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It was such a beautiful day for a baseball game that the action between the foul lines couldn’t possibly match the weather, and it didn’t. Still, the Paris Wildcats slugged out a 7-2 win over the Hugo Buffaloes Monday in the Cats’ home opener at Hub Hollis Field.
Perhaps the lethargy could be expected for a Spring Break game. “It seems to happen every year during Spring Break,” Paris head coach Bill Sikes said. “There just didn’t seem to be much energy on the field or in the stands.”
Fortunately, for Paris, the offense pounded out 12 hits to take control of the game early. The Buffaloes, meanwhile, had their chances with base runners, but the Cats escaped serious trouble by leaving the bases loaded in the third and seventh innings.
Junior lefthander Drew Helberg pitched the first 5 innings to improve his pitching record to 2-0, and junior Jordan Williams finished up on the mound for the last 2 innings.
Williams, the Cats’ regular third baseman and cleanup hitter, continued his recent hot bat with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate, including the key hit of the game. Hugo had just scored their two runs in the top of the inning to cut the Paris lead in half, 4-2, when Williams drove in a pair of runs with a single to rightfield. He then stole second and was driven in by a 2-out, Jonathan Nichols single.
Hugo managed to load the bases in the seventh on two hit batters and a Cat error, but a Williams strikeout ended the game.
Senior designated hitter Jack Kraft also went 3-for-4, while Nichols, the senior leftfielder, had a pair of hits. He got the 3-run second inning started with a 1-out single, then stole second and was driven in by a Helberg single. A hit batter and a pair of Hugo errors tacked on two more runs.
Paris extended the lead to 4-0 on an unearned run in the third, but the Buffs escaped further damage on a bases-loaded double play. Hugo also turned a double play to end the first inning.
The Cats (8-5-1) are scheduled to return to the diamond Thursday by hosted state-ranked Hallsville at Hub Hollis. Officials will attempt to start the game at 4:30, but PJC is also scheduled to play a 1 p.m. game earlier that day.
In the meantime, a cold front is expected to drop temperatures by 10-15 degrees. Sikes hopes his team’s Spring Fever breaks by then.
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