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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Paris Defeats Booneville 8-4 to Win the Class 3A Region 1 Softball Championship

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It was the much-anticipated rematch between Booneville and Paris that had produced three previously thrilling games, all won by the Lady Bearcats by an average run margin of less than two runs. In their last meeting, Booneville defeated Paris for the district tournament championship behind the outstanding pitching of their freshman sensation, Lexi Franklin. But on a bright and windy day in Harrison, it was the Paris Lady Eagles, led by senior pitcher Jadyn Hart, both in the circle and with her home run swings, who defeated Booneville to win the Class 3A Region 1 championship. With the victory, Paris goes to next week’s state tournament as the top seed from Region 1, and Booneville will enter the tournament as the region’s number two seed.

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Earlier in the day, a third place game was held between the two schools who came up short in the semi-finals. In a thrilling extra-inning game, it was the Valley Springs Lady Tigers defeating Hackett on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eigth inning. Valley Springs will go to the state tournament as the number three seed from Region 1, and Hackett will enter the tournament as the number four seed.

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As Saturday’s championship game began, it appeared that the fourth match of the season between Booneville and Paris would be another pitching battle between two great pitchers. But in the first at-bat for Paris’s Jadyn Hart, the senior launched a shot far over the left field fence to give the Lady Eagles a 1-0 lead early. The Lady Cats’ Lexi Franklin would not give up another hit until, you guessed it, Jadyn Hart came up to the plate for her second at-bat. This time, the Paris senior launched another shot over the left-center wall to give Paris a 3-0 lead. Franklin, who was pitching well, was behind in the game by the score of 3-0, having given up just two hits, both to Hart.

Resident Press Photo

Both pitchers settled in for most of the remainder of the game, working their way out of jams against the two good teams. Booneville is an outstanding ball club and is a serious contender for the state title, so everyone knew the game was far from over. And, in true fashion, as champions do, the Lady Cats fought their way back to tie the score 3-3 and force extra innings.

Hart, pitching in an iron man role as she has all season, pitched the entire tournament for Paris. In the Paris top of the eighth inning, the Lady Eagles scored five runs to break the game open. But again, everyone knew that Booneville would not quit, and the Lady Cats came out swinging in the bottom of the inning. Hart, looking determined to close the door on Booneville, was able to trade outs for a run scored, and the Lady Eagles went on to win the game and the regional championship.

Resident Press Photo

It was a classic high school softball game between two great teams, and the game did not disappoint the fans and the build up before the game. It was a great game to end the regional tournament, and Paris was able to get the elusive win over Booneville to give them momentum going into next week. Paris now knows they can compete with anyone, and for Booneville, it is just one game. The Lady Bearcats will be a serious contender next week for the 3A state title.

Resident Press will publish a state tournament preview on Wednesday night. You will want to catch this special story on the state tournament brackets, pairings, game times, and analysis. Paris will rest today and enjoy the victory on this very special Mothers Day, but tomorrow, the Lady Eagles have to forget about the win and focus on winning three big games, one at a time, next week in the state tournament. Photos from the game are now available on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports.

Resident Press will be in Ashdown, the site of the first three rounds of the state tournament, on Thursday for the Lady Eagles’ first round game. More information on the tournament will be published next week in Resident Press.

Congratulations to Booneville and the Paris Lady Eagles on a great representation of Logan County in the regional tournament. In fact, the 3A-4 softball conference had a good showing with three of the four seeds going to state coming from the conference. Only the 3A-1 conference’s Valley Springs Lady Tigers emerged from regionals to advance to next week’s state tournament.

Look up the word “competitor” and you will see a picture of Jadyn Hart. She may be, in my opinion, one of, if not the most prolific athlete in the history of Paris athletics. As an all-state basketball player, she is a sure bet for all-state honors in softball, and may be on her way to state tournament MVP. She is truly special in her competitive spirit, stamina, and mental toughness. But Jadyn has four more games to go to a state title, and she and the rest of the Lady Eagles will have to focus on one game at a time. And right now, the only game that matters is the one that will be played on Thursday.

Eagles fans can be assured that Jadyn and her teammates will be focused and ready to play. It should be another great week!

Resident Press Photo

See you at the ballpark!

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