Brent Harris knew this season could be special for the Victory Christian Academy baseball team. After watching many of the team’s younger players take their lumps, Harris watched as an assistant coach as those players slowly matured and gained confidence. This season, in his first as the Eagles’ head coach, Harris thought things could come together provided the upperclassmen delivered solid leadership.
Lee Boyd left the quick hook in the dugout this time — if only for another batter. That’s about as much margin for error as Blake Roberts had remaining when Boyd sprinted to the mound for a discussion with his starting pitcher in the top of the second inning Monday night.
Richard Christopher didn’t want to relive history. A year after a shoulder injury helped prevent him from winning a state title, the Heritage Academy senior realized a goal Saturday when he won the AAA shot put title at the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall State Championship at Mississippi College.
OXFORD — New Hope High School’s Kelli Petty won the 100 and 200 meters and the high jump Monday at the Class 5A-Region 1 meet at Oxford High School.
M.C Miller believes the Noxubee County High School football program has its man. Tonight, that man, Tyrone Shorter, is expected to take Miller’s place and become the head football coach at Noxubee County. Shorter’s hiring is expected to be approved at the Noxubee County School District School Board meeting. Shorter worked the past 12 years as an assistant coach to Miller, who left Noxubee County to accept the head football coaching job at Harrison Central. He reconsidered that decision last month and was hired as the head football coach at Louisville High School.
CLINTON –– Heritage Academy’s Richard Christopher and Starkville Academy’s Joseph Macgown and Will Goodwin won individual titles Saturday at the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall State Championship at Mississippi College. Christopher won the AAA shot put with a mark of 46 feet, 7 1/2 inches. Macgown won the AAA 3,200 meters with a time of 10 minutes, 58.49 seconds, while Goodwin won the AAA triple jump with a mark of 42-11 1/2.
PHILADELPHIA — The Neshoba Central High School baseball program welcomed Lee Boyd back home Saturday night. The Rockets enjoyed Boyd’s stay so much they’ll make a return trip to Lowndes County to see him again Monday. Robert Greer pitched a complete-game six-hitter and Neshoba Central capitalized on a two-run error for a 3-2 victory in game two of its best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A opening-round playoff series.
STARKVILLE — After his team lost by the mercy rule in its postseason opener, Starkville coach Danny Carlisle thought the Yellow Jackets would respond with elimination staring them in the face. Instead the Jackets managed just two hits Friday in an 11-1 loss to Madison Central to be eliminated from the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A state playoffs. The scrappiness that saw Starkville make a fourth-inning rally on Thursday wasn’t there Friday as the Jackets were baffled by Madisson Central pitcher L.J. Hollins.
HAMILTON –– Good coaches aren’t afraid to adjust their strategy when things aren’t going according to plan. So it wasn’t surprising to see Hamilton High School coach Jason Cobb try something different Friday afternoon in the second game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A fast-pitch softball playoffs. Leading one game in a best-of-three series with East Union and locked in a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth, Cobb elected to play small ball en route to a 7-3 win.
The New Hope High School fast-pitch softball team cruised into the second round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A playoffs with a sweep of Clarksdale. The Lady Trojans earned a 15-0 victory in three innings and then won by the same score in game two Friday at Lady Trojans Field to advance to the next round. “I am just looking forward to the next round,” New Hope coach Tabitha Beard said.
JACKSON –– The Heritage Academy golf team participated in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Association Class AAA North State golf tournament at Deerfield Country Club and finished second to Pillow Academy. Heritage Academy tied for first place with Pillow Academy at the end of 18 holes and was edged ty two strokes in a sudden death playoff to finish second. Caleb Westmoreland, of Heritage, tied for medalist in regulation play with a 79, but lost in the playoff to Lou Adams, of Pillow Academy.
CALEDONIA — One bad shot or hole can spell disaster for a golfer. After parring the first hole at the Class 4A Division 3, District 4 Tournament at River Birch Golf Club on April 19 in Amory, Zac Taylor found himself at a turning point early in the day. The Caledonia High School senior hooked his tee shot on No. 2 left out of bounds. He hit his next shot in the woods in a hazard. He went on to shoot a triple bogy eight while the rest of the competitors birdied the hole.
CALEDONIA — Ricky Ford covets versatility. Ford’s Northeast Mississippi Community College women’s basketball program loves to use a full-court pressing style of play. To do that, the veteran coach needs players who can play a variety of roles and are equally comfortable facing and with their backs to the basket. Suriah Blanch fits that mold, which is why she will take her game to Booneville in the fall. On Friday, the Caledonia High School senior forward celebrated her decision to sign a national letter of intent to play basketball at NEMCC.
HAMILTON –– Hamilton High School senior pitcher Dylan Earnest may not have been as sharp as usual and the opponent may not have been as rugged as those found in Northeast Mississippi. But as Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest said, “It doesn’t matter who it’s against, a perfect game is a perfect game.” Earnest (9-0), who had a perfect game this past summer in Senior American Legion play and then another flawless outing earlier this month against Class 2A, Division 2 foe Calhoun City, was perfect again here Thursday evening as the Lions rolled to a 17-0, five-inning win against Shelby Broad Street in the first game of the Class 2A state baseball playoffs.
MADISON — The Madison Central baseball team scored 11 runs in two innings and had a mammoth day at the plate Thursday to beat Starkville 16-6 to open the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A state playoffs. Madison Central leadoff hitter Josh Crowder ended the game with a two-run, walk-off homer in the fifth inning to give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. Starkville used four pitchers, walking nine batters against one of the best lineups in the state.
Routine equals success. Whether it means taking hundreds of groundballs or swinging several hundred more times in the batting cage, baseball players use repetition to perfect their technique. Philip Tice and Brent Younger grew up following those practices. In the field, Tice grew accustomed to the angles and throws he had to make from second base, while Younger learned how to range to both sides and how to play the variety of hops a shortstop sees every game. But Tice and Younger learned change is just as big a part of athletics as routine.
Empress Shirley was tempted. Even though she had practiced and played softball for years, there was a voice inside Shirley’s head that told her it might be a good idea to quit the New Hope High School softball program. After all, Shirley would have more time to spend with some of her friends. She also would have more time to find a job or simply hang out and relax and enjoy her senior year. The Lady Trojans are glad Shirley didn’t give in to temptation.
CALEDONIA — Jelisha Hackman has lofty goals this season. The Caledonia High School junior wants to crack 36 feet in the triple jump. She also wants to help the school’s 4x400-meter relay team advance to the Class 4A state meet next month. But Hackman’s biggest goal likely is breaking the one-minute barrier in the 400. ”I am going to do it before the year is over,” Hackman said. “I am going to get a 58.” Hackman nearly reached the first part of her goal at the District 4 meet at Kosciusko, winning the event with a time of 1 minute, 1 second. Hackman knows that time won’t be good enough if she wants to continue to advance, so she has her sights set on breaking one minute Saturday when Caledonia is scheduled to compete in the regional meet at Mississippi Valley State University. West Lowndes also will compete Saturday at Mississippi Valley State in the Class 2A, Region 2 meet.
STARKVILLE — Danny Carlisle has an interesting approach to the Starkville High School baseball team’s opening-round playoff series against Madison Central. The Jaguars (24-2) play host to the Yellow Jackets (14-7) at 7 tonight in the first game of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A series.
Lewis Earnest and Jason Cobb feel their teams are ready to make postseason runs. Those journeys will start a day earlier than expected when the Hamilton High School baseball and fast-pitch softball teams begin play today in the opening rounds of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A playoffs. The Hamilton baseball team (16-3) will play host to Broad Street in a doubleheader at 4 p.m., while the softball team (15-8) will play at 6 tonight at East Union.
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2. Ole Miss shut out at Arkansas COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Starkville Academy falls in state championship game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
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5. Starkville defense swarms all over Southaven HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS