper Haley, Konnor Edwards, and Jude Simmons combining for 12 strikeouts and only allowing two hits on the night. We continue to rattle the bats, hitting .361 as a team. I’m super proud of our boys and the way we are playing as we roll into the post season.”
With the emergence of Duke Walker, both on the mound as a starting pitcher and as a deep ball hitter, Konnor Edwards in relief, and a stingy Eagles defense, Paris appears set to enter the conference tournament playing its best baseball in perhaps 18 years. The team is young and talented, and they are hungry to bring a championship home to Paris.
The Lady Eagles softball team has earned a bye to the semifinals of the district tournament. Paris will await the winners of tournament games that will start on Tuesday, April 27. The Lady Eagles will play their semifinal game on Thursday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. The Lady Eagles could play Charleston, Danville, or Cossatot River. In the baseball tournament, the Eagles will also play Thursday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m. Paris awaits the winner of possible games with Cedarville, Cossatot River, or Booneville. Semi-final winners of both tournaments will play in the finals on Friday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. Semi-final losers will play in consolation games to determine the number three and four seeds in the regional tournament. The district tournament consolation games will be played Friday, April 30 at 4 p.m.
So now is the time that conference coaches will be setting up their pitching rotations and lineups in the final regular season games so that their best pitchers and lineups are rested and ready to go at district tournament time. Pitching is the big key from here on. Teams that have the best pitching, and the deepest pitching staffs have a huge advantage in tournament play where multiple games may be played in a short week, or even on a daily basis. Pitching wins, and Paris should be ready next week. That was very much in evidence Tuesday when several Paris pitchers were able to get work in the game and pitched effectively at Scranton.
Weather permitting, the Lady Eagles will host Lincoln on Friday in a non-conference game. The Lady Eagles will travel to Mansfield on Monday for their final regular season game. Their game with Greenwood that was scheduled for Wednesday has been cancelled.
The baseball Eagles will play their final regular season game on Monday when they host a very good West Fork Tigers team in Paris. It will be a final opportunity to play a good team and have ample rest for the Eagles pitchers before their semi-final game on Thursday.
Resident Press will be in Paris on Friday if weather will allow the Lady Eagles game to be played with Lincoln. If not, RP will be in Paris on Monday to cover the baseball Eagles game with West Fork.
Photos from the Eagles game at Scranton are now available on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports. It has been a great season for both the Lady Eagles and the baseball Eagles, and Resident Press has enjoyed bringing you all of the action.
But there is still a lot of season left for both of these young, talented teams….their work is not yet finished!
See you at the ballpark!
Special Note to Our Readers: At publication time for this story, the Paris school district announced the hiring of former Russellville head football coach Jeff Weaver as its new head football coach. Resident Press will have more on this developing story tomorrow night in the online edition of Resident Press.