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Many of the state’s top high school golfers ran into unseasonably cold weather conditions during Monday’s opening round of the Region 2-3A Championships at Pottsboro’s Tanglewood Resort. During Tuesday’s final round, it was the icy determination of Paris senior Tanner Napier that chilled the medalist competition.
Napier, the state’s No. 1-ranked Class 3A golfer, defended his regional title by firing a 4-under par 68 to finish at an even par 144 for the 2-day event. He was the only golfer to break par during Round 2 as he won by 5 strokes over runnersup Drew Jones of Decatur and Bill Ramage of Irving North Hills.
He now advances to the ultimate prize: the Class 3A State Championships, April 28-29, at Bastrop’s Hyatt Lost Pines Golf Resort. Napier finished second at state as a junior.
Napier opened the tournament with a 4-over 76 on Monday as a cold front and gusty winds ruled Round 1. Tommy Parker of Argyle shot an opening 75 to grab a 1-stroke lead over a trio of golfers: Napier, Ramage and Jesse Campbell of Kaufman.
Under more ideal conditions Tuesday, Parker ballooned to an 80 to finish in a tie for sixth with teammate Nick Louy at 155.
Argyle held off Pleasant Grove for the team title, 626-628. North Lamar finished third at 649 to earn a trip to state.
Paris’ girls team finished in 10th place with a tw0-day total of 866. Melissa won the team chase with a 712 total, while Atlanta was second at 755. Junior Alli Ruthart fired a finishing 91 Tuesday to move into a 3-way tie for 12th in medalist play.
The Paris Wildcats suffered their third one-run loss in district play Tuesday night when a combination of walks, lack of clutch hitting, and base-running gaffes spelled doom in a 5-4 loss to the Pittsburg Pirates on Senior Night at Hub Hollis Field.
District co-leaders Pleasant Grove and North Lamar remain atop district standings with 5-2 marks following shutouts Tuesday. PG beat Atlanta, 2-0, and NL blitzed Liberty-Eylau, 14-0. There’s now a 3-way tie for third at 3-4 among Paris, Atlanta, and Pittsburg, but the Pirates own any head-to-head tiebreaker over Paris for playoff positioning due to their sweep of this season’s district series.
The Cats travel to Texarkana Friday to face PG, host the Panthers Tuesday in the home finale at Hub Hollis, then return to Texarkana on April 25 to close the regular season at L-E (2-5).
Paris out-hit the Pirates, 7-5, and Pitt committed 4 errors compared to 1 for the Cats, but a rough start put the Cats in a 3-0 hole. Freshman Phillip Sikes walked the bases loaded in the first inning, then surrendered a 2-out, bases-clearing double on a full count with the runners moving.
The Cats scored their first run in the bottom of the first when Jake Clark was picked off first only to motor home on an errant throw in the run-down.
The lone official Paris error along with a mental error when a popup was allowed to drop in the outfield and a balk helped Pitt extend the lead to 5-1 in the third inning.
The Cats closed within 5-3 with a pair of runs in the fourth. Sikes drove in a run with a double down the third-base line, and Clark had a gift RBI on a fly ball that landed among 4 Pirate fielders in short leftfield.
They added another run in a seventh-inning rally that began with another Pitt error. Jonathan Nichols drove in the run on a single past third base to cut the gap to 5-4, but, fittingly, the game ended when a pinch runner was picked off second base.
Paris, now 13-10-1 overall, was led in hitting by Helberg and Nichols with a pair of singles each. Sikes (2-3) pitched the first 4 innings and allowed 4 hits with 4 walks while striking out six. Helberg pitched the final 3 innings in relief and shut down the Pirates on 1 hit, 2 walks with a strikeout.
Pittsburg starter Garrett Truitt was relieved in the seventh inning by Brandon Colbert.
The Paris Jr. high Boys track teams traveled to Pittsburg Tuesday to comete in the Jr. High District track meet. The 8th grade boys finished 2nd overall, and the 7th grade boys finished 6th. Here are the individual results from that meet….
8th Grade Boys
400 meter relay – 1st place - Daz Mason, Ramontrae Dudley, Kearrius Ladell, Donovan Williams
110m Hurdles – 1st place – Montana Payne; 2nd place – Jordan Furtch
100m - 1st place- Donovan Williams; 3rd place - Ramontrae Dudley
300 hurdles – 6th place – Nick Mitchell
1600m relay – 2nd place - Kearrius Ladell, Jordan Furtch, Nick Mitchell, Donovan Williams
Shot Put – 4th place - Jalen Easter; 6th place – Michael Godwin
Discus – 2nd place – Michael Godwin; 4th place - Dezmon Tinajero
Pole Vault – 4th place - Jalen Easter
Triple Jump – 4th place - Daz Mason
Long Jump – 1st place – Donovan Williams
High Jump – 3rd place - Daz Mason; 5th place – Montana Payne; 6th place – Donovan Williams
7th Grade Boys
2400m run - 2nd place – Juan Rojas
400m relay – 4th place - Zakedrian Gaston, Jaylen Henderson, Tre King, Anqurrus Harris
800m run – 2nd place - Issac Vasquez
110m hurdles – 1st place - Dyvarious Douglas
100m dash – 5th place - Zakedrian Gaston; 6th place - Anqurrus Harris
400m run – 5th place - Tre King
1600m relay – 3rd place - Dre Dillard, James Neal, Alan Garcia, Tre King
Shot put – 6th place – T.J. Williams
Pole Vault – 4th place – Robert Mooney; 6th place – Kobe Dixon
Triple Jump – 4th place - Jaylen Henderson
Long Jump – 3rd place - Anqurrus Harris; 4th place - Zakedrian Gaston
The Liberty-Eylau Lady Leopards scored 7 runs in the third inning on their way to a 13-2, 5-inning decision over the Paris Lady Cats in District 13-3A softball Wednesday at Paris Junior High Lady Cat Field.
The Lady Cats, 0-7 in district, host the Atlanta Lady Rabbits Friday at PJHS. First pitch is 6 p.m.
L-E took a 2-0 lead in the Lady Leopards’ first at-bat when a walk, base hit, outfield error, and a groundout netted the game’s first two runs. The 7-run outburst in the third increased the lead to 9-0 before Paris scored its two runs in the bottom of the frame.
Third baseman TayTay Williams became the Lady Cats’ first base runner when she drew a walk. Leadoff hitter BB Johnson drove Williams in with a triple, then scored on Alaka Walters RBI single.
The Lady Cats kept the Lady Leopards off the board in the fourth inning, but L-E scored 4 more runs in the top of the fifth to invoke the 10-run rule.
Ten days ago, the Paris Wildcats were stuck at the bottom of the District 13-3A baseball chase with fans wondering if this would be the year for the unthinkable: A winless district campaign for the perennial playoff contenders. Two games later, they’re still stuck in last place, but now they’ve got some company and the top rung of the district ladder is suddenly in sight.
Tuesday’s 10-4 decision at Hub Hollis Field over Liberty-Eylau, coming on the heels of Friday’s 6-1 win over previously unbeaten North Lamar, raised the Cats’ district mark to 2-3 at the midpoint of the title chase. Pleasant Grove edged NL, 5-4, Tuesday to pull into a 3-way tie at the top with the Panthers and Atlanta Rabbits, who beat Pittsburg, 6-5. All three schools are 3-2, while Paris, L-E, and Pitt are just a game behind at 2-3.
The race could get even tighter after Friday’s action. Paris, now 12-9-1 for the season, hosts Atlanta, while L-E visits PG, and NL travels to Pitt. Wins by Paris, L-E, and Pitt Friday would create an incredible 6-way tie down the homestretch.
“I like our attitude,” Paris coach Bill Sikes said. “The guys didn’t get down (after starting district 0-3). We’ve had some great practices the past couple of weeks, and they’ve responded and done everything we’ve asked them to do.”
The Cats pounded out 13 hits Tuesday against a trio of L-E pitchers. Meanwhile, starting pitcher Kaden Callihan ran into problems in the third inning when the Leopards scored all four of their runs to take a temporary 4-2 lead. Sikes brought in his nephew, freshman Phillip Sikes (2-2), who pitched the final 3⅔ innings.
“We hit the ball extremely hard,” Sikes said. “Kaden got us off to a good start, then our bullpen shut them down.”
Paris scored single runs in the first and second innings off RBI singles by Jake Clark and Sikes to take a 2-0 lead, but Callihan walked the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters to start the L-E third. The first Leopard run scored on a sacrifice fly before designated hitter Javon Rigsby unloaded a 2-run homer over the leftfield wall to give L-E a 3-2 lead.
Rashaan Donelson then blasted a double to the left-centerfield gap and scored from second on a wild pitch to pad the lead to 4-2. When Callihan walked the No. 8 hitter again with 1 out in the fourth, Sikes was summoned to the mound from his rightfield post. He got the second out on a sacrifice bunt then struck out leadoff hitter Alex Norwood to end the inning.
The Cats tied the game, 4-4, with a pair of runs in their half of the fourth. Drew Helberg started the inning with a leadoff single, and Jack Kraft drew a walk on 4 straight balls. First baseman Philip Nance failed to get a bunt down to advance the runners only to slap a single into centerfield to score Helberg. Kraft alertly scored from first when the centerfielder bobbled the ball.
Paris broke the game open with a 5-run fifth. Clark led off with a double to rightfield and Jordan Williams tripled to right-center. Kraft drove in Williams with a hard single off the second baseman’s glove. An infield single by Nance and a passed ball put runners at the corners with 1 out when Jonathan Nichols‘ popup to shallow right-centerfield dropped between 4 L-E fielders and scored Kraft.
That made it a 7-4 game, and Sikes delivered the coup de grace with a 2-run triple to right-center and a commanding 9-4 lead. Williams produced the final run in the sixth on an infield single.
Meanwhile, Sikes was outstanding in relief. He retired 7 straight batters before giving up a hit and walk with 2 outs in the sixth. He got a called third strike to end the inning and finished with a 1-2-3 seventh. He allowed just the 1 hit and 1 walk to go with 8 strikeouts.
Offensively, Sikes went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI. The big gun was junior cleanoff hitter Williams who was 3 for 4 with 2 RBI. Nance broke out of a prolonged slump with a 3 for 3 showing and 1 RBI. Clark was 2 for 3 with an RBI.