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The Paris Wildcats quelled a last-inning rally by the Durant, OK, Lions Monday to close out the pre-district schedule with a 5-4 win across the Red River. Paris, now 10-6-1 for the season, opens District 13-3A play Friday with the long trip to Atlanta.
The Cats took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Lions loaded the bases with 1 out against lefthander Drew Helberg. Sophomore Philip Nance replaced Helberg on the mound and surrendered an RBI single before getting the second out of the frame on a strikeout. Durant then closed the lead to 5-4 on a 2-run single before Nance got the final out on a grounder to second baseman Conor Henry.
Paris head coach Bill Sikes used the game to get some work for his pitching staff. Junior Kaden Callihan, expected to be the Cats’ No. 2 pitcher during district action, pitched the first inning and allowed a run on 1 hit, a walk, and a strikeout. Freshman Phillip Sikes (1-2) got the win after pitching 2 innings and giving up 0 runs, 2 hits, a walk, with 6 strikeouts. Helberg then threw the next 3 1/3 and was charged with 3 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts.
The Cats scored 3 runs in the third and added 2 more in the fourth to take control of the game. With 1 out in the fourth, first baseman Nance reached base on an error. Senior Jonathan Nichols walked, and senior Jack Kraft belted an RBI double to score Nance. After a walk to Helberg, junior Casey Reavis then drove in a pair of runs on a double to give Paris a 3-1 lead.
It became a 5-1 lead after the fourth when junior Jordan Williams collected an RBI single and Nance followed with an RBI double. The Cats missed a golden opportunity to add to their lead when they loaded the bases with 1 out in the sixth, but a popup and strikeout ended the threat.
Senior Jake Clark, a West Point signee, is expected to get the start Friday at Atlanta (9-4).
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