Now that the Paris varsity softball team is finding ways to take the lessons it learned last year and apply them on the field this season, the teams outcome is much brighter than it used to be.
On Saturday truer words were never spoken as the Lady Coyotes sported leads of 7-0 in the first inning and 9-1 in the second to best their hosts 10-3 at the North Shelby Tournament.
"It was a great start to the North Shelby tournament. The girls came out with the determination to not let us beat ourselves," said coach Mike Fible. "Defensively we were able to make every play, and keep North Shelby from putting together a big inning. Offensively we were able to adjust early and put the pressure on North Shelby during the first inning. Our ability to hit strikes hard, and leave the pitches outside the zone allowed us to experience lots of success early against North Shelby."
Even though Paris did draw 11 walks for this game, it only had four hits. This included Mollie Cupp going 2-for-4 with three RBI, a run and one triple, Jessie Hoffman was 1-for-2 with one RBI and Danielle Anderson was good for a hit, two runs and one RBI in one at-bat. Erin Heinicke and Mary Stahlschmidt also came through with one RBI and a run each, Alexis Hartgrove had two RBI and Elizabeth Cupp posted one RBI.
"Danielle Anderson made every play defensively. She had several tough plays to make but always seemed to come up with the play. She has been working hard for a while now on fundamentals it was nice to see everything come together for her," Fible said. "Mollie and Elizabeth Cupp made for a dynamic duo during the tournament. Elizabeth was able to get on in front of her older sister Mollie and Mollie drove her in consistently all day."
As for the pitching duties for the Lady Coyotes, those fell to Emma Addie, who allowed one earned run on three hits in four innings. Delany Miller also gave up two earned runs on a hit and two walks in one inning.
"Emma pitched all but one inning during the tournament. She was able to surrender only three walks and kept us in every game," said Fible. "Delaney Miller made the move to center field this season. She has came along way since the move. Delaney changed the game multiple times with her speed in center running down line drives that normally would go for extra bases. This was the type of tournament that could change our season. We look forward to building off the confidence gained."
The second contest Paris played against Mark Twain went just as well and started with a 4-3 lead in the third before making it a seven-run game in the fourth on the way to winning 10-4. This time around the Lady Coyotes charted 10 hits and were led by Hannah Mitchell at 2-for-2 with two RBI and a double, Elizabeth Cupp went 2-for-4 with a run and Miller was 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Anderson also came through to the tune of 1-for-2 with three RBI and one run and Stahlschmidt scored twice.
"Hannah Mitchell took the ACT the morning of the tournament. After arriving Hannah changed the game, immediately adding three RBI in the Mark Twain game. Hannah was also able to shut down the running game of Mark Twain after entering into the game," Fible said. "Mary Stahlschmidt and Erin Heinicke supplied the pressure. The stat lines for Mary and Erin doesn't show the respect they earned during the tournament, but every big inning these two were right in the middle of it."
Throwing five innings for Paris and allowing four earned runs on 14 hits and one walk was Addie.
Eventually, all good things must come to an end, though, making the Lady Coyotes 9-0 loss to Scotland County more of a reminder of what lies ahead than a black mark on an otherwise bright day for the program. Taking the loss was Addie because she gave up nine runs, five earned, on nine hits and a walk with one strikeout in six innings pitched. Stahlschmidt also accounted for two of Paris' three hits for the game and Miller was 1-for-3.
"We played extremely well as a team during the entire tournament. The girls knew coming into the tournament that if they were able to play clean competitive softball that we would put ourselves in a situation for a championship," Fible said. "It has been a long time coming for most of the girls on the team to compete at such a level, as many of the them are two and three year starters and have not had the chance yet in their career. I cannot be more proud of my softball team, and how we played."