Ashley Johnston

Ashley Johnston

Paris Lady Dragons, meet your newest fans: the Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals.

Paris’ 5-4 extra innings win over Northeast Texas on Thursday allowed TVCC to qualify for the Region XIV Tournament for the first time in school history.

The program has been sanctioned by the NJCAA for two seasons.

“I’m just so grateful,” TVCC Head Coach Ashley Johnston said. “My girls won the games that really mattered (against NTCC and Bossier Parish) to put us in this great situation. Being a second-year program, it’s great to know all my hard work recruiting and all the hard work my girls put in day in and day out paid off.”

There was plenty of nail-biting before Paris’ win finally clinched a spot for TVCC.

The Lady Cardinals entered this week needing either one win against regular season conference champ Navarro — which was far from a sure thing — or needing Bossier Parish or Northeast Texas to lost just one game.

Instead, Bossier Parish swept two consecutive series — including a pair against Lon Morris earlier this week — and NTCC also swept heading into Thursday’s doubleheader against Paris.

When NTCC took a 4-0 lead over Paris through six innings, it began looking more like TVCC was going to have to gear up to win against a tough Navarro squad.

Then Paris cut the lead to 4-2 and got a two-run homer with two outs in the seventh to tie the game. Paris won the game in the eighth.

TVCC, which split with Paris last week, still has a shot to finish in third place in the standings. However, it heads into today’s Navarro doubleheader in fourth behind Bossier Parish, which sits at 12 conference wins. TVCC is 11-11 and holds a tie-breaker over BPCC.

Johnston said she wishes that her team could get a handful of conference games back — including five losses by one run and two losses by two runs.

Even so, she said her team will enter the season-ending games against Navarro with the mindset of taking third place by getting at least one win.

“I believe any fourth-seeded team is the underdog and I think we will be ready for that pressure,” she said. “But my girls want third place, so we are still going to Corsicana (today) on a mission.”

The Region XIV Tournament will be held May 5-7 in Mount Pleasant.

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