Baseball in limbo for now

By Jeff Chambers prairiepresssports@gmail.com
Posted 3/16/20

For the first time in the last six seasons, the Paris Tigers’ baseball team failed to reach the 20-win plateau.

They did record 19 victories in a season that saw them lose nine starters …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail or username
Password
Log in

Baseball in limbo for now

Posted

For the first time in the last six seasons, the Paris Tigers’ baseball team failed to reach the 20-win plateau.

They did record 19 victories in a season that saw them lose nine starters from the previous year.

Any program that loses that many players is bound to have a drop off, but many around the conference and the area thought that the drop off would be more pronounced. The fact that the Tigers threatened the 20-win mark is a testament to the program Coach Creighton Tarr has built in his 12 seasons aas the Tiger skipper..

The graduation of just three seniors from last year’s team means that Tarr has plenty of experience returning.

What is more important is that those who are returning are players who can play multiple positions if needed.

“Defensively, we have a lot of versatile guys,” Tarr said. “It helps your team out when guys can play multiple positions, and are willing to play them for the betterment of the team.”

One thing that never changes is the fact that Tarr wants his team playing better in May than in March.

“Our goal is always going to be to keep improving as the season goes on,” Tarr explained. “With several guys back from last year’s group, I hope we can continue to improve and keep taking steps forward.”

As always, the success of a baseball team depends on pitching and defense. With many options at each position defensively, the key to winning games will fall squarely on the pitching staff.

“We certainly have a lot of pitching depth,” said Tarr. “The question we still need to figure out is who is going to be the guy on the mound when the games matter most. Our coaching staff is keeping an eye out in practices for guys that are willing to compete both mentally and physically.”

Offensively, the Tiger lineup will be long and full of athletes.

“We have a pretty good idea on who is going to be in our lineup,” he noted. “We like guys that can hit and guys that can run. The more athletic our lineup is, the more pressure we are able to put on the opposing team.”

A pair of first team All-Little Illini Conference players — Jude Sullivan and Brock Minor — will anchor the top of the lineup.

Setting the table at the top will be junior centerfielder Mason Hutchings who earned honorable mention LIC honors last season.

The power bat of JT Johnson will also be in the mix in the middle of the lineup. Sprinkle in returning starters Garrett King at shortstop, Karson Martin and Zach Farnham in

outfield, sophomores Drew Pinkston and third and Bryan Kohlmeyer behind the plate and it’s easy to see that the Tigers will be strong offensively. Utility players such as Reese Wagoner, Blayne Roberts, and Mitchell Worrell will be called upon often to both pitch and play the field as needed.

Fortunately for the Tigers, they have been able to practice outside several times over the last two weeks in preparation for opening day later this week.

With the Coronavirus playing havoc with sports throughout the country, high school baseball has also suffered. Opening day was originally scheduled for Monday against Salt Fork, but they have postponed all sports until later in the Spring. The tentative first game was scheduled for Friday as the Tigers host Arcola but that has not been cancelled after Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all state public schools closed.