On another perfect day for championship softball, the Paris Lady Eagles punched their ticket to the 3A Region 1 final by defeating the top seed from the 3A-1 conference, the Valley Springs Lady Tigers. Senior Jadyn Hart again went the distance in the circle for the win, and held a good hitting Valley Springs team to just one run in the complete game victory. In the Eagles two games in regional play, Paris has outscored their opponents by a combined 13-1. The win advances Paris to the regional final where they will play on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. for the regional tournament championship and a number one seed from Region 1 going into next week’s state tournament. The Lady Eagles are assured of going to state ranked no lower than a number two seed. Seedings are very important as they dictate the strength of opponents that will be faced in the first round of the state tournament, and provide a theoretically more favorable path to the state title.
But the path to a state title may go through another Logan County team, the Booneville Lady Bearcats. Booneville defeated Hackett in the second semi-final game of the day by a score of 14-3. The Lady Bearcats advance to the regional final against Paris on Saturday. It will be the fourth game of the 20021 season between the two clubs that have been separated by just one run on average in the three previous meetings. Booneville has won all three meetings this year over Paris. It should be another huge pitching match-up between Booneville’s freshman phenom pitcher, Lexi Franklin, and the Lady Eagles’ senior pitcher Jadyn Hart. Both are consensus picks to be named to all state honors as well as all regional tournament honors. But I am sure both would trade all of the personal awards for a big team victory on Saturday that could set their teams up for a serious run at the state finals.
Hackett and Valley Springs will now meet in the third place game at 12 p.m. The third place game has big implications in seeding in next week’s state tournament. As a three seed, a team would be matched against a number two seed next week at state. A loss tomorrow will send a team to state as a number four seed and will then be matched against a number one seed in the upcoming state tournament. The higher the seed, the more favorable path in the state tournament. Both Valley Springs and Hackett must regroup after disappointing losses in the semi-finals and focus on winning Saturday’s third place game.
But the last game of the tournament will be an all Logan County affair with Booneville and Paris fighting it out in what I am calling Super Fight IV. Both Booneville and Paris are great teams with dominant pitchers, and both could see each other for a fifth and deciding time deep into next week’s state tournament. It should be a great game tomorrow for the sport of high school softball.
Photos from the Lady Eagles’ game with Valley Springs are now available on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports. Resident Press will be in Harrison on Saturday to cover the regional tournament final between Booneville and Paris. A complete recap of the Region 1 tournament will be published on Resident Press Monday night.
Saturday’s weather in Harrison could be a factor, so be prepared for rain and come out to Equity Bank Sports Complex for what could be a preview of this year’s Class 3A championship game.
See you at the ballpark!