A season of ups and downs, competing against the blended 3A-4A schedule often had the Paris High School Lady Eagles looking for an identity.
During the regular season, inconsistent defense often overshadowed a team still searching for it’s identity. As the season progressed, so did the Lady Eagles. In the district tournament, they pulled the upset win to advance to regionals where they knocked off a top seed to secure a slot in the State Tournament.
The State Tournament was again sending the team on a lengthy bus ride north, this time to Harrison where they would face another top seed in Smackover. The Lady Eagles were not expected to give much resistance to the top seed, but that would not be the way this game would unfold.
In the first inning, Smackover scored an unearned run after a runner reached on an error and was advanced on a steal and then a passed ball. An infield ground ball to third allowed the run to score, and the Lady Eagles escaped without giving up a hit in the first inning.
Down 0-1, the Lady Eagles would work to get runners in position to score as they prepared for a defensive battle. The Lady Eagles would only muster three hits on the day, but when the game concluded, they would out hit Smackover. Paris committed three errors on the day, only allowing the one run that scored in the first inning while Smackover would commit two errors of their own.
However, the Lady Eagles could not convert against possibly the toughest defense they faced all season. In the end, Paris would fall to Smackover 1-0 on the lone unearned run in the first inning while Sydney Ward pitched a no-hitter against the top seed.
The Lady Eagles turned a turbulent season into a highly contested State Tournament appearance, falling just short of knocking off a top seed.
Head Coach Amy Walden praised her team for their development and stated that Smackover played “unbelievably solid” defense. The Lady Eagles final record looks lopsided at 6-15, but they found a way to grow as a team throughout the season and win clutch games while advancing to the second ever State Tournament appearance.
With a core of young players returning, look for the Lady Eagles to make strides and continue their clutch play in years to come.