Lady Tigers off to perfect start

By Clay Bess
Posted 3/20/23

Despite freezing temperatures, Paris Tigers softball team refused hibernate another day, dominating the Tri-County Lady Titans 17-0 in Hume on Tuesday, March 14. Paris’ performance at the plate …

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Lady Tigers off to perfect start


Despite freezing temperatures, Paris Tigers softball team refused hibernate another day, dominating the Tri-County Lady Titans 17-0 in Hume on Tuesday, March 14. Paris’ performance at the plate matched a near-perfect outing from sophomore pitcher Peighton Smith.


Paris 17, Tri-County 0

After the first two Tigers were retired by Tri-County’s Kaitlyn Brandenburg, Caradan Hoffman started her senior season with a bang. A line drive that never climbed higher than the backstop skipped across the top of the center field fence for a home run and a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom half, Peighton Smith was already in mid-season form. The first Titan reached on an error — a roller to first baseman Zoe Sanders that had the Lady Tiger defense out of sorts and scrambling.

After the error, Smith was perfect. Sanders fielded the next grounder and recorded the out unassisted. Smith would strike out the next eight batters she faced and only needed 42 pitches to throw three no-hit, no-walk innings.

Paris’ offense gave their pitcher a huge cushion in the second inning. Emma Kemper walked to begin the merry-go-round, stealing second  a few pitches later.

Sanders advanced Kemper on a sacrifice, then headed to second after Tri-County was unable to field the bunt cleanly.

Sophomore Hailey Yantis took the second pitch she saw and drove in both runners. Kensley Cox followed with a double before Kaitlyn Coombes squeezed home Cox.

Jayden Bishop hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Freshman Kilee Edwards. Hoffman and Becca Minor hit back-to-back singles. After Bella Moreschi replaced Minor as a courtesy runner, she and Hoffman on Kemper’s single to right.

The Tigers hit around again in the third. Yantis doubled down the left-field line.

Cox doubled and scored Yantis, then scored herself on a passed ball. Coombes singled and advanced to third on Bishop’s groundout.

Coombes crossed the plate to score during the next at-bat as Hoffman reached on an error. Minor then singled, Kemper tripled ito score two more runs and Sanders drove in her fellow senior. Yantis added another hit and RBI followed by Cox and Edwards who each picked up hits before the inning ended.

Edwards’ double was her first high school hit and her first two RBIs.

The new IHSA rule ended the game after three innings because of the 17-run lead. Paris moved to 1-0 after the thumping.


Paris 6, Okaw Valley 4

The cliches were closing in on the Paris softball team in game number two. It was a trap game against a weaker Okaw Valley squad with a showdown against Teutopolis looming.

The lessons learned from a loss might have been worth a defeat. But this year’s Tiger team, after allowing the visiting Timberwolves to score four in the third inning, never wavered.

The vibes stayed positive and the results followed suit. Scoring four runs themselves over the final three frames, Paris moved to 2-0 on the young season, winning their first home contest of the year 6-4.

Sophomore Peighton Smith again went the distance for the Tigers and only faced significant pressure in the 3rd inning when Okaw Valley capitalized on a few communication miscues by Paris. A squeeze bunt that the Tigers initially played well ended with a Timberwolf run and all other runners staying on the bases.

Two straight floaters landed in the shallow outfield, scoring two more. The fourth run scored on a ball hit towards the hole between third and short — Jayden Bishop dove to keep the ball on the infield.

A walk would load the bases, but Smith struck out the next batter and induced a ground ball to end the inning.

Another inning passed before the Tiger offense began to chip away at the deficit.

Hailey Yantis grounded into a fielder’s choice but picked up an RBI as Emma Kemper crossed home.

Then in the fifth, Bishop singled on a rocket to left, then moved to third after stealing second and advancing on an error. Becca Minor grounded out in the next at-bat, scoring Bishop.

Paris’ fifth run scored when Emma Kemper and Zoe Sanders confused the defense while on the bases, Sanders getting in a run down while Kemper scored before the third out was recorded.

The Tigers added an insurance run in the sixth when Kaitlyn Coombes doubled to left, scoring Kensley Cox. Smith sat Okaw Valley down in order, recording strikeout number 12 in the seventh to complete the comeback.

Paris softball is in action Tuesday, March 21 in Danville, in Bismarck on March 22, home against Oblong on March 23, in Cumberland March 24, and at home on Saturday, March 25 for a doubleheader; one against Westville and the other a non-conference matchup with Robinson.