Gabe Franks never doubted himself. Thanks to plenty of coaching from his father, Gary, and other age-group coaches, Franks always believed one day he would realize a goal to play baseball in college.
Champions need killer instincts. It remains to be seen whether the New Hope High School baseball team will navigate through a difficult district and regional schedule to play for a Class 5A state title. But the Trojans showed Friday they are developing a knack for making opponents pay for their mistakes.
It’s only natural for a pitcher to want to keep his arm warm. But superstition rules baseball, so it shouldn’t be surprising a pitcher would accept having a cold arm in return for a little success. Based on his performance the past two nights, Blake Roberts appears ready to let his right arm withstand the elements for the rest of the season.
The Hamilton High School softball team bounced back from a loss to Nettleton by shutting out Columbus 11-0 on Thursday. The Lady Lions had just six hits, but scored five runs on errors, passed balls and wild pitches. Hamilton (9-8) got a complete game from pitcher Anna Imel, who gave up two hits and struck out six in five innings.
Nick Durrah was 4-for-4 with two doubles, a home run, and five RBIs Thursday night to lead the Columbus High School baseball team to a 13-7 victory against South Panola in a Class 6A, Division 2, District 4 game at Columbus High. The win helped Columbus (9-8, 2-2 district) avenge a 3-2 loss in eight innings to South Panola on Tuesday. Stefan Hairston had three hits, including a triple, and Tyji Hawkins (home run), Josh Tentoni, and Jimmy Cockrell each had two hits.
STARKVILLE — A marathon ensued Wednesday at Volunteer Field, as Starkville Academy and Heritage Academy played a doubleheader of back-and-forth baseball that resulted in the home team taking a pair of much-needed conference wins.
Danté Oliver didn’t have to be in the “fast” heat Saturday to win two titles.
STARKVILLE — Heath Walker never wanted to quit playing soccer, so he decided to sign on with Junior Noel’s rebuilding project at East Mississippi Community College. The Starkville Academy defender/midfielder contemplated the Lions’ offer for nearly two months before signing a National Letter of Intent Wednesday to play in Scooba for the next two years.
The South Lamar High School softball team will honor the memory of one of its former players when it plays host to the Lamar County Tournament. South Lamar will remember Madison Orr, who was killed in an automobile accident March 30, 2009. Orr was a seventh-grader who was killed on Highway 17 between Millport, Ala., and Reform, Ala., while returning home after school.
Rachel Hollivay is going to be busy again this spring and summer. The New Hope High School sophomore, who already is recognized as one of the state’s top prep girls basketball players, has been invited by USA Basketball to participate in the 2010 Under-17 National Team Trials on June 8-11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. “It means a lot,” Hollivay said. “I am looking forward to going back so I can work harder to make the team this time.”
HAMILTON — It might not seem like it, but the marathon is only approaching the halfway point for the Hamilton and West Lowndes high school baseball teams. Poor weather has made it seem like the teams have been at it longer, canceling several dates and making it even tougher to find dry time on the field. On Tuesday, both teams showed they are still striving to find their consistency in a game that featured plenty of action on every play.
BATESVILLE — Josh Tentoni's two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning gave the Columbus High School baseball team a one-run lead, but the Falcons couldn't hold it, falling to South Panola 3-2 in eight innings Tuesday in a Class 6A, Division 2, District 4 game. Nick Durrah struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the next batter reached on an error and later scored on a passed ball to tie the game. Stefan Hairston relieved Durrah to start the eighth and retired the first two batters before pinch hitter Alan Horne doubled and scored on a bloop single by Matt Brown.
Throwing a curveball for a strike was becoming a nuisance for Tyji Hawkins. Finding a groove at the plate was equally as difficult for Josh Tentoni. The Columbus High School seniors might have solved their problems on Friday night, and, in the process, set the Falcons up to accomplish some big things this season.
M.C. Miller’s move Harrison Central High School in Lyman will come with challenges. For a program that has had one winning season since 2004-05, the Red Rebels have been known as the school with the state’s largest enrollment but mediocre football team.
The Starkville High School baseball team didn’t need many hits to win its Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Dvision 2, District 4 opener. Starkville just needed a few timely connections and some help from the Columbus Falcons on Tuesday night. Starkville managed just three hits in the district opener for both teams, but it was more than enough for a 7-1 win.
STARKVILLE — R.J. Johnson’s tremendous baseball talent has been evident since the first day he suited up for the Starkville Yellow Jackets. He’s just now starting to put all the pieces together. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound shortstop/pitcher has ideal measurables that have drawn the attention of pro scouts, but it’s been his discipline at the plate that’s seen him get off to a blazing start for Starkville (5-1).
The South Lamar High School softball team overcame injuries last season to make it to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A state championship series. South Lamar coach Tony Seals hopes the Lady Stallions (1-2) can overcome injuries and make it back to the state championship series.
STARKVILLE — Greg Carter doesn’t rant and rave on the sidelines. The Starkville High School boys basketball coach prefers to stay in his seat and watch as the Yellow Jackets execute the game plan. But Carter by no means is tied to his seat. In fact, the veteran coach is quick to get out of his seat and to correct something when he sees a mistake.
JACKSON — Edward Townsel rediscovered his shooting touch Saturday afternoon to help the Starkville High School boys basketball team claim the Mississippi High School Activities Association Grand Slam Championship. After being held to four points Friday in the semifinals against West Bolivar, the senior guard scored a game-high 25 points to lead Starkville past Jackson Callaway 61-45 at Mississippi Coliseum.
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