HAMILTON — Part of the beauty of sports can be found in the numbers. Some statistics are hard to comprehend, regardless of how many times you look at them. Chase Reeves still finds it difficult to believe he owns one of those numbers: Zero. The junior left-hander has allowed 11 runs this season — all unearned.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, players who appear to have an unlimited upside go unnoticed. Devin Malone is one of those players. The West Lowndes High School senior showcased his skills on the court earlier this year as he helped lead the school’s boys basketball team to the Class 1A state tournament in Jackson. Malone hopes to play a similar role with the West Lowndes High’s baseball team.
STARKVILLE — Spring football practice started this week at Starkville High School, but Billy Shed isn’t ready to take that field just yet. As the football team worked out on a nearby field, Shed and fellow members of Starkville’s 4x400-meter relay team were preparing on the track for Saturday’s Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State meet at Madison Central High School. Shed will be a returning safety for coach Bill Lee this fall, but right now track and field is a priority.
CALEDONIA — Jelisha Hackman has explosion. Typically, though, when you compete in the 100 meters you’re pushing off a block fastened to the track at the start of a race. Hackman’s propulsion in the sprint comes from a standing start, in part because of the lack of track and field facilities at Caledonia High School. But Hackman, just like many of her teammates, has learned to live and to succeed with what she doesn’t have.
Sindhu Shivaji knew she could believe Zachary Patterson. After all, it’s easy to listen to someone who has won a state championship. So when senior Zachary Patterson said at the beginning of the season that the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science tennis team could be “awesome,” Shivaji knew she had to do her part to make that goal a reality.
The University of Alabama baseball team’s offense is intimidating when you look at the numbers. Alabama leads the Southeastern Conference in batting average (.338), hits (550), slugging percentage (.592), on-base percentage (.423), runs scored (423), RBIs (394), doubles (116), and total bases (963). When Mississippi State plays host to Alabama in a three-game SEC series at 6:30 p.m. today, 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, the Bulldogs primary task will be to try to hold down that offense.
Mississippi State’s basketball program might not have a “Varnado” next season, but it will have a “Renardo.” Renardo Sidney, a McDonald’s All-American from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles and the nation’s No. 7 prospect in the country according to ESPN’s Scout’s Inc., signed Thursday afternoon with Mississippi State. MSU spokesman Gregg Ellis confirmed the signing, which ended a week of speculation about Sidney’s destination.
The Road Dawgs Tour is getting closer to Columbus. Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen and other members of the athletic department are making plans to make their Lowndes County appearance at the Plymouth Bluff Center on Monday. It’s one of the stops Mullen is making among 16 cities across the Southeast. Anyone wanting to attend must purchase their $15 tickets by today at Coldwell Banker West Realty or BankFirst in Columbus.
Mallory Byrd likes to move. To satisfy her daughter, Val Byrd signed Mallory up to participate in dance classes so she could learn ballet, tap, and jazz steps. She quickly discovered Mallory needed a certain kind of movement. “It wasn’t her thing,” Val Byrd said of the dance classes. It wasn’t difficult for the Byrds to find an alternative. Mallory’s love for watching Olympic gymnastics turned out to be the motivation to get involved in the high-speed, high-flying sport.
MABEN — East Webster High School baseball coach Wes Johnson knows good pitching when he sees it. As a pitcher who played for coach Ron Polk at Mississippi State, Johnson understands the importance of commanding the strike zone.
The Columbus High School assistant football coaches already are in midseason form. The CHS players are doing their part to join them. Judging from the players’ performance Friday in an intrasquad scrimmage, the Falcons have made the most of their offseason workouts and are attacking spring football with enthusiasm.
Philip Tice doesn’t hesitate when asked what qualities make a clutch hitter. “Confidence,” Tice said. In his first year as a varsity starter, Tice is showing confidence beyond his years.
It was tempting for Mississippi State track jumper Priscilla Gaines to participate Saturday at the Mississippi Open in Oxford. After reaching a season-high and regional qualifying long jump of 19 feet, 8 inches at the Mississippi Invitational on April 11, the chance for more success there was inviting. But Gaines has something more important to do Saturday.
A fast start Monday on day one of the 2009 NJCAA Region 23 Golf Championship proved to be elusive for Hal Larkin. Birdies on three of the first five holes gave the former Caledonia High School golf standout reason to believe he could secure a trip to the NJCAA National Championship. But Larkin’s early momentum evaporated.
Nashedra Barry likes to stay busy. In addition to the time she spends with the Columbus High School girls basketball and slow- and fast-pitch softball teams, the senior standout is involved in a host of clubs and other extra-curricular activities.
STARKVILLE -- Tavaris Tate will stay home to run track collegiately. The Starkville High School senior has committed to Mississippi State to remain close to family and friends. He will officially sign Friday. The sprinter had many choices to consider, but said he couldn’t go wrong with Mississippi State.
South Lamar softball coach Tony Seals hopes to have a full compliment of pitchers when his team hosts the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Area 10 Tournament. South Lamar’s pitching staff has been decimated by injuries and sickness in recent weeks and Seals hoped the Lady Stallions would be at full strength when the tournament began this morning. Seals had to pitch seventh-grader Kayla Jones for the first time in a varsity game against Gordo on Friday because Brittany Sanford has been sick, and Laken Hancock and Kendra Wilson have been injured.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State baseball and softball teams have something in common at the top of its batting orders. Although both teams are struggling in the Southeastern Conference, baseball’s Grant Hogue and softball’s Chelsea Bramlett have enjoyed personal success stealing bases. Hogue leads the SEC with 28 stolen bases and is tied with Dave Klipstein for second most steals in a season in Mississippi State history. He is fifth in school history with 53 career stolen bases. As far as Bramlett, she has already set the Mississippi State single-season record for stolen bases with 49 and her 141 career thefts are tied her for the most all-time with Iyhia McMichael.
As a redshirt freshman on the Delta State baseball team, Brent Hallmark hasn’t had many opportunities to pitch. But Hallmark has made the most of the opportunities when he has gotten to take the mound. Hallmark, a 2007 graduate of New Hope High School, has appeared in four games for the Statesmen this season and he hasn’t allowed an earned run.
Mississippi State center Jarvis Varnado may not be able to get much bigger, but he can get better. That’s why another season at Mississippi State would benefit the two-time Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Varnado announced Monday that he was making himself eligible for early entry into the NBA Draft. He has until June 15 to decide if it is in his best interest.
1. Columbus High girls basketball team sends four more to colleges HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Suggs' gem helps push Caledonia to next round HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. McQuary, Rooker lead MSU past Ole Miss COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Starkville baseball team routs Murrah to advance HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Silkwood has banner day for Bulldogs COLLEGE SPORTS