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Paris High athletes won 3 events at Thursday’s Area 13-14 track meet at Emory Rains and qualified 13 individual entrants and 3 relays for next week’s Region 2-4A Track and Field Championships.
The regional track meet will be held Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Senior Jalen Easter won varsity boys discus, while senior Montavius Mccarty finished first in the boys 100 meters and freshman Jalen Gray won the boys 400 meters.
Just as they did at the District 14 meet last week, the Wildcats finished a strong, but distant, second to Atlanta in the boys division, 172 to 95. The top four finishers in each event advance to regionals.
Paris results (regional qualifiers in italics):
Daniel Blackmon knocks a double over the third base bag to drive in the first two runs
As a high school baseball coach, it’s hard to find a comfort zone when your team is picked to finish last in district and you have to fill out a lineup card that relies on 5 sophomores and 3 freshmen. But Paris coach Bill Sikes is feeling a lot more optimistic about his young team’s playoff chances following a 10-0 rout of Atlanta Tuesday night at PJC’s Hub Hollis Field.
The win leaves the Wildcats solidly in third place in District 14-4A with a 4-4 record. Pleasant Grove rallied past Liberty-Eylau, 12-6, and Pittsburg overcame North Lamar, 10-6, in other district action.
With two games remaining on the schedule, PG has clinched the No. 1 playoff seed with a perfect 8-0 mark, while Pittsburg is 6-2, Paris 4-4, Atlanta 3-5, L-E 2-6, and NL 1-7. The Cats are in shape to secure a playoff berth and can wrap up the district’s third seed with a win Friday at L-E. Paris returns to Hub Hollis next Tuesday to play Pittsburg in the district finale.
“Who’d ever thought we’d be in this position eight games into the district schedule?” said an elated Sikes.
He wasn’t feeling that way after the first three Atlanta hitters jumped on starting pitcher Zach Norris (6-4) for hard hit flyouts to start the game.
“I thought we were in trouble when they rocked Zach that first inning,” Sikes said, “but he loosened up, got into a rhythm and battled on a night when he didn’t have his best stuff.”
The senior righthander and PJC signee only had 5 strikeouts, allowed 5 hits and 1 walk, but one of those strikeouts ended a bases-loaded threat in the fourth inning and those young infielders bailed him out of jams in the second and fifth.
“I thought the infield really looked comfortable tonight,” Sikes said. “We’ve been relying on two sophomores and a freshmen (plus a junior learning a new position). There’s nothing like getting game experience.”
That junior, first baseman Daniel Blackmon, was the bell cow of the Wildcat offense, too. His 2-run double over the third base bag in the bottom of the first inning (see photo above) was followed by a RBI bloop single to right by sophomore centerfielder Layn Hall to stake Paris to a quick 3-0 lead.
Blackmon and Hall also started a big two-out rally in the third inning which chased Rabbit ace Jake Thompson from the mound. Before the Rabbits’ agony ended, the inning was kept alive by a wild pitch, walk, non-caught third strike, passed ball, RBI singles by Javian Dabbs and Saxon Swain, a hit batter, and Norris’ 2-run double to the leftfield warning track.
“It’s the first time all year that Daniel has looked really comfortable at the plate,” Sikes said. “The whole team had some good swings tonight.”
Blackmon also had several good fielding plays at first base including an unassisted groundout to end the fifth and evoke the 10-run rule.
The Paris Ladycats closed out a year of improvement and disappointment in softball Tuesday with a 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Lady Rabbits on Senior Night at their PJHS home field.
Paris finished 9-16 overall and 1-9 in District 14-4A. Although they managed to be competitive, the Ladycats’ Achilles heal was their fielding, especially late in games. That trend held true in the finale as the Lady Rabbits scored five runs in the fifth inning to break open a 1-1 pitchers’ duel. An inability to successfully field bunts proved to be a downfall.
Sophomore pitcher Saya Swain allowed just 3 hits and 2 walks but no earned runs due to 4 Paris errors in the game. Swain struck out 12 batters to finish with 211 strikeouts for the season.
Atlanta scored its first run in the second on a bunt single over second, two stolen bases, and a dropped third strike, but Paris tied the score, 1-1, in the bottom of the frame when freshman Alexxis Braswell drove in Kammie Franklin on an infield single.
Franklin, the lone honoree on Senior Night, was 2-for-3 at the plate. Swain also went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI, while freshman Quiniya Savage had a triple, and junior Akerria Garvin had a run-producing single.
Akeirra Garvin flies to a home plate landing after launching a solo home run
The Paris Ladycats beat the rain by moving Friday’s starting time 90 minutes forward and using Chisum’s turf softball field to host the Pleasant Grove Ladys Hawks. Unfortunately, they couldn’t beat the one district opponent they’ve been able to beat with consistency the past two years.
In the final analysis, the Ladycats beat themselves with a combination of defensive errors, passed balls and wild pitches coupled with some timely hitting by the Lady Hawks. In the process, PG snapped a 3-game losing streak to Paris, 8-6.
Paris (9-15) closes out the 2018 season Tuesday by hosting Atlanta in a 6 p.m. start on the PJHS field.
PG jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but a solo homer by Akeirra Garvin over the rightfield fence pulled Paris within 3-1 after one inning.
Saya Swain winds up to deliver a pitch to the plate in Paris’ loss to PG (photo by Joe Watson)
The Lady Hawks got the run back in the top of the second, but the Ladycats tied the game, 4-4 in their half of the inning. A walk to Taylor White and singles by Shea Dial and Evelyn Brown loaded the bases. An error scored one run and both Quiniya Savage and Saya Swain were hit by pitches to force in two more runs.
After PG regained the lead, 5-4, with a run in the third, Paris scored twice in the fourth to briefly go in front, 6-5. Singles by Brown and Savage preceded Swain’s RBI single. Garvin then stole third base and raced home on an errant throw.
PG reclaimed the lead for good with two runs in the fifth on a walk, misplayed single that rolled to the fence and high wild pitch. The Lady Hawks plated an extra run in the sixth on a double, passed ball, and infield error.
Paris advanced a pair of runners into scoring position in the sixth, but a groundout ended the threat.
Swain did not have her best control in the pitching circle but still stuck out 15 batters. She needs one more strikeout in Tuesday’s finale to reach the 200-strikeout plateau for the season.
The odds of the Paris Wildcats dealing the first District 14-4A loss Saturday to third-ranked Pleasant Grove on the Hawks’ home field were slim. So it should come as no surprise that PG ran its district record to a perfect 7-0 with a 10-0 win over a Paris baseball team that was missing five players from the lineup for a combination of factors.
Paris head coach Bill Sikes turned to sophomore Coleman Lewis, who was outstanding in a long relief role a week ago vs. Pittsburg. The Hawks greeted him with 4 runs in the first inning on 2 walks, a hit batter, and 2 Cat errors.
They added another run in the second on an error, walk, hit batter, and groundout before notching their first hit of the game. Before the inning ended, PG was sitting on a 10-0 lead.
Junior Walker Preston replaced Lewis on the mound to get the final out in the second and shut down the Hawks over their last two innings at the plate. The game ended early due to the 10-run rule.
PG’s Nick Voyles allowed 3 hits and struck out 6 to get the pitching win. Freshman Devin Gaines collected 2 of those hits, and Daniel Blackmon got the other.
The Cats now turn their full attention to a crucial home game Tuesday at PJC’s Hub Hollis Field against Atlanta. The two teams are tied for the fourth and final playoff berth with 3-4 records. A Paris win would virtually clinch a playoff spot for the Cats, who defeated Atlanta, 1-0, in the earlier meeting.
Paris High placed in two individual events and the One Act Play, The 39 Steps, finished fourth at the Region 2-4A UIL Academic Spring Meet held at Texas A&M-Commerce.
It was the first time in recent school history that a theater performance has advanced to the regional level.
Senior Reese Napier finished fifth in current issues, and senior Meghan Lamberson was sixth in feature writing.
Paris’ Montavius Mccarty beats Atlanta’s Reggie Blaylock to the finish in varsity boys 100 meter dash (the Cats’ Donovan Williams in lane 2 finishes fourth)
There’s a stark contrast in Montavius Mccarty and Jalen Gray, but the Paris Wildcats’ senior and freshman represent the present and future of the school’s track program and they share a common trait.
“They’re both hard workers,” said Paris head track coach Herb Smith.
Freshman Jalen Gray uses his long stride to run past the field down the homestretch of the varsity boys 400 meters
Mccarty, the 5-6 senior, used his veteran savvy and and silky-smooth technique to edge Atlanta’s Reggie Blaylock by .05 second and win the varsity boys 100-meter dash Thursday at the District 14-4A Track and Field Championships at Atlanta Rabbit Stadium. Gray, a 6-3 freshman, relied on his long legs to overcome his technical inexperience and run down the field to finish first in the varsity boys 400 meters in a career-best 50.601 seconds.
“Man (Mccarty’s well-known moniker around PHS) is really quick out of the blocks,” Smith said. He gets out front and is hard to catch. Jalen has incredible God-given talent. We’re working on his (techniques on the) curves, but he has so much potential.”
Potential also describes the Wildcat track program in general. The Cats finished a distant second to host Atlanta, 226-126, in the varsity boys team chase, but the Rabbits won’t get to defend their district title next year since the school is moving down a classification to 3A.
That should give Paris an open window to aim for the school’s first boys district track championship in a quarter-century next season. As for the present, the Cats qualified 12 individuals and 2 relays for Thursday’s Area 13-14 meet at Emory Rains. The other relay (4x200) was disqualified for an exchange out of the zone.
The top 4 finishers in each district varsity event move on to the next postseason round.
The Paris JV boys finished third in their division. A dropped baton on the 4x100 meter relay destroyed the Wildcats’ chances of repeating as JV boys district champions. Mccarty’s younger brother Montrel (aka Woody) won the JV 100 meters, while Quay Porter was first in the JV 400 and had a sizzling anchor leg on the 4x400 meter relay.
The evening’s fighting heart award had to go to junior Kobe Savage in the grueling 300-meter hurdles. Savage was tied for the lead when he got off-stride and fell at the last curve hurdle, but he got up and made up enough ground in the final 100 meters to barely finish fourth and qualify for area.
Liberty-Eylau repeated as varsity girls winner, while the Ladycats were sixth. Paris qualified 4 individuals and 2 relays for the area round.
Atlanta won a sparsely contested JV girls division, and Paris was fourth.
Paris results from Thursday events (area qualifiers in italics):
All Eyes on the Ball: Quiniya Savage parks a Reagan Richardson pitch over the centerfield wall
There’s still miles of ground to make up, but the long-standing competitive divide between North Lamar and Paris in softball is narrowing. Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to the third-ranked Pantherettes was the latest evidence.
A decade has passed since a Paris team beat the perennial powerhouse in softball. Double-digit, run-rule bashings have been the pattern in recent years. That doormat trend changed dramatically last season with the arrival of Saya Swain and new head coach Kara Crawford, the former NL standout.
Saya Swain delivers a pitch to the plate against North Lamar (photo by Joe Watson)
Swain, the sophomore sensation and Iowa State commit, is averaging 2 strikeouts per inning pitched and holding opponents to a .130 batting average. She’s also batting .333 with a team-leading 14 RBI, 8 doubles, and 2 home runs. Her presence in the lineup has overnight transformed a district punching bag into a rival not to be taken for granted.
Tuesday at the Ladycats’ PJHS home field, Paris (9-14) battled NL (21-2) to a 1-1 tie through four innings before Ladycat fielding miscues paved the way for the Pantherettes to score the go-ahead run in the fifth and tack on 3 more runs in the sixth.
Swain walked 1 and struck out 13 Pantherettes. For the season, she’s 16 strikeouts shy of reaching the 200 plateau.
For the Pantherettes, Reagan Richardson and Jaycie Hall split time in the pitching circle and had a combined 15 strikeouts. Richardson and younger sister Macy each collected two hits
The unexpected hitting spotlight, however, was on Paris freshman Quiniya Savage, the budding 3-sport standout who shocked the overflow crowd by leaving the yard with a Richardson pitch (see photo above). Savage’s solo homer over the centerfield wall tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning.
Savage is one of the 3 freshmen and 3 sophomores in the Paris starting lineup that should improve with time, which is running out on the 2018 season. The Ladycats host Pleasant Grove Friday and close the regular season on Tuesday at home vs. Atlanta.
One last delivery: Zach Norris tosses his glove in celebration of his 13th strikeout to end a 5-2 win over North Lamar
Before his team took the field for Tuesday’s key District 14-4A baseball survivor’s match at PJC Hub Hollis Field vs. North Lamar, Paris coach Bill Sikes jokingly suggested that he should offer to play his remaining home schedule on the opponents’ fields.
Hub Hollis had become a voodoo parlor for the Wildcats, who hadn’t won a game on their designated home turf since March 24, 2017. That 7-seven losing skid featured some of the worst moments in recent Wildcat baseball memory.
Of course, Sikes was not serious about offering to surrender the home field advantage in remaining 2018 district games, but the Cats sure needed a confidence boost in their bid to capture a playoff berth this season.
They got it Tuesday in the form of a 5-2 win over the Panthers that evened Paris’ district record to 3-3 and left NL on the verge of playoff elimination at 1-5. In other district games, Pleasant Grove stayed unbeaten at 6-0 with a 12-3 rout of Pittsburg, now 4-2, while Atlanta edged Liberty-Eylau, 2-1, to pull into a tie for fourth with the Leopards at 2-4.
“That felt good,” Sikes said. “We haven’t played that well here in a long time.”
The last time Paris won a game at Hub Hollis, it was a 19-strikeout, 1-hitter by Phillip Sikes that propelled the Cats to a 9-0 victory over North Lamar. Last season’s extremely wet spring forced the move of two district games and the bi-district playoff series vs. Brownsboro to Chisum’s artificial turf field.
While senior pitcher Zach Norris (5-4) didn’t match Sikes’ near-perfection Tuesday, he was solid in allowing just 1 earned run, 5 hits, no walks, 2 hit batters, and 13 strikeouts in picking up the complete game win.
After a messy defensive outing in the Cats’ previous 4-3 home loss to L-E, Paris fielding showed marked improvement. Still, there were some anxious moments. The Cats’ only error scored the Panthers’ first run in the fourth inning. Then an RBI single by Austin Exum produced NL’s second run, and a long throw to the plate allowed Exum to move up to second base but he was tagged out attempting to take an extra base on a close call at third.
The only other jams that Norris saw the rest of the way were in the sixth inning when a foul popup left Panthers stranded on second and third and in the seventh inning when NL left runners on first and second after his 13th strikeout ended the game.
Meanwhile, NL committed five errors, only one of which resulted in an unearned Paris run, but the others helped extend innings and ultimately may have contributed to an early exit by Panther starter Zeke Wood.
Paris broke on top, 3-0, in the third on a 2-out, 2-run double to the base of the leftfield wall by catcher Zach Nation (see photo left). An infield error kept the inning alive, and courtesy runner Coleman Lewis scored on a wild pitch.
After the Panthers closed to within 3-2 in the top of the fourth, the game settled into a pitchers’ duel between Nation and Wood, who finished with 8 strikeouts.
“We need a run here,” Sikes said in the sixth inning as he nervously paced the dugout nursing a 3-2 lead.
He got two of them. First baseman Daniel Blackmon led off with a single up the middle and pinch runner Javion Dabbs stole second base. After a wild pitch and a 4-pitch walk to freshman Trace McNeal, Wood gave way to reliever Luke Parsons.
Freshman Bubba Gray worked a full-count walk to load the bases and bring dangerous leadoff hitter Saxon Swain to the plate with 1 out. Swain popped up to shallow left-centerfield but some apparent miscommunication among Panther outfielders and a late break allowed the ball to fall untouched and score two big insurance runs.
It was the fifth straight win over their Lamar County rivals dating back to a 1-0 loss at NL on March 28, 2016.
The Cats, now 9-11-1 overall, hope to avoid a rainy weather forecast Friday with a game at PG before returning to their newly exorcised Hub Hollis home Tuesday for another critical matchup vs. Atlanta.
The Atlanta boys and Liberty-Eylau girls have taken the lead in the varsity divisions of the District 14-4A Track and Field Championships after the first day of the two-day meet Wednesday at Atlanta’s Rabbit Stadium.
Paris stands in fourth place among varsity boys, sixth in varsity girls, and second in both JV divisions. Paris won two events Wednesday in the JV girls division: Atajdren Gill in discus and Hannah Gibbons in high jump.
Finals were contested in all field events and the 3200-meter run on Wednesday followed by prelim heats in all other running events. Finals in those running events will be staged starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
The top four finishers in each varsity event advance to next week’s Area 13-14 meet.
Paris Results (area qualifiers in italics):
2018 Paris High Chorale in concert
The Paris High Chorale received a superior rating in sight reading and an overall excellent rating in concert at the recent UIL Choir Concert / Sight Reading Contest at Mount Pleasant High School.
The Chorale received a plaque for their unanimous superior rating from all three judges for the sight reading portion of the contest. The group received a superior rating from one judge for their concert performance and excellent ratings from the other two judges.
PHS choir director Jan Blize commended her students for their practice outside of class time, including several sessions during Spring Break, in order to prepare for an extra early contest date set by the UIL.
“The contest is about the journey of learning and making music together rather than the destination of receiving ratings,” she said. “I would like to thank this year’s Chorale for making this year’s concert / sight reading journey one of which I am most proud to see students bond together and take so much personal initiative.”
Blize was assisted by PJHS choir director Melody Logan and accompanist Dottie Billman along with special assistance from Head Start director Eva Williams.
Chorale members include Skyler Bryan, Rowan Burns, Javian Dabbs, Quin’Tarious Dangerfield, Cynthia Dehoyos, Ariana Epperson, Alexandra Folmar, Elizabeth Frazier, Jake Freelen, Isabella Garrard, Jessica Ibarra, Molly Law, Nick Leija, Averi McFadden, Destiny Millard, Jared Posey, Yessica Ramirez, Nicholas Reed, Ben Ruthart, Christiana Swindle, Rhea Tabora, Kayanna Washington, and Brian Wright.
PHS UIL Academic Team: (from left) Kira McFadden, Anna Floyd, Quinn Andrews, Savanna Sandor, Mikayla Rogers, Number Sense Coach Renee Townsend, Nichole Hawkes, Allena Taylor, Ryan Tijerina, Aislinn Taylor, Allyssa Standifer, Morial Amin-Allen, Amanda Blouin, Britni Leigh, Science Coach Jennifer Hudson, Reese Napier, Meghan Lamberson, Graham Bain, Journalism Coach Savannah Abbott, Social Studies and Current Issues Coach Tracy Roden, Zach De la Garza, Matthew Wintz, UIL Coordinator Amy Burrows (Not pictured: Robotics and Computer Applications Coach Jodi Andoe and Ready Writing Coach Angie Black)
Paris High won four individual events and three team events at this year’s District 14-4A Academic Spring Meet held in Pittsburg.
The top three finishers in each individual event and winning teams qualify to advance to the Region 2-4A Spring Meet Saturday, April 14, at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Senior Anna Floyd was a winner in calculator applications and computer science, senior Reese Napier led a 1-2-5 finish in current issues, and senior Meghan Lamberson was first in feature writing. The winning current issues team included senior Graham Bain and Lamberson. Junior Quinn Andrews and Floyd were members of the winning computer science team.
In addition, the PHS theater production of The 39 Steps advanced from district and will be competing at regionals Friday, 7 p.m., at A&M-Commerce.
Atlanta accumulated 570 total points to win the team trophy. North Lamar was second at 406, followed by Pleasant Grove 299 and Paris 255.
Paris results (regional qualifiers in italics)
Ladycats Estephany Balderas (10) and Zanesha Dangerfield (14) watch a perfectly-placed long shot by Deagan Dingman give Paris a brief 1-0 lead
Two years ago, the Paris Ladycats shocked the soccer world and perhaps even themselves when they qualified for a berth in the regional tournament. That 2016 team, which included eight sophomores, lost in a regional semifinal to Athens, 3-1.
The Class of 2018 which formed the core of that historic first-ever regional tournament appearance for a PHS soccer squad has labored two long years to make a return appearance. They were minutes away from achieving that goal before they were blind sighted by a pair of Terrell Lady Tigers’ scores which shut that window forever and sent Paris home with a 2-1 loss in a regional quarterfinal match played at Sulphur Springs Gerald Prim Stadium.
“Our seniors have left an incredible legacy for others to follow,” Paris head coach Matt Dickinson said afterwards.
There may have been more talented girls groups to play soccer at PHS, but none can match the 4 playoff wins this year’s senior class leaves in their wake. For a few precious moments Friday, a 5th playoff win was in sight.
A scoreless first half saw just one prime scoring opportunity when Estephany Balderas settled a cross from Deagon Dingman and fired a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that sailed a couple feet wide right of the top 90. After the teams changed ends for the second half it appeared that the Ladycats would immediate seize momentum from a favorable 10-12 mph north wind at their backs.
A foul against Emily Williams positioned Dingman with a free kick from 38 yards out on the left wing. The senior topside defender, who scored the only goal in a 1-0 bi-district win over Crandall, was spot-on perfect with a bullet that found the Terrell net just under the crossbar (see photo above).
The Ladycats had a 1-0 lead, the wind in their sails, and a rock-solid defense that had notched 17 shutouts this season. But their opponents still had 38:32 left on the clock and a multi-faceted offense featuring five double-digit goal scorers. By comparision, Paris only had Katy Hall (22 goals) and Balderas (12), and there’s a big dropoff in goal production after that duo.
The Lady Tigers went right to work using their superior short passing game to go on attack. The offensive pressure produced a corner kick by standout midfielder Mayeli Torres, a University of the Southwest signee. Instead of aiming for the goal area, Torres diverted to the top of the 18-yard box where a hard-charging Jaelyn Young found an opening in the Paris defense and sent the ball past goalie Grace Woodby to her right side.
The lead had lasted just 5 minutes, 24 seconds.
Over the next 20 minutes the Ladycats tried to offset the Lady Tigers’ midfield advantage with some long through balls to Hall on counter-attacks. With 27 minutes remaining a Ladycat corner was deflected out to Sarah Bloodworth whose low shot from 12 yards out ricocheted off a defender’s legs back to Bloodworth. Her rebound shot raised just over the crossbar.
Two minutes later the Ladycats found Hall on a breakaway. She stopped her dribble to take a shot from 22 yards that just missed wide right.
With 13:30 left, a Terrell defender made an ill-advised clear into the middle, where Sunny Scruggs was looming. Scruggs fired from 30 yards away but didn’t get a clean strike and the ball drifted into the goalie Alex Trevizo’s arms.
It appeared the match was heading for overtime when the lights went out on Paris’ postseason march. Torres again started the scoring chance with a corner kick that was headed out by Scruggs and cleared to midfield by Hall, but a Lady Tiger defender quickly sent the ball back into scoring position and Terrell smartly worked it around the Paris defense.
Terrell regained possession on the left flank where it was crossed to an onrushing teammate. A wicked left-footed shot sliced across the goalmouth and eluded Woodby’s diving grab. The Ladycat defense was slow to respond, and Genesis Nunez easily tapped the ball into the net.
Just 2:09 remained in the Ladycats’ season and the careers of Bloodworth, Brylei Moore, Morial Amin-Allen, Hall, Scruggs, Balderas, Dingman, Josie Cade, Laney Madding, Zanesha Dangerfield, and Emily Williams.
They went down swinging, taking a pair of corner kicks in the final minute. On the last corner, the ball was headed out, and Bloodworth was again poised for the score. She tried to lift the ball into the top 90, but it missed 3 feet wide of the goal.
It was over. The Ladycats’ season had ended at 18-8-2. Terrell, meanwhile, had claimed its 13th straight victory and will take a 23-5-2 record to Friday’s Region 2-4A tournament where the Lady Tigers will face Pleasant Grove in a semifinal. Mabank, a 1-0 winner over District 14 champion Princeton, faces Kilgore in the other semifinal.
Agony & Ectasy: As happy Terrell Lady Tigers exit the field, the faces on the Paris Ladycats reflect the sudden end for the soccer careers for the Class of 2018
The Paris Wildcats closed out the first half of the District 14-4A baseball round-robin with a tough 2-1 loss at Pittsburg Friday. They return home to PJC Hub Hollis Field Tuesday night to host the North Lamar Panthers in a 7:30 p.m. start.
That game will be crucial in both Lamar County schools’ second-half district push to make the playoffs. At the district midpoint, Pleasant Grove is a perfect 5-0 followed by Pittsburg at 4-1. Paris and Liberty-Eylau are tied for third at 2-3, while North Lamar and Atlanta are both 1-4.
The Wildcats were coming off a 6-error outing in a disappointing 4-3 setback to L-E earlier in the week. The stage was set for another bad outcome Friday when the Pirates jumped on starter Canyon Parker in the first inning for a pair of runs on 3 walks, 2 hit batters, and a single hit.
Sophomore Coleman Lewis (pictured right in a game earlier this season by Joe Watson) came on in relief to get out of the inning and pitched 5.1 innings of scoreless ball, allowing just 1 hit with no walks and 3 strikeouts. Lewis’ showing, supported by error-free defense in support, kept the Cats in the game.
“That was the best game we played all year,” Paris head coach Bill Sikes said.
The Cats broke through against Pirate ace Derrick McCellon in the fifth when Carson Powell walked and was singled home by Walker Preston. However, Preston was called out attemping to steal second on one of several questionable base umpire’s calls that drew the ire of the Wildcat coaches.
Ty Jordan relieved McCellon on the mound and got the final 6 outs, 3 by strikeout.
Saxon Swain and Layn Hall had the only other two hits by the Wildcats, now 8-11-1.
Saya Swain homered, drove in 3 runs, and struck out 12 batters but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Paris Ladycats from falling to the Pittsburg Lady Pirates Friday, 9-3, in a District 14-4A game.
The game was stopped after 5 innings due to rain.
The Ladycats, now 9-13 overall and 1-6 in district, host North Lamar Tuesday in a 6 p.m. start at the PJHS field.
Postseason basketball awards have been announced with Paris High represented on both All-District and All-Red River Valley lists.
The Ladycats finished with a season record of 14-18, 3-7 in District 14-4A. Junior Peaches Jackson was selected Tri-Offensive Player of the Year and freshman Quiniya Savage was chosen Newcomer of the Year. Senior Serenity Sanders made All-District First Team.
Savage was also the Newcomer of the Year on the All-RRV list as selected by The Paris News. Jackson and Sanders received first team nods, while freshman Bailee Brown and junior Carol Croom were picked to the second team.
The Wildcat boys finished 18-14 overall and runnerup in District 14-4A with a 7-3 mark. Junior Cameron Jones was the District co-Defensive Player of the Year, while sophomore Trea Johnson and senior Jordan Mitchell made the first team and sophomore Trevon Dennis the second team.
Dennis was selected as all-RRV Newcomer of the Year. Johnson and Mitchell made the first team, while Jones and sophomore Jameon Mitchell were picked for the second team.
This one hurt.
The Paris Wildcats’ 4-3 loss to the Liberty-Eylau Leopards Wednesday at PJC Hub Hollis Field hurt mentally, psychologically, and most of all to a young team’s chances of advancing to this year’s baseball playoffs.
Tuesday’s brief cloudburst postponed the District 14-4A game 24 hours from its original scheduled date. The extra day allowed Paris head coach Bill Sikes to send his senior ace Zach Norris to the mound to face the Leopards, who were winless in district and had dropped 10 of their previous 11 games.
The strategy seemed to be working early with the Cats taking a 3-1 lead after 3 innings. A win would have given Paris a 2-game lead over North Lamar and Atlanta and 3-game pad over L-E in the chase for one of the district’s 4 playoff spots.
However, by the fifth inning it was obvious that Norris was laboring on the mound. Some aggressive base-running by the Leopards resulted in double play put outs at home plate to end the fourth and fifth frames and allowed Paris to keep the 3-1 advantage.
“Zach got dehydrated and was having leg cramps,” Sikes said of the PJC signee who has working on 4 instead of his normal 6 days’ rest. “There was nothing wrong with his arm.”
Still, the cramps disrupted his rhythm and led to the fateful sixth inning when L-E combined a single hit with a walk, hit batter, and two crucial Paris infield errors to score three runs and take the lead, 4-3. The Cats committed 6 errors overall.
The inning started optimistically with Norris’ strikeout of Tre Hodge, a Texarkana College signee. Norris lost command with a full-count walk to Cutter Webb, then he plunked Dakota Miller on the next pitch.
The Leopard runners worked a double steal, but it appeared that Norris might work out of the jam when he fanned Kevin Garza for the second out. An infield grounder should have ended the frame but an errant throw skipped past first and scored a run to trim to lead to 3-2.
A bloop single to right by Ethan Brooks tied the score, 3-3, and another infield grounder was booted and allowed the go-ahead run, 4-3.
Sikes brought in Canyon Parker in relief to get the final fly ball out, but the damage had been done.
Meanwhile, the Wildcat bats went into deep cold storage after taking the early 3-1 lead. A Saxon Swain leadoff walk, Walker Preston sacrifice bunt, Leopard error, passed ball, and Zach Nation RBI single lifted Paris to a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
L-E scored a run in the second on a double by Hall and RBI single by Miller, the starting L-E pitcher. Two runners were caught stealing at second base by Paris catcher Nation, who threw out the first three Leopards who tried to gain an extra base.
Paris got the run back in the third. Again, Saxon led off with a walk, stole second, and advanced to third when the throw skipped into centerfield. Saxon would total 3 stolen bases in the game.
Norris dropped a Texas League single behind second base that scored Saxon. That brought a pitching change with Webb replacing Miller. Webb would shut down the Paris attack over the next 4.2 innings with 7 strikeouts (5 by called third strike).
“We got caught looking at good pitches,” Sikes said, “and when we did swing the bat, we swung at some bad pitches.”
Paris had one final chance to tie or win the game in the Cats’ final at-bat. Once more Saxon started the rally by reaching on an infield single and stealing second. Paris would load the bases with 2 outs on an intentional walk to Norris and base on balls by Dee Glover, but a fly ball ended the game.
“What can you do except come back tomorrow and get back to work?” a frustrated Sikes said about his team that relies on 5 key sophomores and 3 freshmen.
The loss drops Paris to third place in the district at 2-2, trailing Pleasant Grove (4-0) and Pittsburg (3-1). North Lamar, Atlanta, and L-E are tied for fourth with 1-3 marks.
Paris travels to Pittsburg Friday to close out the first half of district play.
Katy Hall, shown in photograph by Joe Watson from an earlier match vs. Celina, scores a 3-goal hat trick to lead Paris to a 4-1 win over Dallas Carter. Freshman Erica Garcia watches Hall’s manuever.
Senior Katy Hall scored a 3-goal hat trick as the Paris Ladycats advanced one step closer to a return trip to the regional girls soccer tournament with a 4-1 win Tuesday over Dallas Carter in an Area Round match played at McKinney Boyd High School.
The Ladycats (18-7-1) will face the Terrell Lady Tigers (22-5-2) Friday, 7 p.m., at Sulphur Springs Gerald Prim Stadium in a Region 2-4A Quarterfinal. The winner advances to the Region 2-4A tournament on Friday, April 13, at Longview Lobo Stadium.
The senior-laden Ladycats played in a regional semifinal match during their sophomore seasons two years ago where they lost, 3-1, to Athens.
Terrell is ranked No. 3 in Region 2 by the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches, while Paris is No. 5. Both teams finished runnerups in their respective districts. The Lady Tigers beat North Lamar and Ranchview by identical 4-0 results to advance to the third round.
Hall, the Ladycats’ leading scorer, was frustrated in Paris’ 1-0 bi-district win over Crandall when she was unable to convert on several golden scoring opportunities, including a header which bounced off the crossbar. She took those frustrations out on Carter, the District 10 champion, with a pair of early goals.
Senior midfielder Estephany Balderas also scored just before halftime to give Paris a commanding 3-0 lead. Hall picked up a third goal in the second half. A late Cowgirl goal kept the Paris defense from registering its 18th shutout of the season.
Ladycat assists were notched by Hall and senior teammates Deagan Dingman and Zanesha Dangerfield.
Defensive miscues proved costly to the Paris Ladycats softball team in recent District 14-4A action. They dropped a 6-2 game Friday in Atlanta and lost, 7-2, Monday in a home game vs. Liberty-Eylau.
Paris falls to 9-12 for the season and 1-5 in district play. The Ladycats’ next game is scheduled for Friday at Pittsburg.
The Ladycats took a 2-0 lead over Atlanta in the first inning, but the Lady Rabbits countered with single runs in the first and second to tie the score then plated 5 in the third inning. Saya Swain allowed just 4 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 10, but Atlanta took advantage of 5 Paris errors.
Akerria Garvin went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Swain and Alexxis Braswell belted doubles.
The Ladycats had 10 errors in the loss to L-E. Swain surrendered no earned runs on 4 hits, a walk, and 15 strikeouts.
Paris tied the score, 2-2, in the bottom of the fifth on Kammie Franklin’s 2-run single, but the Lady Leopards scored 3 in the sixth and added a run in the seventh to take the win. Garvin had a double in the loss.
The Paris Ladycats had multiple chances to score on the Crandall Lady Pirates in Thursday’s Class 4A Bi-District Playoff at McKinney North High School, but it took a fortuitous big bounce to pave the way for a 1-0 win that advances Paris (17-7-1) to next week’s Area Round against District 10 champion Dallas Carter. That match will probably be scheduled for Tuesday. Deagan Dingman’s floater from 30 yards out bounced just outside the goalkeeper’s box and over the reach of Crandall goalie Daphne Gonzalez with 10:51 remaining in the first half (see photo above). Dingman then celebrates the goal (right) before the senior defender and the rest of the Ladycats defense goes back to work to register the team’s 17th shutout of the season.
Paris High saw a couple of long UIL competition droughts fall by the wayside Thursday. The Theater Department’s One Act Play The 39 Steps finished among the top 3 at the Area Round Contest in Denison to advance to the April 13 Region 2 finals at Texas A&M-Commerce for the first time in recent history.
The other milestone occurred at a windy McKinney North High School soccer pitch when the Paris Ladycats girls soccer team caught a couple of fortuitous bounces to edge familiar rival Crandall, 1-0, in a bi-district playoff match.
The surprising element was not that the Ladycats won or that they beat Crandall. The veteran Paris team is one of the top rated Class 4A squads in Region 2 and the two schools have evenly split their matches, 3-3-2, over the past 4 seasons.
The more stunning revelation is that the Ladycats’ playoff win is the first by the tradition-rich PHS athletic program in almost one calendar year. The last time Paris High advanced to the second playoff round in a team sport was May 6, 2017, when the baseball team won its bi-district series vs. Brownsboro.
The Ladycats will play District 10 champion Dallas Carter in an Area Round match Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., at McKinney Boyd HS. Paris is the designated home team.
Aided by a strong 20 mph wind at their backs, the Ladycats had several chances to put the Lady Pirates away early. A corner kick by Deagan Dingman 3 minutes after kickoff was headed off the crossbar by Katy Hall, who had a breakaway chance just 4 minutes later but her shot was knocked over the goalpost by Crandall goalie Daphne Gonzalez.
Paris had 4 corner kick setups in the first 20 minutes, and with 15 minutes remaining in the half Estephany Balderas flicked the ball to Josie Cade on the left flank, but her open shot carried just wide left of the top 90 goal corner.
“It’s all about momentum in the playoffs,” Paris head coach Matt Dickinson said. “Once you miss scoring on your opportunities, (the opponent) can make it tough on you.”
With the half about to close along with the window of opportunity provided by the favorable wind, the Ladycats caught a big break, or actually, a big bounce. Dingman, the senior top-side defender, stepped up to contest and win a loose ball at the 30-yard mark. Using a unguarded opening, she sent a high lob goalward. It bounced at the top of the goalie’s box and bounce over the reach of Gonzalez into the net.
With 10:51 remaining in the half, Paris had a precious 1-0 lead and less than 2 minutes later the Ladycats appeared to go up by 2-0 off a corner kick scrum when freshman Erika Garcia knocked a loose ball into the net. However, the side referee ruled goalie interference on the play.
Still, Paris took a 1-0 lead to halftime. Now it was time to switch ends and go into defensive mode against the Lady Pirates and Sam Houston State signee Madison Pottorff.
Hall had two more excellent scoring chances in the first 7 minutes of the second half before Dickinson pulled his leading scorer back into midfield in a defensive poster. He also assigned senior defender Sunny Scruggs to shadow Pottorff.
It took another lucky bounce to maintain the 1-0 lead in the 48th minute. Pottorff was able to wheel around two defenders in the corner to send a cross through the goalie’s box. Teammate Sammy Rodriguez fired at an open net from 10 yards out, but the ball bounced off the crossbar and a followup header by Libby Rodriguez went over the goal.
Midway through the second half Pottorff had a golden opportunity on a free kick from 20 yards out on the right flank. Instead of aiming for the goal, she sent a roller across the goalmouth where 3 teammates were positioned. Ladycat defensive sweeper Sarah Bloodworth was there for the clearing save.
With 12 minutes remaining Pottorff was the target of a teammate’s cross but sophomore Riley Bills went low for a clearing header. The Lady Pirates’ final gasp came on a corner kick with 1:30 left. The taller Pottorff was challenged by Balderas and the Crandall star’s header was easily secured by goalkeeper Grace Woodby.
It was the 17th shutout of the season for Woodby and primary defenders Bloodworth, Bills, Brylei Moore, Scruggs, and Dingman.
“They (the Lady Pirates) always give us problems,” Dickinson said. “They’ve got a D1 player (Pottorff) who’s not easy to deal with. But we came out on top, and I’m proud of our effort tonight.”
The Paris Wildcats varsity boys soccer team showed grit and determination this season to battle back from an 0-2 start in District 11-4A to claim their fifth straight district soccer title. Unfortunately, their district wars did little to prepare them for the step up in competition once the playoffs began.
District 10 left no doubt they are a stronger soccer alignment by sweeping all four bi-district playoff matches. The Wildcats were caught up in that sweep Friday in a 2-1 high noon setback at the hands of District 10’s No. 4 seed Mabank in a match played at McKinney’s Ron Poe Stadium.
In other district boys action, District 11 runnerup Community lost in a shootout to Terrell, No. 3 seeded Princeton fell 2-1 to Crandall, and No. 4 Bonham was routed by District 10 champion Ferris 6-0.
Paris head coach Jeremy Beshirs always knew that the key to a long playoff run was getting past the Cats’ first-round opponent, but he was optimistic about his chances against Mabank, which had to beat Kaufman in their regular season finale to even make the playoffs.
“If we can handle their two big guys up top, we’ll be all right,” he said prior to the match.
They couldn’t. Two almost identical breakaways in the first 12 minutes of the second half resulted in skillful goals by senior forwards James Coker and Jaycob Gonzalez and a fatal 2-0 Mabank lead.
The Panthers were, by far, the more physical team, but the Cats could not point to officiating for their setback. Mabank was whistled for a 4-to-1 edge in fouls, but Paris couldn’t take advantage until it was nearly too late.
With 5:34 left on the clock, a foul was called at the edge of the 18-yard box for a push in the back of midfielder Kyler Beshirs. Senior Cole Miller took the penalty kick and beat goalkeeper Cristofer Pacheco-Mendoza to the left post to cut the lead in half, 2-1.
As Mabank went into defensive mode and stalled time off the scoreboard, the Cats were given just one final opportunity to knot the score with 2:22 left on the clock. A free kick by Alan Garcia from 35 yards out was just out of the controlling reach of Miller, and as Montana Payne collided with Pacheco-Mendoza, the rebound was cleared by Mabank defenders.
The Paris season ends at 14-8-2. It was the first bi-district loss by the Cats since the 2014 season when they were defeated by The Colony, 2-1.
Mabank (9-10-1) moves on to play Wilmer-Hutchins in the Area Round.
Wildcat rightfielder Walker Preston makes diving catch to secure Cats’ 1-0 win over Atlanta (shown in photograph by Joe Watson)
A clutch pinch hit by freshman Trace McNeil and a game-saving diving catch by rightfielder Walker Preston backed the 2-hit pitching from senior Zach Norris to give Paris a 1-0 win over Atlanta Friday in District 14-4A baseball at Atlanta City Park.
The victory leaves the Wildcats tied with Pittsburg in district at 2-1 behind defending champion Pleasant Grove (3-0). Atlanta is tied with North Lamar for fourth at 1-2, and Liberty-Eylau is 0-3.
Weather permitting, Paris hosts L-E Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at PJC Hub Hollis Field before closing out the first half of district play Friday, April 6, at Pittsburg.
Norris (4-3) was locked in a scoreless pitcher’s duel with Atlanta sophomore Kade Wood until the top of the seventh inning when sophomore centerfielder Layn Hall reached on a hit by pitch. Hall advanced to second base on a passed ball, and McNeil came to the plate to register his first varsity hit with a run-scoring single up the middle.
The Rabbits’ leadoff hitter reached in the bottom of the seventh on an error and was in scoring position at second base with two outs when Preston lunged to his left to snag the final out.
“If he doesn’t catch that ball,” said pitching coach Grant Chappell, “it goes all the way past him and the tying and winning runs both score.”
Norris struck out 13 and walked none to earn his second district win on the mound.
The Paris Wildcats varsity boys track and field team finished a close second to Tatum, 134-116, at Thursday’s Blackberry Relays in Lindale.
Freshman Jalen Gray won the 400-meter dash, and the Paris sprint relay of Travius Bronner, Do’Rian Williams, Montavius Mccarty, and Donovan Williams were also event winners.
Paris will be back in action on Thursday, April 5, at the Kaufman Golden Lions Relays.
Paris varsity top 3 event winners follow.
Varsity Boys Results
Varsity Girls Results
Paris Junior Blaine Hill fired a two-round total of 152 to finish in a tie for third place at the District 14-4A Golf Championship and will advance to regionals along with the Paris girls team, which finished in second place.
Round 1 was contested Monday at Texarkana Northridge Country Club, and Round 2 was Tuesday at Paris Golf & Country Club.
Pleasant Grove destroyed the field to take the boys team title by 131 strokes over second place North Lamar, 592-723. Paris was third with a composite score of 736.
Braxton Watkins of PG was the top boys medalist. He shot a 2-day total of 140.
Atlanta took the girls team trophy and PG’s Allison Jones was the low medalist with a 183.
The top two teams qualify for regionals along with the top two individual finishers not on those teams. The Region 2-4A boys tournament will be April 23-24 at Canton’s Van Zandt Country Club followed by the girls tournament on April 25-26.
Hill was named to the All-District First Team. Paris selections on the Second Team were sophomores Holden Stone, Emily Eddlemon and Riley Bills, along with freshmen Tate Lewis and Clairah White.
The Paris Ladycats continued their recent mastery over the Pleasant Grove Lady Hawks in softball by taking a 5-2 win Monday in Texarkana.
Last season the Ladycats broke a 50-game district losing streak with a 6-0 win over PG. Their only other district win last season was a 7-6 decision in the rematch so Monday’s victory gives them a modest 3-game winning streak over a District 14-4A rival.
Next up for Paris (9-10, 1-3) is a scheduled trip Friday, weather permitting, to play Atlanta to close out the first round of district play.
Sophomore Saya Swain played her customary key role in the pitcher’s circle and in the batter’s box in the win at PG. She struck out 15 Lady Hawks, allowed no earned runs, and was 3-for-3 at the plate.
With PG protecting a 2-1 lead and 2 outs in the seventh inning, the Hawks intentionally walked Swain to load the bases. Paris then scored the tying and go-ahead runs on passed balls. Kammie Franklin then followed with a 2-run double to pad the lead.
The Ladycats were coming off a 7-0 loss at state-ranked North Lamar. Franklin collected the only Paris hit in the game.
Each month Paris High staff recognizes a student who goes above and beyond the norm of student expectations to help make the school a better place for learning. The March winner is Tyshaun Beamon. See monthly winners on our Students of the Month page.
Paris High juniors (from left) Jeremy Seals, Evelyn Brown, Ansley Downs, and Alyssa Tacuyan have been selected to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camp. Read more.
District Baseball. The Paris Wildcats host the Pittsburg Pirates in District 14-4A baseball Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at PJC Hub Hollis Field to close out the regular season. It will be Senior Night.
Color Guard Signups. Students interested in joining the award-winning Paris High Color Guard should sign up with Mrs. Stripland in the band office. The annual clinic starts on Monday, April 23, in the band room.