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The Paris Wildcats got a walk by Zach Norris in the fifth inning to break up a perfect game and a single from Cody Conway in the sixth to break up a no-hitter by Athens pitcher Emanuel Hernandez, but little else went right for the Cats Thursday as they dropped Game 1 of their best-of-3 Area Round playoff series at West Mesquite Tillery Field, 4-0.
Game 2 will be Saturday, 1 p.m., back at West Mesquite with Paris needing a win to force a decisive Game 3 to follow.
Paris ace Phillip Sikes struck out 8 Hornets, but Athens collected 9 hits to go with 3 costly Wildcat errors to establish all the offense it needed.
Hernandez collected only 4 strikeouts but relied on an error-free Athens defense behind him. He stranded Norris on base with 2 of those Ks in the fifth, while Conway was wiped out by an around-the-horn double play in the sixth.
Sikes (8-2) picked up his second pitching loss of the season. His previous lost decision was also at the hands of Athens and Hernandez, 2-1, on March 19 in a pre-district game at Athens.
The Louisiana Tech commit didn’t have the same command of his pitches as displayed last week in a 4-0 one-hitter to open Paris’ bi-district series with Gilmer. The Cats were responsible for just one error in that two-game series sweep. Thursday they committed two critical outfield errors that contributed to a 2-0 Athens lead after two innings. A passed ball rolled into the dugout in the sixth inning to allow the Hornets’ final run to score.
Athens had base runners in every inning except the third.
Paris (20-8) faces a monumental task Saturday. The Cats need two wins over Athens (21-6) to advance to next week’s regional quarterfinals against the winner of Friday’s North Lamar-Mabank single game playoff. Plus, Paris can expect to face Hornets’ pitching ace Brandon Boyd, a second team All-State selection from 2015.
The Cats will probably counter with senior Channing Parker (4-2), who clinched last week’s playoff win over Gilmer with a 5-0 two-hitter. Paris will be the designated home team in Game 2.
ILPC individual medalists for BlueTube included (front, from left) Cheyenne Plummer and Dextiny Patrick and (back) Jake Freelen, DJ Samuels, KJ Tyler, Javier Martinez.
BlueTube, Paris High’s weekly video news magazine, has been selected as 1 of 12 high school broadcast programs to receive the Distinguished Merit Award in this year’s Interscholastic League Press Conference ratings.
In addition, BlueTube students received 3 first-place awards, 2 seconds, and a third in Individual Achievement Awards for Broadcast Division MS-4A (middle school through Class 4A high schools). Paris High and Austin Gorzycki Middle School tied for the most individual achievement awards.
“The ILPC has been around for a long time providing ratings for yearbooks and student newspapers,” BlueTube sponsor Tim Taylor said, “but they’ve recently added the broadcast competition.
“Last fall I showed my students examples of entries that won last year’s ILPC competition and asked ‘who wanted to be a state champion?’ Several students took on the challenge, and I’m ecstatic that their work has been recognized in this, our first year of ILPC competition.”
BlueTube students placed first in the categories of documentary (by senior DJ Samuels), feature story (sophomore Javier Martinez), and anchor presentation (senior Cheyenne Plummer and junior Dextiny Patrick).
It marks the third significant video production award achieved by Samuels during his time at Paris High. He was named a finalist for the 2015 All-American High School Film Festival in New York City and a quarterfinalist in this year’s UIL Young Filmmakers Contest.
Samuels’ winning ILPC documentary, titled “Over,” chronicles the 2016 Wildcat football season.
“I’m extremely proud of DJ,” Taylor said. “He spent lots of time on the project and changed gears several times before settling on a direction and a message that was comfortable to him.”
Martinez, a first-year BlueTube student, produced a featured titled “Bonded,” a creative representation of urban dialog between elements of the periodic table.
“I’m glad that judges recognized the unique creativity that Javier displayed,” Taylor said. “He also spent countless hours working on improving his entry.”
The winning anchor presentation, broadcast on the Feb. 12 show titled, “Love to Hate,” was a collaboration between two veteran, out-going students.
“Cheyenne and Dextiny are on-camera naturals,” Taylor said. “They have a presence and chemistry that relates to our student audience.”
Patrick also collaborated with fellow junior KJ Tyler on the second-place winner in general sports story category. Their piece previewed the 2015 Paris Holiday Boys Basketball Invitational.
Tyler also picked up a third place in promotion/commercial/PSA for a satire of a famous snack commercial.
Sophomore Jake Freelen picked up a second place in graphics for his opening to the Feb. 12 show.
BlueTube is in its ninth year of operation at Paris High.
Channing Parker delivers a pitch in Saturday’s 5-0 win over Gilmer. Phillip Sikes (in background at shortstop) pitched the Cats to a 4-0 win in Friday’s series opener.
Baseball teams that can combine great pitching with timely hitting and solid defense can make long playoff runs.
Such was the case for the Paris Wildcats, who got back-to-back shutouts from junior Phillip Sikes and senior Channing Parker to dispatch the Gilmer Buckeyes from the Class 4A playoffs. After Sikes recorded 14 strikeouts to forge a 4-0 one-hitter on Friday, Parker took the mound for Game 2 Saturday and limited the Buckeyes to a pair of infield singles in a 5-0 win that clinched the best-of-3, bi-district series played in Atlanta.
“We had a great weekend,” said an upbeat Paris head coach Bill Sikes, whose squad advances to this week’s Area Round matchup with Athens, coached by former PHS assistant Dallas Robertson. That best-of-3 series will be played at West Mesquite Tillery Field. Game 1 will be Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (Athens is the designated home team). Game 2 will be Saturday, 1 p.m. (Paris is home), and Game 3, if needed, will follow 30 minutes after the completion of Game 2.
How dominant was the pitching display vs. Gilmer? The Cats didn’t allow a single Buckeye to advance past second base in 14 innings.
“Phillip had a little extra on the ball (more velocity) and was spotting up really well,” Sikes said about his nephew and Louisiana Tech commit. “Channing didn’t have his best stuff,” Sikes about Parker’s performance which included 4 walks and a hit batter with just 3 strikeouts.
“But he battled through it,” Sikes continued, “and we made the routine plays behind him.”
The Paris defense wasn’t spectacular. It didn’t have to be, but the Cats made just one error in the series and that happened in the first inning of Game 1, the by-product of a tough twilight outfield sun.
Appropriately, the Paris defense finished Saturday’s game with a double play on a grounder back to the mound.
Offensively, the Cats managed 8 hits, including a couple of big 2-out blows. The biggest hit came in the third inning when Sikes took advantage of a tricky wind blowing out to leftfield to reach the scoreboard for a 3-run homer.
Then, in a bizarre sixth inning that included two long stoppages while the umpiring crew discussed the outcome of apparent hit batters, senior Payton Barrios also got an assist from a wind-blown double that was misplayed by the Gilmer centerfielder to bring in the final two Paris runs.
Parker was the first Wildcat hit by a Kade Clemons pitch, although it sounded like the ball clanged off the end of the bat. After a long delay, Parker was allowed to take a base. The next batter, junior Corey Allen, tried to leap over a low pitch that bounced off his back foot. This time, after another long confab, he was finally called back to the plate, where he bunted into a force play.
With 2 outs, Barrios lofted a fly into the right-centerfield gap. The Gilmer centerfielder broke in on the play and couldn’t recover in time as the ball sailed over his head. Barrios also had a key, 2-out hit that plated a pair of runs in Friday’s win.
“That was karma,” Sikes said of the fortuitous double. “We thought the ball hit Corey square in the foot, but (none of the umpires) saw it.”
With the wins, Paris moves to 20-7 on the season and is currently riding a 5-game winning streak.
“We did some things we haven’t done all year,” Sikes said. We did a great job putting men on base and scoring with 2 outs.”
Gilmer, the runnerup from District 16-4A, saw its season end at 12-10.
Paris High junior Phillip Sikes struck out 14 batters as the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in their best-of-3, bi-district playoff series over the Gilmer Buckeyes Friday in Atlanta.
Game 2 will be played at 11 a.m. Saturday in Atlanta. A Gilmer win would force a decisive third game 30 minutes after completion of Game 2.
Sikes, whose pitching record is now 8-1, saw his bid for a no-hitter end with 2 outs in the seventh inning when his Buckeye pitching counterpart Jacob Robertson singled up the middle. Sikes’ complete game 1-hitter included a pair of walks. Only 1 Gilmer runner advanced to second base.
Other than a couple of innings, Robertson (5-3) was equally effective on the mound for Gilmer. He allowed just 4 Wildcat hits with 2 walks.
Paris jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to some heads-up base running and the lone Buckeye error of the evening. Senior Forrest White led off with a walk, was bunted to second on a sacrifice by senior Tyler Sanders, and advanced to third on a passed ball.
White then scored the first run when he beat the throw to the plate on an RBI grounder by Sikes. An errant throw on a stolen base moved Sikes to third, where he scored the second run on a single by senior Philip Nance.
The game turned into a pitcher’s duel until the bottom of the fourth when the Cats padded their lead on a 2-out rally. Back-to-back singles by sophomore Zach Norris and senior Channing Parker followed by a walk to senior Cody Conway loaded the bases. Senior second baseman Payton Barrios stroked a 2-run single to centerfield to make it a 4-0 game.
Robertson then retired the last 7 Paris batters he faced.
The win raises Paris’ record to 19-7 for the season, while Gilmer falls to 12-9. The winner of this series advances to next week’s Area Round to face the winner of the Athens-Van single game playoff.
The Paris vs. Gilmer bi-district best-of-3 playoff series will be contested at the neutral site of Atlanta. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday, 6 p.m. Game 2 will be Saturday, 11 a.m., and Game 3, if needed, will follow 30 minutes after the completion of Game 2.
The winner of the Paris-Gilmer series advances to the Area Round vs. the winner of the Athens-Van first-round series.
A traditional home and home series was ruled out because the Gilmer field has been ruled “unplayable.” Paris head coach Bill Sikes said the schools searched for a more convenient neutral site but none were available.
Paris, 18-7 overall, is the No. 3 seed from District 15-4A, while Gilmer, 12-8, is the No. 2 seed from District 16-4A. The Wildcats beat the Buckeyes, 9-1, in a pre-district game on March 22 at Gilmer.
Paris High seniors Tierra Yates and Quez Allen each punched tickets to the Class 4A state track meet on May 14 at Austin’s Mike Myers Stadium with second-place finishes in the discus at the Region 2-4A Track and Field Championships at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Allen saved his best throw for last, passing third-place finisher Dylan Templeton of Princeton (156-6.5) with his runnerup throw of 161-9. Bullard’s Jacob Allen won the event with a throw of 178-11. The top two finishers automatically advance to the state meet. The best third-place finisher from the four regional meets will also receive an at-large berth.
The boys discus event was completed on Friday. The girls discus competition started on Friday, but heavy rain postponed completion of the event to Saturday. Yates led the girls’ field into Saturday’s final rounds when she set a school record with a throw of 130-11 in prelims. Nish Robins held the previous best mark of 130-10 set in 2014.
Yates orginally set the school record in discus during her freshman year (2013). She finished fifth at last year’s regionals with a throw of 120-1, and it appeared that she might take first place this year until Lauryn Dixon of Princeton managed a first-place throw of 134-1 on her fifth of six attempts. Yates fouled on her final attempt to regain the lead.
A pair of Wildcats managed third-place finishes. Senior Quen Bills fouled on his first two attempts in boys triple jump before nailing a 44-7.25 on his final prelim jump. It earned him a third behind Liberty-Eylau’s Denzel Green (46-8) and Community’s Tommy Heard (45-1).
Senior Diarva Brown missed out on an automatic berth at state by 0.02 second in the boys 100-meter dash. Andre Norman of Celina won the sprint in 10.73, Thomas Whitson of Melissa was second with a 10.82, and Brown was third with a 10.84. During Saturday morning prelims Brown barely made finals when he qualified eighth in the field with a 11.26.
Brown qualified fifth for the 200 meters final, where his 22.42 was good for fourth place. DeMarviae Brown of Dallas Carter won the event with a 21.51.
Carter won the team championship in both boys and girls divisions. The Paris boys finished 12th overall, while Yates’ points were good enough for a tie for 22nd among the girls.
Paris High results:
The Paris Wildcats warmed up for their upcoming bi-district playoff series vs. Gilmer with a 4-2 win over the Gunter Tigers Saturday in a game played at Whitesboro.
Paris (18-7), the third-place team from District 15-4A, faces Gilmer (12-8), the District 16 runnerup, in a first-round series that will probably start on Friday. The Cats beat Gilmer, 9-1, in their final pre-district game on March 22 on the Buckeyes’ home field.
Gunter (23-5-1) is the champion of District 10-3A. The Paris-Gunter game was tied, 2-2, after two innings before the Cats broke away with single runs in the third and fourth innings.
Zach Norris started on the mound for Paris and pitched the first two innings. The sophomore had some control issues with 5 walks. He was charged with both Gunter runs (1 earned), and allowed 2 hits with 2 strikeouts.
Junior Phillip Sikes earned the win to raise his pitching mark to 7-1. He shut down the Tigers in the middle 3 innings with 8 strikeouts and just 1 hit. Senior Philip Nance pitched the final 2 innings to get the save.
Senior rightfielder Forrest White collected a pair of hits for Paris, while Sikes, Norris, Nance, junior Corey Allen, and senior Quinn Dillard also recorded hits. Sikes drove in 2 runs.
The Cats were missing a pair of starters for the Saturday game, which gave freshman Daniel Blackmon an opportunity to make his varsity debut at third base.
Cody Conway overslides home plate but dives back to tally the tying run before the Atlanta catcher can make the tag (photo by Joe Watson)
The Paris Wildcats made efficient use of their 6 hits on offense, while junior Phillip Sikes scattered 7 Atlanta hits in a 6-1 win over the Rabbits Tuesday at Hub Hollis Field.
The game closed out the District 15-4A schedule. The Cats, now 17-7 overall, finished in third place with a 6-4 mark and will open the playoffs next week with a first-round series against District 16-4A runnerup Gilmer. Check back for details on that series.
In other district games Tuesday, second-ranked Pleasant Grove beat Liberty-Eylau, 7-4, and Pittsburg edged North Lamar, 4-3. PG (9-1) is the district’s top seed, while NL (7-3) is second. Pitt and L-E tied for the fourth spot with 3-7 marks and will have a play-in game to settle the No, 4 playoff berth.
Meanwhile, the Rabbits (2-8) were eliminated from playoff consideration with the loss. Atlanta jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first and held that advantage until the fourth when a safety bunt by senior Payton Barrios drove in junior Corey Allen with the tying run.
Atlanta threatened to retake the lead in the fifth by loading the bases with 1 out. A grounder up the middle was snagged by senior shortstop Channing Parker, who stepped on second and relayed to first for an inning-ending double play.
Cats’ senior rightfielder Forrest White led off the bottom of the fifth with a second-chance single. White was initially called out on strikes before the base umpire ruled a foul tip and new life. White advanced to third when the Atlanta catcher tried to catch him drifting too far off base. Instead, the throw was high and skipped into leftfield, allowing White to score the go-ahead run, 2-1.
Paris bunched 3 hits with 2 walks to produce 4 extra runs in the sixth. Senior Cody Conway scored the first run of the inning on an RBI grounder by senior Quinn Dillard. The Cats then loaded the bases, and Sikes cleared them with a 3-run triple down the leftfield line.
Although Atlanta worked Sikes for a high pitch count, the Cats’ ace righthander finished with a complete game effort. He allowed just 1 walk, hit a batter, and struck out 8 Rabbits to improve his pitching mark to 6-1 for the season.
Zak Mahan, the third Rabbit pitcher of the evening, took the loss. Atlanta pitching allowed 7 walks, and the defense chipped in a couple of errors.
Before the game seven Wildcats from the Class of 2016 were honored on Senior Night. The group included catcher Tyler Sanders, first baseman Philip Nance, second baseman Barrios, shortstop Parker, utility player Conway, centerfielder Dillard, and rightfielder White.
Paris head baseball coach Bill Sikes had an eery feeling prior to Saturday night’s District 15-4A makeup game at crosstown rival North Lamar.
“Both teams were quiet, the stands were quiet,” he said. “It was one of the wierdest Paris-North Lamar games I’ve ever been involved in. Of course, it got real tense later.”
Call it the calm before the storm, but the Cats weathered an intriguing, 10-inning contest to take a 3-1 win over the Panthers and clinch no worse than the No. 3 playoff seed from the district.
Paris, 16-7 overall, is now 5-4 in district play. The Cats close out the regular season Tuesday at Hub Hollis Field against the Atlanta Rabbits (2-7). It will be Senior Night for seven Wildcats who contributed with key moments in Saturday’s win.
For North Lamar (6-2), the loss hurt, but did not eliminate the Panthers from catching third-ranked Pleasant Grove (8-0) for the district top spot. The Panthers play a makeup game Monday at PG.
One of the Cat seniors who played a major role in Saturday’s game was Channing Parker, who had not pitched since a 1-0 loss to NL on March 28. Parker started and pitched the first 8 innings, giving up 1 run on 7 hits, 2 walks, and 10 strikeouts.
“Channing threw really, really well,” Sikes said. “I guess that rest did wonders for his velocity.”
The Panthers got 2 of their hits off Parker in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. It stayed that way until the top of the sixth when the Cats managed to load the bases with 1 out. Another senior, Cody Conway, hit a slow roller to first that brought home the tying run and set the stage for extra innings.
Neither team had a perfect night defensively but each produced some highlight reel outfield plays. “Their outfield was outstanding,” Sikes said.
The Panthers threw out two runners attempting to score at home. One of those putouts might have been a game-changer. The Cats tried to score the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth when Parker was sent home from second; instead, Parker was ejected from the game when the umpire ruled excessive contact on the tag at the plate.
Sikes turned to sophomore Zach Norris for relief pitching, but the ejection put the Cats in a lineup bind and they had to bring in freshman Walker Preston for his varsity debut in leftfield. Norris (5-3) allowed just 1 hit with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts in 2 innings to get the win.
Although the Panthers loaded the bases in their half of the ninth with 2 outs, Norris got a strikeout to escape the jam and send the game to the fateful 10th.
Paris managed to get Phillip Sikes to third with 1 out when Norris hit a deep grounder to shortstop. The Panthers came home but couldn’t catch the speedy Sikes who scored the go-ahead run. The freshman Preston avoided a double-play on a grounder that advanced the lead runner, and junior Corey Allen brought home an insurance run with a single.
While Sikes was complimentary of the Panther outfield, he also singled out his own rightfielder Forrest White for defense. “Forrest made a play in right center that I thought was the play of the game,” he said. He ran forever but was able to run down a line-drive shot headed for the gap.”
Paris still has an outside shot to tie the Panthers for second place if the Cats beat Atlanta and NL loses to PG and Pittsburg (2-7) in its remaining games.
Either way, Sikes is pleased to be seeded second or third and placed into a more manageable playoff bracket. The Cats will draw an opponent from District 16-4A in the bi-district round, which starts May 4, but they will avoid a first-round draw against Bullard, the state’s seventh-ranked team.
Paris High junior Matt Cochran finished third at this year’s Region 2-4A Tennis Championships in boys singles to qualify as an alternate to the state tournament.
Cochran, seeded third at regionals, beat No. 4-seeded Luis Flores of Gladewater in the first round, then upset No. 2 seed and last year’s state runnerup Bradley Loftis of Dallas Madison in the quarterfinals. Cochran fell to top-seeded Matt Hynek of Argyle in the semifinals before beating Nick Clark of Van in the third-place match.
At the District 15-4A Tennis Championships at Texarkana College, Cochran won his seventh straight tournament by capturing the boys singles title. The mixed doubles team of junior Ashlyn Fleming and junior Ramiro Ramirez won a district title to advance to regionals where they lost in the first round. Also, freshman Sahil Prakash finished third in boys singles.
Seniors Tierra Yates and Diarva Brown each won an individual event at Thursday’s Area 15-16 Track and Field Championships in Gladewater.
Paris High advanced 6 individuals and a relay to the Region 2-4A meet to be held April 29-30 at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Yates set a personal best in winning girls discus with a throw of 116-11. The only other girls’ regional qualifier was the 4x200 meter relay team of Tarsha’la Fisher, Dextiny Patrick, Cap Johnson, and Amagane Hamilton, which finished fourth. The top 4 finishers in each event advance to regionals.
Brown won the premier event, the boys 100-meter dash, with a time of 10.825, and was nosed out in the 200 meters by 0.017 seconds in a photo finish to Atlanta’s Jeremy Smith, 21.906 to 21.923.
Other boys qualifiers were senior Quez Allen (second in discus), senior Quen Bills (third in triple jump), and freshman Juan Rojas (fourth in 3200 meters).
Gilmer won the overall girls team title while Paris was ninth. Liberty-Eylau used a close win in the meet’s final event, the 4x400 meter relay, to edge past Atlanta for the boys championship. Paris finished eighth.
Paris results (regional qualifiers in italics)
The Paris Wildcats fell to the third-ranked Pleasant Grove Hawks Friday night at Hawk Field, 10-0, in a game that was ended with 1 out in the fifth by the run rule.
Hawk junior Caleb Bolden raised his pitching record to 7-0 with a 1-hitter, a leadoff single by Phillip Sikes in the second inning. Sikes stole second base but was stranded at third. Bolden walked 3 and struck out 2.
The Hawks picked up a run in the second inning without hitting the ball out of the infield. They chased junior starter Corey Allen (1-1) in the third with 5 more runs, added 3 runs in the fourth against senior reliever Philip Nance, and ended the game early with a walkoff RBI single in the fifth.
PG amassed 13 hits in a game that Hawks coach Riley Fincher said was “probably the most complete game we’ve played in district.”
The Hawks are now 8-0 in district, while North Lamar, a 5-3 winner over Liberty-Eylau Friday, still has title hopes with a 6-1 mark.
The loss dropped Paris to 15-7 overall. The Cats, who clinched a playoff berth despite Friday’s lopsided loss, remain in third place in District 15-4A standings with a 4-4 record. They play a makeup game Saturday, 6:30 p.m., at North Lamar, before closing out the regular season on Tuesday back at Hub Hollis Field against Atlanta.
L-E (3-6) is in fourth place, while Atlanta and Pittsburg are tied at 2-7.
As expected, the District 11-4A boys soccer champions Paris Wildcats dominated this season’s all-district superlatives. The Cats, 11-9-3, were undefeated in district before being eliminated in the area round playoffs to Kaufman.
Senior Justin Mitchell, the team’s leading scorer, was named co-MVP, while junior Colin Harris was Offensive MVP, junior Cade Blackmon was Goalkeeper of the Year, and Jeremy Beshirs was Coach of the Year.
First team selections went to junior Seth Hudgins, sophomore Montana Payne, and senior Roberto Luna on defense and to junior forwards Christian Mitchell and Zach Lamb.
Named to the second team were freshman Kyler Beshirs, sophomore Nich Mitchell, and juniors Stanley Watkins, Keith Hall, and Jose Resendez.
Receiving honorable mention were sophomores Cole Miller and Felix Vasquez, juniors Dakota Payne and Jared Gibo, and seniors Rodolfo Medina and Bernardo Luna.
The Paris Wildcats still have three baseball games left on the District 15-4A calendar, but playoff intensity has already arrived. Tuesday night at Hub Hollis Field, the Cats battled past Mother Nature and the Pittsburg Pirates for a 7-5 win that solidified their hold on third place.
Paris, 15-6 overall, stands 4-3 in district behind third-ranked Pleasant Grove (7-0) and North Lamar (5-1). The Cats still have games remaining against those two teams and needed Tuesday’s win to separate from the rest of the district pack: Liberty-Eylau (2-5), Pittsburg (2-6), and Atlanta (1-6).
“You don’t want to finish fourth in our district,” Paris head coach Bill Sikes said about a potential bi-district matchup against ninth-ranked Bullard, the probable District 16 champion.
Paris has a makeup game pending at NL whenever Pos Long Field dries out. Meanwhile, the Cats are scheduled to make the long trip to Texarkana Friday to face PG before the regular season finale on Tuesday, April 26, back at Hub Hollis vs. Atlanta.
Paris and Pitt were the only district foes able to take advantage of a small window of opportunity to get in their Tuesday contest. Things were bright and sunny for the Cats after they pieced together 4 hits and a couple of walks during a 2-out, second-inning rally to take a 4-0 lead.
Singles by Tyler Sanders and Zach Norris and a walk to Channing Parker loaded the bases. Payton Barrios plated the first run on an RBI single, and a walk to Forrest White forced in the second run.
The Pirates switched pitchers at that point, and Cody Conway greeted reliever Christian Netro with a 2-run double. The damage could have been worse, but a shot off the bat of Phillip Sikes was snagged on a diving centerfield catch.
Normally a 4-0 lead should have been lights out for a Paris win with Sikes, the Cats’ junior ace, on the mound. But the Pirates were able to chip into the lead with a run in the third inning on a bases-loaded walk, and more control problems ended Sikes’ night in the fourth after two more Pirate walks scored on an errant Paris infield throw.
Coach Sikes turned to the sophomore Norris (4-3) to finish out the night, but he was greeted by an RBI double that tied the game, 4-4. The Pirates then loaded the bases with no outs, but a comeback to the mound started a rare pitcher-catcher-first double play and Norris got his first strikeout to stop the bleeding.
The bottom of the Pirate lineup teammed up to plate the go-ahead Pitt run in the fifth. No. 8 hitter Dakota Torrey walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, and No. 9 batter Netro’s single produced a brief 5-4 Pitt lead.
Another big 2-out rally gave Paris enough offense for the win. An RBI single by Norris tied the game, and an RBI double by Channing Parker (shown in picture by Joe Watson) proved to be the game winner. Parker, making his first appearance in the lineup since an injury late in the Cats’ 4-1 win at Pittsburg on April 2, added an insurance run courtesy of a Pirate throwing error on the play.
Norris and Co. didn’t need the extra run protection. Another Wildcat double play ended the Pitt sixth, and a Norris strikeout stranded a Pirate base runner on third in the seventh.
Senior Tierra Yates defended her District 15-4A title in the girls discus, while seniors Quez Allen (discus) and Diarva Brown (100 meters) were event winners in the varsity boys division at the track and field championships Thursday at Atlanta’s Rabbit Stadium.
The top four finishers in each varsity event advance to next week’s Area 15-16 track meet. The Wildcats qualified 7 individual entries and 2 relays, while the Ladycats qualified 5 individuals and all 3 relays to the next level.
Liberty-Eylau won the team trophies in girls and JV boys, while host Atlanta took the varsity boys division. Paris was fourth in girls and varsity boys, while the Cats were third in JV boys.
The JV Wildcats produced a pair of event winners in Michael Godwin (discus) and Kobe Savage (300-meter hurdles). Discus was by far the best event arena for Paris athletes, who swept all three divisions and qualifed four field entries for the area championships.
Paris Finishers (area qualifiers in italics)
Varsity Girls Results
Varsity Boys Results
JV Boys Results
Paris High head basketball coach Billy Mack Steed has been selected by his peers to direct one of the Texas Small School (Classes 1A-4A) Boys All-Star Teams at next month’s TABC Clinic in San Antonio.
Steed’s team will include Paris twins Jared and Jordan Embry. The Small School Boys All-Star Game is scheduled to tipoff at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at Trinity University. The all-star games are part of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ annual clinic at St. Mary’s University.
Steed has compiled 9 straight 20-win seasons during his tenure at Paris High. His teams have managed a 245-54 record during that timespan for a winning percentage of .819.
Overall, Steed’s coaching record is 476-172 for a .735 winning percentage. He was chosen by peers for the Don Coleman Outstanding Coach Award for Class 4A following the 2014-15 season where the Cats finished 35-1, losing only to state semifinalist Dallas Madison.
His most recent team was 33-3 with 2 of those losses to state champion Dallas Lincoln.
Members of PHS UIL Academic Team pose with their medals
Paris High won two individual events and one team event at the this year’s District 15-4A UIL Academic Spring Meet held at Texarkana College and the Region 8 Educational Service Center in Pittsburg.
The top three individual event winners qualify to advance to the Region 2-4A UIL Academic Spring Meet on Saturday, April 23, at Texas A&M-Commerce. Paris finished in fourth place overall. Atlanta won the team chase.
The majority of Paris points was provided by the regional qualifying calculator applications team, led by a 1-2-4 finish from sophomore Anna Floyd, junior Chelsea Savage, and junior Matt Cochran. Sophomore Erica Cole won the spelling and vocabulary event. Other regional qualifiers were sophomore Meghan Lamberson (second in feature writing), freshman Quinn Andrews (third in computer applications), and senior Shreya Singh (third in L-D Debate).
PHS Results (regional qualifiers in italics)
In a search to find some much-needed offense at home, the Paris Wildcats baseball team took a ‘road trip” Tuesday night for their District 15-4A encounter with the Liberty-Eylau Leopards at Hub Hollis Field.
After getting shut out in their only two previous home games (1-0 to North Lamar and 3-0 to Pleasant Grove), the team boarded a bus for the short drive instead of allowing players to take their personal vehicles to the PJC field. The Cats even made their traditional stop at a convenience store for snacks before the game.
While the Cats were able to push across their first home scores of the season, their normally reliable defense and pitching failed them. It was a long bus ride “home” after a 10-3 loss to the Leopards (1-5).
“Sometimes you have to do what you have to do,” Paris head coach Bill Sikes said about the attempt to shake up his team which has produced a respectable 14-6 overall record despite producing just 4 or fewer runs per game in 10 of those outings.
Despite the loss, the Cats still stand third in district standings at 3-3. However, their chances of catching third-ranked Pleasant (6-0) or North Lamar (5-1) appear remote with just four games remaining. Paris visits NL Pos Long Field Friday followed by a trip to Texarkana next Tuesday to face the Hawks.
Pittsburg stands in fourth place at 2-4, while Atlanta and L-E share the cellar at 1-5.
The Leopards hadn’t shown much offensive firepower coming into the game. They had managed just 1 run or fewer in 4 of 5 district games, but they broke out of their slump with 9 hits, 3 walks, and a hit batter and were gifted by 6 Paris errors in field.
Sophomore starter Zach Norris (3-3) didn’t have his best outing, but he managed to keep Paris in the game despite a 3-run fourth where the Leopards managed just one hit. It was 4-0, L-E, heading into the bottom of the fifth when the Cats’ offense perked to life and ended a 18-inning home scoring drouth.
The rally was keyed by back-to-back RBI doubles by Phillip Nance and Corey Allen, but further damage was curbed by an inning-ending double play. Paris left 7 runners on base.
L-E got those 3 runs back in the sixth on a 2-out rally. Norris departed the mound after picking up his 8th strikeout, but hitting a batter and allowing a double. Sikes brought in junior ace Phillip Sikes to put out the fire, but after starting with an 0-2 count Cutter Webb ripped a 2-run single. A lost fly ball scored the third run and gave the Leopards a 7-3 lead.
They added 3 more runs in the seventh off lefty reliever Allen, who hadn’t pitched since early in the season. Another Paris outfield error and 3-base throwing error helped cement the defensive collapse.
To make matters worse, the Cats may have lost another starter to injury during the game.
“We’re a little thin right now,” Sikes admitted.
Behind another strong pitching performance by junior Phillip Sikes, the Paris Wildcats closed out the first half of District 15-4A play with a 4-1 victory at Atlanta Friday night.
Sikes improves his pitching record to 5-1 with his third district win. Paris, now 14-5 for the season, stands in third place with a 3-2 mark. Pleasant Grove remains a perfect 5-0, while North Lamar is second at 4-1, Pittsburg stands 2-3, Atlanta 1-4, and Liberty-Eylau 0-5.
The Cats start the second go-round Tuesday by hosting L-E at Hub Hollis Field before traveling to Pos Long Field on Friday to face the NL Panthers.
Paris scratched across a run in the top of the first inning without benefit of a hit. Atlanta tied the game in the bottom of the first, 1-1, off three straight singles.
Sikes settled down after the first to shut out the Rabbits the rest of the way. Meanwhile, junior Corey Allen led off the top of the second with a double and came home on senior catcher Tyler Sanders’ groundout RBI.
Allen jump-started the Cats’ offense in the fourth with another leadoff double. RBI singles by sophomore Zach Norris and senior Payton Barrios closed out the scoring for the night.
Sikes, the state Class 4A strikeout leader, posted another double-digit card with 11 strikeouts. His coach, and uncle, Bill Sikes was pleased with his approach on the mound.
“Phil had a good night,” the elder Sikes said. “He got ahead of hitters and got a bunch of ground balls.”
Sikes said his outfield had problems locating the ball in the Atlanta twilight, but otherwise his defense had another solid outing.
“The sun was tough early,” he said.
A history-making soccer playoff journey by the Paris Ladycats ended Friday night with a 3-1 loss to Athens in a Region 2 semifinal at Tyler Rose Stadium, but with a young squad and just two senior starters, the Ladycats hope to make it back to the regional tournament and beyond in future seasons.
The Paris girls became the first soccer team in school history to make the regional tournament earlier in the week when they beat Kaufman in a 3-2 shootout win at Wildcat Stadium. The core of the team is a group of sophomores who have helped revitalize the program under second-year head coach Matt Dickinson.
The semifinal match was scoreless at halftime, but the Lady Hornets knocked in a pair of goals 15 minutes into the second half.
One of those key Paris sophomores, midfielder Estephany Balderas (shown in picture by Joe Watson), scored the Ladycats’ lone goal Friday in the form of a penalty kick with 15:50 left to play to trim the Athens lead to 2-1. However, the Lady Hornets added an insurance goal five minutes later to put the match away.
Paris finishes with a 10-13-2 mark.
Ladycats mob sophomore Sarah Bloodwood after she scores the clinching goal in a 4-3 shootout win over Kaufman to advance to the regional soccer tournament. (Picture by Joe Watson)
Sophomore Sarah Bloodworth normally serves as the center cog of the Paris Ladycats defense, but Tuesday night she scored possibly the most significant goal in Paris High soccer history, enabling the Ladycats to advance to an historic first-ever appearance in the regional soccer tournament.
Bloodworth scored the winning goal in a 3-2 shootout victory over the Kaufman Lady Lions in a Class 4A regional quarterfinal win before a big home crowd at Wildcat Stadium. With the win, Paris punched a ticket to this week’s Region 2 Tournament at Tyler Mary Francis Rose Stadium and a date in the 6:30 p.m. Friday semifinal against District 15 runnerup Athens.
An estatic Paris head coach Matt Dickinson, in his second year at the helm, has revitalized the program due primarily to the influx of a talented group of sophomores like Bloodworth. Another sophomore, versatile Emily Williams, scored the match’s first goal with 17:16 left until halftime off traffic in front of the net created by a corner kick.
Kaufman, the District 10 champion, tied the match at 1-1 with a tally just 1:24 remaining in the first half.
The score remained tied through regulation and overtime, thanks to 21 saves by junior goalie Lindi Hamer and the Paris defense. That sent the match to a winner-take-all best of 5 penalty kick shootout.
Another pair of sophomores, Katy Hall and Deagan Dingman, scored shootout goals to give Paris a 2-1 lead heading into the final round. Kaufman, shooting first, then tied the shootout at 2-2 setting the stage for Bloodworth’s historic finisher.
An estatic Paris head coach Matt Dickinson was pleased by the turnout. “The crowd at our game was incredible,” he said. “It was by far the biggest crowd I've ever seen for a high school soccer match.”
The Ladycats, 10-12-2, who finished third in District 11, will be facing an Athens Lady Hornets team which beat Pleasant Grove, 6-3, in their quarterfinal match. The winner of Friday’s semifinal faces the winner of Nevada Community vs. Kilgore in Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. final with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
Pitching and defense kept the game close, but the Paris Wildcats failed to get the clutch hit that might have made a difference in Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to second-ranked Pleasant Grove in a District 15-4A game at Hub Hollis Field.
Sophomore Zach Norris (3-2), making an emergency start after normal No. 2 pitcher Channing Parker missed the game due to a minor injury, kept the potent Hawk attack at bay. He allowed just 2 earned runs on 4 hits, with 3 srikeouts. However, PG scored 3 runs off the 4 walks that Norris allowed.
The Wildcats, now 13-5 overall, left 8 runners on base. Consecutive singles by Corey Allen, Tyler Sanders, and Norris loaded the bases in the fourth inning, but a flyout and line drive double play ended the Cats’ best offensive chance.
Hawk starter Will Hlavinka was relieved by Joe Pearlman who finished off the win by retiring 9 of the 10 batters he faced with 5 called strikeouts.
PG leads the district standings at 4-0 followed by North Lamar at 3-1. Paris and Pittsburg are tied for third place at 2-2.
Paris makes the long journey to Atlanta (1-3) on Friday to close out the first half of district play.
Phillip Sikes gets his 14th, and final, strikeout to complete the Cats’ 5-2 win at Pittsburg.
In a game the Paris Wildcats desperately needed to pull back into the District 15-4A title picture, junior Phillip Sikes registered 14 strikeouts to outdueled Pittsburg ace Dakota Torrey in a 5-2 win Saturday.
With the win, the Cats, 13-4 overall, pulled in a tie for second place with North Lamar with identical 2-1 district marks. Paris hopes to frame their title aspirations Tuesday when the Cats host No. 2-ranked Pleasant Grove (3-0).
Sikes raised his pitching record to 4-1 with the complete game effort. He allowed just 3 Pirate hits and walked 4 in addition to the 14 strikeouts. He was touched for a run in the fifth inning on a walk, passed ball, and bad-hop RBI single and surrendered a solo homer to sophomore catcher Brett McGee over the short rightfield wall in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Torrey, a first-team all-district selection from 2015, struggled with command of his curve ball. It eventually caught up to him when the Cats padded an early 1-0 lead with 3 runs in the fourth inning of 5 of their 7 total hits collected in the game.
“He (Torrey) didn’t have his best velocity,” Paris head coach Bill Sikes said afterwards. His team was able to combine some patience at the plate and tee off on Torrey’s fastball. Paris still left 10 runners on base but showed improvement after a frustrating 1-0 loss to North Lamar on Tuesday when the Cats left 13 runners aboard.
The offensive improvement started in the Cats’ first at-bat when Forrest White led off the game with a base on balls, was bunted to second by Cody Conway, and scored when Sikes lofted a towering fly to right that was lost and dropped in the tough twilight sun.
The lead ballooned to 4-0 in the fourth. Solid singles by Sikes and first baseman Philip Nance was followed by an RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of Corey Allen. The Cats loaded the bases on another screaming single by catcher Tyler Sanders and a walk to third baseman Zach Norris.
The Cats turned to small ball for more scoring. Shortstop Channing Parker sent a dribbler down the third base line for an RBI infield single, and second baseman Payton Barrios drove home the third run of the frame with a well-placed bunt to the right side of the infield.
After Pitt trimmed the lead to 4-1 in the fifth, the Pirates relieved Torrey on the mound with quick-working Jace Wood. The Cats greeted him with their final run that was set up by another Norris walk and a seeing-eye double to the left-ceterfield gap on another tough sun catch. Barrios plated Norris with his second RBI bunt of the night.
Wood loaded the bases in the seventh, but avoided damage with a strikeout and groundout.
“He was so wild, we couldn’t hit him,” the Paris coach said.
Pittsburg fell to 1-2 in district with the loss and is 10-7-1 overall.
Senior Zay Gray battled back from a sixth-place start and benefitted from a pair of main competitors’ mistakes to take the second place medal in the 148-pound weight class at Saturday’s Texas High School Powerlifting Division 2 (Class 4A) Championships in Abilene.
Gray managed a total lift of 1,270 pounds to finish second behind Rio Hondo’s Heliseo Guerrero, who had a winning total of 1,365. Gray was in sixth position and out of a top-5 medal running following an introductory lift of 475 pounds in the squat.
However, event favorite Lorenzo Sanchez of Taylor, who had the top qualifying total coming into the meet, bombed out when he failed to complete a successful squat. The 148 entries received another boost in the bench press when No. 2-ranked Alan Alfaro of Rio Hondo faultered and was scratched from the competition.
Gray, meanwhile, managed a 295 bench press, surpassing his previous best by 20 pounds to improve to fourth place after two platforms, just 5 pounds out of second place. He finished with a 500-pound deadlift to edge out the third-place finisher, Christian Arzabala of Andrews, by 10 pounds.
Gray’s 5 points earned with the second-place medal was enough to earn Paris the 16th spot overall in team points. Rio Hondo won the team title with 22 points.
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 February winner is Payne Couts. 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.
Deon Minor Relays. Wildcat Stadium will be the site of the annual Deon Minor Relays Thursday, March 22, as the Wildcats and Ladycats track teams welcome other regional schools to this big pre-district warmup meet. Field events will start about 3 p.m. with running finals around 5:30.
District Soccer. The Paris Ladycats and Wildcats varsity soccer teams host Bonham for a District 11-4A doubleheader Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium. The girls game starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by the boys at 7:15.