We are the champions
The Paris Tigers clinched their first Little Illini Conference title in any boys sport Monday night as they blanked the Lawrenceville Indians, 10-0.
After spending decades in the Apollo Conference, the Tigers joined the LIC three seasons ago. They wasted little time in putting their names in the record books of their new conference. The last conference title in baseball came back in 1991 in the Apollo Conference.
Head coach Creighton Tarr was ecstatic with his team’s performance.
“It was great to win it outright, here at Laker Stadium,” said Tarr, who was soaked by his team after the game in celebration. “We have been looking forward to this game for a week.”
Paris grabbed the lead in the home half of the second as Zach Burger doubled over the head of the Indians leftfielder. Reese Sutton singled to left for the first run of the game. Zach Wandrey reached on a bunt and Reese Sutton came in to score on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Austin O’Neal.
The Tigers put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fourth inning plating six huge runs.
The first five Tiger batters reached base either by a walk, hit or an error. The first run scored on a bases-loaded walk to Chris Johnson. Brady Sutton then drove in a pair as he singled off the glove of the first baseman. Another pair of runs scored on an error by the Indians shortstop to make the score 8-0.
Brody Spencer ended the game via the 10-run rule with a single to left field, and the celebrating began.
Zach Wandrey earned the victory for the Tigers as he threw four dominant innings, allowing just one hit, one hit batsmen, striking out four. Johnson pitched a perfect fifth inning and struck out a pair.
Reese Sutton had a double and a pair of singles to lead the Tigers in hitting. His brother Brady, had a double and a single and a pair of RBIs. Burger and Johnson had a double and a run batted in each. O’Neal, Wandrey, and Potter added a single apiece.
As has been the case for much of the season, the pitching was dominant once again. The shutout was the 10th of the year for the Tiger pitching staff.
“The pitching was outstanding again tonight, and once our bats got going, we were able to pull away,” said Tarr. “It was a great win for our team.”
Paris 11, Flora 3
With a perfect conference record on the line Wednesday for Senior Night, the Paris Tigers pulled away from the Flora Wolves winning by the score of 11-3.
The win was the 25th of the season for the team, who finish the conference portion of their season with a stellar 8-0 mark.
While the perfect record was a huge accomplishment, Paris Head Coach Creighton Tarr sees the bigger picture near the end of the regular season.
“I feel like Nicholson (Flora starting pitcher, Trevor Nicholson) is one of the best arms in the league,” Tarr observed. “He gave us fits last year at their place, so it was really satisfying to get to him with the big inning late in the game.”
Facing — and succeeding against good pitching — will be the key for the Tigers heading into regionals.
“These are the types of games that will get us ready for next week,” added Tarr. “They are one of the top seeds in their sub-sectional complex, so it’s good to get a win against them.”
A huge inning was more like it as the Tigers broke a 3-3 tie with six runs in the fifth. As many big innings begin, Chris Johnson led off with a walk. Brady Sutton then reached on an error by the Flora first baseman. Both Tigers came in to score on a bases-clearing triple by Austin Littleton. Bo Minor then walked to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Another error by the first baseman brought Littleton home with the sixth Tiger run. With two outs and two on, Zach Wandrey smashed the second triple of the inning to bring home another pair of runs. He scored on an error by the shortstop. When the dust had settled, Paris led 9-3.
Just for good measure, Paris scored two runs more in the sixth. Brady Sutton led off with a double followed by a Bo Minor walk. TJ Potter singled to load the bases with just one out. Zach Burger drove in Sutton with a single to center. Reese Sutton hit a sacrifice fly to give the Tigers their 11th and final run.
Besides his huge triple, Littleton also singled and drove in four runs. Wandrey drove in a pair of runs with his triple. Johnson had a pair of singles while Brady Sutton had a double and scored three times. Potter and Burger each had a base hit, with Burger also driving in a pair of runs.
Johnson went four-and-two-thirds of an inning, allowing three earned runs on eight hits. He hit a batter and also walked one. Raven Thompson came in and finished the contest. He didn’t allow a run while walking three and striking out two.
Northview 5, Paris 2
BRAZIL, Ind. — With post-season action set to kick off next week, the Paris Tigers added a game against the Northview Knights Thursday losing against the tough team from Clay County team 5-2.
With the setback, the Tigers record now stands at 25-4 on the season. But a game like this — at this point in the season — can do nothing but make the Tigers even more prepared for regionals.
Paris Coach Creighton Tarr knows this and was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We added this game because we wanted to go on the road, and play one of the best teams around,” he explained. “Our kids competed at a high level, but came up just short.”
As is the case in any sport, the old adage “it’s a game of inches” was never more evident than it was on Thursday night.
“Brady (Sutton) came within an inch from a miraculous catch in centerfield to get us out of the inning, and then the next kid sneaks a double about an inch inside the right field line for a double,” Tarr said.
Always the optimist, Tarr emphasized, “We came up on the short end, but our guys showed up and played good ball.”
Facing a college-bound pitcher for the second consecutive day, the Tiger bats never really got going as they have done the majority of the season. Paris could only muster four hits, while striking out a season-high nine times.
Northview scored five times in the bottom of the fourth inning and all five runs came with two outs. Paris would make things interesting in the top of the seventh as Zach Wandrey was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Austin O’Neal then doubled down the right field line on a ball that landed on the foul line. A walk to Chris Johnson loaded the bases with nobody out. Wandrey scored on a wild pitch. O’Neal then scored on a RBI groundout by Austin Littleton.
Littleton had a pair of singles in the game, along with a RBI. Potter and O’Neal each added a double to round out the Tiger hitting.
O’Neal drew the start for Paris, and deserved a much better fate. He allowed five runs, four earned, but four of those scored with two outs. He gave up four hits and walked three batters. Wandrey pitched the final 2.1 innings and didn’t allow a hit or a run. He hit a batter, walked a batter and struck out one.
Never one to shy away from competition, coach Tarr feels like a game like this will make his team better come playoff time.
“Their pitcher was tough. He gave us trouble all night. I’m a believer in going out and playing high-level teams late in the year to make you better. It’s going to be the same type of game Monday at T-Town.”