STARKVILLE -- Officially, Tuesday morning's event at Starkville High School was listed as an introductory news conference for the Yellow Jackets' new athletic director and football coach. For Milton Smith, it was a homecoming. Smith, a 1986 graduate of Starkville High who spent 13 seasons as football coach at Laurel High, was welcomed back as Starkville High's athletic director. He was introduced with Ricky Woods, the school's new football coach.
STARKVILLE -- New Starkville High School football coach Ricky Woods sees his latest career stop ending in one of two ways. "They will either fire me or retire me," Woods said. While the comment was made in jest, Woods used his introductory news conference at the Starkville Athletic Center to bring home the point that this would be the last job of his highly decorated coaching career.
STARKVILLE -- It's now official.
Eric Crawford II had worked too hard in pursuit of his dream to play college baseball not to continue to believe.
STARKVILLE -- Around the Starkville High School football program, the news traveled fast Thursday afternoon.
The Columbus Municipal School District is moving ahead with plans to fill several coaching vacancies at Columbus High School.
Lee Boyd is fond of saying the New Hope High School baseball team always has to have one guy step up. Will Godfrey took that notion to heart last week in one of the Trojans' biggest moments of the season. Locked in a scoreless tie with Oxford in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 2 of their Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State title series, Godfrey turned on a fastball middle in and smacked it over the left-field fence to lift New Hope to a 1-0 walk-off victory. The win helped New Hope force a winner-take-all Game 3 in Oxford that originally was scheduled for Friday, but rain forced it to be delayed until Saturday. In Game 3, Oxford earned a 10-3 victory that ended New Hope's season and its quest for a third-straight Class 5A championship.
Brent Harris didn't want Anthony Sharp to become complacent. With multi-sport standouts Landon Ellis and Tyler Jones set to graduate from Victory Christian Academy, Harris knew no other way to get his point across to Sharp than to challenge the rising sophomore.
STARKVILLE -- It's fitting the Wilson black and white volleyball shared center stage Friday. Nestled in front of an iron Yellow Jacket welded onto a base that is a cutout of the state of Mississippi, the volleyball had an ideal vantage point to celebrate Vicky Vo's hard work.
OXFORD -- Through two games in their Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State championship series, the New Hope and Oxford high school baseball teams traded thrilling wins, alternating walk-off victories. First, the Chargers celebrated thanks to a game-winning, two-run home run by Ben Bianco for a 3-2 win in Game 1 Tuesday night. On Thursday night, the Trojans countered with a game-winner of their own, a solo home run by junior catcher Will Godfrey that gave new Hope a 1-0 win and pushed the series to a Game 3. There wasn't a walk-off in the finale.
Laura Lee Holman has a new challenge. The fact that it will take her four hours away from New Hope High School, where she played for state titles and led teams in pursuit of championships, was a daunting proposition, but Holman decided last week that it was one worth taking because it will help push her to be an even better coach. Last Friday, Holman resigned from her job as physical education teacher and girls basketball/volleyball coach at New Hope High to take a job as girls PE teacher and girls basketball coach at North Pike High in Summit in Pike County. Summit is about 75 miles south of Jackson and about 100 miles south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
CLINTON, La. -- As the sun was setting on the Oak Hill Academy baseball team's season Thursday, coach Marion Bratton watched his players pack their gear and head to the team buses. The Raiders had just lost to Silliman Institute 6-0 in Game 2 of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AA championship series. Silliman's players, coaches, friends, and family celebrated their championship in the background.
Home run hitters don't cherish the long ball. Ask them how many home runs they have hit in practice or in games and they're liable to tell you they don't know because they all run together. Will Godfrey doesn't have that problem because he isn't a home run hitter -- at least until Thursday night. That's when the junior catcher smacked a walk-off home run to left field in the seventh inning to lift the New Hope High School baseball team to a 1-0 victory against top-ranked Oxford in Game 2 of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State championship series at Trojan Field.
Home run hitters don't cherish the long ball. Ask them how many home runs they have hit in practice or in games and they're liable to tell you they don't know because they all run together.
Tabitha Beard doesn't know how many tears she cried in the past few weeks trying to figure out how to wrestle with a legacy. When you play for and then follow a coach like Cary Shepherd, who helped establish New Hope High School softball as one of the state's premier programs, there is an undeniable weight involved in maintaining that tradition. After watching Shepherd win nine slow-pitch championships, Beard kept New Hope among the best in the state, guiding the program to five consecutive slow-pitch state titles from 2007-11 and leading the fast-pitch program to the Class 5A title series in 2012.
CALEDONIA -- The hat fits perfectly. A few days ago, Cole Gullette admits his hair looked a little "shaggy," so any hat, especially the one he will wear next, didn't feel just right. That's why the Caledonia High School senior infielder/pitcher planned stop at the barber shop Tuesday one day before his scheduled appointment to sign a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mississippi Valley State.
"Streaming." That's the best word to describe the flow of blood from Anthony Sharp's nose 20 minutes prior to the Victory Christian Academy baseball team's game against New Life Christian for the Alabama Christian Athletic Association championship. Pressure worked to stop the bleeding for a little bit, but it started again as the start of the game approached. Faced with the prospect of not being able to pitch in the biggest game of his team's season, Sharp did what any competitor would do: He stuffed napkins and Kleenex into his nostrils to stop the bleeding.
OXFORD -- The New Hope High School baseball team played potentially its best game of the season Tuesday night. Unfortunately, one swing turned its fortunes the wrong way. Ben Bianco's two-run, walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted top-ranked Oxford to a 3-2 win against New Hope in Game 1 of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State championship playoff series at Edwin Moak Field.
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