Tigers take first LIC win
FLORA — Mother Nature provided just enough of a break for the Paris Tigers baseball team to open the Little Illini Conference season with a 14-3 drubbing of the Flora Wolves.
With the victory, the Tiger record now stands at a perfect 9-0 overall and 1-0 in the LIC. The Tigers currently have the most wins of any undefeated team in IHSA Class 3A, and trail only Jones High School currently 10-2.
Wasting little time in getting on the scoreboard is nothing new for the Tigers, but Thursday, April 5, was just a little different. Austin Littleton sent the first pitch of the game to the fence in left field for a leadoff double, and Zach Burger followed suit just five pitches later to give Paris the 1-0 lead. TJ Potter pounded the first pitch he saw past the Flora third baseman to put runners at the corners, and Reese Sutton crushed the first pitch to him over the left field fence.
With nobody out, Brock Minor drew a walk, Austin O’Neal doubled and Brody Spencer grounded out to the mound. Minor was cut down at the plate, but O’Neal scampered all the way to third on the play. JB Eslinger brought him home on a fielder’s choice to make the score 5-0.
In the second inning, Spencer came through with a two-out single to score Sutton, who had reached on a walk.
Flora looked to dodge a bullet in the third, but a two-out single by Burger, and a two-run home run from Potter gave the Tigers a commanding 8-1 lead.
O’Neal reached on his second hit of the day, and advanced to third on a double down the line from Spencer. Caleb Gates hit a sacrifice fly to bring O’Neal home with the ninth run of the game.
The Tigers exploded for five more runs in their half of the sixth inning as Matt Stetler was hit by the first pitch. Spencer beat out a bunt to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Raven Thompson walked to load the bases, and Littleton brought home a pair with a single to left. Consecutive walks to Burger and Sutton brought home run number 12 for Paris, and Minor singled in the 13th run for the Tigers.
Spencer led the hitting attack for the Tigers with a double and a pair of singles to go along with an RBI. Littleton, O’Neal and Burger each had a double and a single, with Littleton driving in a pair, and Burger bringing one home. Potter added a single to go along with his two-run shot, and Sutton drove in four with his home run. Minor added a pair of singles and a pair of RBIs to round out the 14-hit parade for the Tigers.
O’Neal started on the mound for Paris and went 2.1 innings. He allowed one earned run on three hits and struck out four batters. Gates went the next 1.2 innings allowing an unearned run on a pair of hits while striking out one. Minor finished the contest allowing just one hit, one walk and a pair of strikeouts.
A winter-like spring forced cancelation of the West Vigo Classic today. The Tigers return to action Wednesday, (April 11) as they host Riverton-Parke at 4:30 p.m. Thursday (April 12) the Olney Tigers come to town for a key LIC matchup at 4:30 p.m. and one week from today, April 21, North Central at Farmersburg, Ind., is in town for a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m.
Tigers sweep Maroons
Following an eight day layoff due to Mother Nature, the Paris Tiger baseball team swept a pair of games from the Robinson Maroons Saturday (March 31).
The Tigers dominated the opener, winning by the score of 11-1. However, the nightcap was a different story as the Tigers had to come from behind to claim the 6-5 victory. With the pair of wins, the Tigers’ record improves to 8-0.
Paris pounded out 11 hits in the opener, and benefitted from five walks and three hit batsmen from the Robinson pitching corp. The Tigers scored three runs in each of the first two innings, added four in the fourth, and another run in the fifth to win via the 10-run rule.
Brock Minor continued his torrid start to the season as he was two-for-two with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. TJ Potter had a double and two singles, and he drove in a pair of runs. Austin Littleton had a double, single and a pair of RBIs. Brody Spencer added two singles and two RBIs. Austin O’Neal plated a pair of runs with a single and a sacrifice fly, and Jude Sullivan added a hit.
O’Neal was dominate on the mound as he went the distance to pick up his third win of the season. He allowed one run on just three hits, walked three and struck out three.
The second game was tension filled, as the Tigers trailed 5-2 heading into the home half of the sixth inning. Raven Thompson and Austin Littleton led that inning off with a pair of infield singles. Zach Burger smacked a line drive double down the left field line, bringing Thompson home.
Potter followed suit as he doubled into the left centerfield gap, tying the game at five apiece. Following a fielder’s choice, Brody Spencer delivered the go-ahead run with a single to left field that scored Potter.
Littleton had a double and a single to lead the way for the Tigers. JB Eslinger added a pair of singles. Potter and Burger each had a double, with Potter driving in a pair of runs and Burger plating one. Spencer drove in a pair of runs with a single and an RBI groundout. Reese Sutton and Thompson added a single each.
Caleb Gates started on the mound for the Tigers and allowed just one unearned run. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out one. Thompson pitched the final four innings and was credited with his third win of the year. He allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits, walked two and struck out three.