Paris softball team up to challenge year after COVID-19 canceled season

Jamie Varnell
Paris Express

The Paris softball team and coach Donald Hart are ready for the softball season to get in to full swing.

A year ago, they just got off to a solid start and the season was canceled. 

Two years ago, the Lady Eagles ended their season in the state tournament, a goal that is still the focus for this group of athletes. 

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“The team is excited about getting the opportunity to play this season. They have been working hard preparing for the season and came out of the gates ready to compete.” said Hart.

Sophomore Jayden Wells was the only member of the team to play much travel ball due to the restrictions of COVID-19. 

Three seniors return for this Lady Eagle squad, with a total of fifteen athletes on the roster. The anchor for the team is four-year starting pitcher Jadyn Hart.

She will be expected to carry much of the pitching duties this season.

“We have two-time all-state senior Jadyn Hart back in the circle and we are looking for her to give us a chance to win every time out," Donald Hart said. "She has pitched exceptionally well the first two games and we look for her to only continue to improve in the circle for us. 

"Junior Karsyn Tencleve is our backup and has looked good in the last two JV games.” 

Right fielder Cheyenne Moore and first baseman Caiden Haller will also contribute.

Sophomore Rachel O’Neal will be a new face in the lineup. She started playing a year ago and has worked her way to a starting position in left field. “Two freshmen have impressed me so far and earned starting spots on the infield in third baseman Kirsten Shelton and utility infielder Karsen Hart. Both have the potential to be outstanding softball players for the Lady Eagles.” Donald Hart said.

Wells is one of the top sophomores in the state and will bring a well rounded approach, hitting for power and speed on the bases.

“Junior Karsyn Tencleve will bat two-hole this season and play right field. We look for good numbers from her at the plate. She has speed, a good softball IQ, and wants to win. Senior pitcher Jadyn Hart is one of the top pitchers in the state and brings a good bat from both sides of the plate, with speed on the bases.”

When it comes to improved players, Hart is quick to note the improvement of O’Neal and junior Ryleigh Oats, who has put in a lot of work behind the plate since her freshman year.

The conference will have a bit of a different look, with a divided north and south division and conference record only consisting of the teams on your side. Hackett will be a tough matchup and brings back some of the rivalry from volleyball season. Booneville is off to a very strong start and will have the best team they have had in a while.

Cossatot River will be in the southern half of the conference, but will bring a Division 1 college prospect to the pitching circle and will not be one to look past. 

The Lady Eagles are just underway with their season and currently have a 3-2 record, narrowly dropping a game at 7A Ft. Smith Southside.