After rain on Thursday forced the postponement of the Region 1 Tournament hosted by Greenland High School, action kicked-off this morning with the top seed Paris Eagles playing the four seed Greenland Pirates. The 3A-4 district tournament champion Eagles were playing to not only advance to the second round of the regional tournament, but to also secure a bid to next week’s state tournament that will be held in Harrison. So, on a cold, windy, and misty day in Greenland, Paris came out swinging with a first inning Duke Walker home run in the bottom of the first inning. Paris never trailed in the game, and behind a complete game pitching performance by Cooper Haley, the Eagles went on to win 8-1. Paris will now play the winner of the game between #2 seed Bergman and the #3 seed Booneville Bearcats. With today’s win, Paris is now playing to increase their seed in next week’s state tournament. The Eagles currently sit as no lower than a #4 seed, and a win in tomorrow’s 12 p.m. second round game will guarantee the Eagles a state seed of no lower than #2.
Another Paris senior, Cooper Haley, took the ball and pitched a complete game in the Eagles victory. Haley struggled a little with control at times, but was able to pitch out of trouble for most of the day. Haley was also the beneficiary of great defense. Paris senior Blake Martines made acrobatic plays in a very wet outfield that proved to be huge for the Eagles.
With Haley’ complete game win, the Eagles now have all of their pitching available for tomorrow’s semifinal game as well as a possible regional championship game. Coach Josh Hart has handled his pitching rotation masterfully dating back to both the district tournament and now the regional tournament. He has plenty of quality pitching left to both secure a #2 seed in state and possibly to secure the regional championship and the top seed in state. Haley’s performance has positioned the Eagles to make a run at the regional tournament championship and spare other pitchers along the way.
After the game, Eagles coach Josh Hart said, “We came out fighting today. Cooper Haley threw a gem, pitching a complete game and only allowing one run. Duke led us off hitting a solo bomb which helped wake up the bats. We hit the ball well today and had a big fourth inning, scoring five to help extend Cooper. The boys are hungry and you can tell by the way they are playing. Super proud of the boys punching their ticket to the state tournament!”
The path to the state championship doesn’t get easier for Paris and the other teams in the tournament. But the Eagles will have all of their pitching available tomorrow when they take the field in the regional semis tomorrow at Greenland. Stay with Resident News Network Sports for complete coverage of the Eagles’ post-season run!