BROOKHAVEN, Miss. —  The Paris All-Stars 9U baseball team already made history reaching the Dixie Youth Invitational World Series in Brookhaven, Mississippi, with its incredible run through the regional tournament held in Texarkana earlier this month. However, the young All-Stars squad was not satisfied as the team added a world series championship to its already impressive resume.

“We worked meticulously on our hitting and our situational plays in each of the three-hour practices,” All-Stars head baseball coach Troy Scholl said. “These kids performed extremely well at the plate, along with executing the situational plays in critical times to perfection. This team played with heart and integrity and had absolutely no quit in themselves. We are super proud of their accomplishments by bringing the 9U Invitational World Series trophy and banner back to Paris, Texas.”

The All-Stars, who faced a seven-game slate of tough opponents from teams in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma, lost just once in its opener against Oakdale by a final score of 7-5. From there, the Paris squad got into gear and started to roll.

Paris’ first game saw difficulty with consistent pitching as Scholl said finding what seemed to be an airtight strike zone was challenging at times, which resulted in 10 walked batters and three batters taking a free bag after being hit by a pitch. The first game, which ended up lasting just three innings until time expired, tested the All-Stars’ nerves. Oakdale scored 4 runs mostly due to walks, but the All-Stars battled back to tie the game at 4-all in the second inning, highlighted by an inside-the-park home run from Ryder Moree. He hit a deep fly ball to left field that helped ignite Paris’ offense. However, despite a key RBI single in the third from Kai Furtch and an RBI single from Logan Scholl, the All-Stars couldn’t quite catch Oakdale in the 2-run loss.

From there, it was Paris’ tournament.

The second game of pool play pitted Paris against Lincoln County, Mississippi. The opposition scored the first 2 runs of the game, but Paris responded with 9 unanswered runs to close the deal. Along with the potent offensive performance, Noah Williams and Pierce Keenum were stellar on the mound. Williams pitched the majority of the game, while Keenum closed the door on any chance of a Lincoln County, Mississippi, come back.

After a split in the first two pool play games Friday, the All-Stars took the field again Saturday. In the first matchup, Paris edged Pike County, Mississippi, in a 3-2 thriller. The game was scoreless until Paris lit the scoreboard up first with a two-run second inning. Furtch scored on a wild pitch after reaching base, then stealing second and third. Later in the frame, Kallon Callaghan crossed home plate on an RBI groundout courtesy of Keenum. Pike County answered with 2 runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double to left field.

However, Furtch drew a walk and made his way back to third base after a passed ball and a steal. The bases were eventually loaded, but no runs were added to the board as a double from Kallon Gallaghan and a single from Logan Scholl couldn’t send Furtch across home plate. Then, Keenum stepped to the plate and delivered the walk-off hit to end the game for the All-Stars. He drove a pitch to right field as his RBI single gave Paris the 3-2 victory. Aiden Curtis pitched strong in the outing as he went 2.2 innings, while Luke Nutt threw the final 1.2 innings.

After that, Paris faced its next opponent hailing from Ponchatoula, Louisiana. The drama and tension were not as prominent in this affair as the All-Stars went on to cruise to a 14-3 victory. Luke Nutt navigated the bases beautifully early on while taking advantage of the opponent’s errors to score the first run of the game. From there, the All-Stars pitching, defense and hot bats took over. Paris scored 3 runs in the second and third innings, then exploded for a 7-run outburst in the fourth inning to put the game well out of reach. Gallaghan started off the second inning with a single, then was plated from Logan Scholl’s RBI double. Keen followed with a single to score Scholl, and after Williams drew a walk, Gunner Termin cranked a double to deep left field to score Williams. Moree, Furtch and Curtis combined to limit the Ponchatoula, Louisiana, squad to 3 runs with a stellar performance on the mound. Curtis ended the game with three consecutive strikeouts.

In the All-Stars fifth game, Laurel Red, Mississippi, was the next opponent. Both teams came out playing strong on the mound and defensively, but a rain delay halted the action for an hour. However, Paris was able to regroup, and Ky Fortner delivered an RBI single, plating Averi Curtis in the bottom of the third to break the 1-1 tie. Aiden Curtis pitched well in the first 2.1 innings of play, allowing just 1 run in the second inning.

Following the 2-1 win, Paris played against Hudson, who previously defeated the All-Stars 4-2 in the regional tournament in Texarkana earlier in the month. However, Paris had a plan and performed. The All-Stars executed a solid small-ball game early on to produce runs. Luke Nutt led the game of with a single, then was moved to second on a single from Aiden Curtis. After that, Furtch drove Nutt across home plate with an RBI double to give Paris the early 1-0 lead. Then, Callaghan hit a single that scored Aiden Curtis, and Logan Scholl plated Furtch on the next at bat with an RBI single. On that same hit, Gallaghan advanced to third base, and he eventually scored on a passed ball that gave Paris a quick 4-0 lead. Hudson eventually cut the deficit to 4-3 after two innings of play, but the All-Stars bounced back with a 4-run third inning, highlighted by Furtch stealing home plate on a passed ball. Hudson trimmed the deficit to 8-5 after scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the third. Furtch pitched well through the early innings of the game, then Logan Scholl closed the deal on the mound in the final two innings, which included 4 strikeouts and several key defensive plays across the board. With the victory, Paris marched on to the championship game.

The All-Stars battled against Pike County, Mississippi, once again, but this time for all the marbles. Nutt pitched what Coach Scholl deemed, “an amazing game.” The pitching was solid on both sides after one inning of play, but Nutt pushed ahead in the pitchers duel from that point on. Logan Scholl opened up the offensive action with a single in the second inning, advanced to second after a single from Keenum and Termin followed that with a well-executed bunt to load the bases. Paris only got a single run out of the favorable situation, and Pike County tallied 2 runs in return to take the lead. Paris scrapped for a run, scored by Aiden Curtis, but found itself in a tough position. Where some teams would lay down, Paris elevated its game to another level.

The All-Stars blew the game wide open in the fourth inning, turning a 2-2 tie into a 7-2 lead after a 5-run explosion. An RBI single from Averi Curtis scored Noah Williams, who drew a walk to open the frame, and Moree, who reached base on a hit by pitch following Williams’ walk, advanced to third. Then, Aiden Curtis took a free bag after getting hit by a pitch, and the next Paris batter made Pike County pay. Ky Fortner launched a deep fly ball to the outfield to score both runners. His RBI double gave his team energy and a 5-2 lead. Later in the frame, Furtch recorded an RBI double to extend the lead to 7-2.

Paris held Pike County without a run in the top of the fifth, then added 5 more runs to its total coextend the lead to 12-2, which was the final score via run rule.

The All-Stars raised the trophy and became the first 9U baseball team in Paris’ history to accomplish this feat. Each player on the roster pitched at some point during the team’s impressive 6-1 run through the tournament, and each player recorded at least 1 strikeout.

The All-Stars were led by head coach Troy Scholl, who was assisted by Macky Moree and Beau Gallaghan. The championship players are Aiden Curtis, Averi Curtis, Ky Fortner, Kai Furtch, Kallon Gallaghan, Pierce Keenum, Ryder Moree, Luke Nutt, Logan Scholl, Gunner Termin and Noah Williams.

Geoff Heppes is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6967 or at geoff.heppes@theparisnews.com.

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