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.
WEST POINT -- Marion Bratton has been around long enough to know you're not going to beat many teams when you have only one hit. That's why the Oak Hill Academy baseball coach had to tip his cap to Jordan Talley on Tuesday after the senior right-hander pitched a complete-game one-hitter to lead Silliman Institute (La.) to a 4-1 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-three Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AA championship series.
WEST POINT -- The smile can't mask the emotion Brett Blaise feels for Marion Bratton. There are plenty stories Blaise could tell about his former baseball coach at Heritage Academy. Judging from the grin on Blaise's face, you can tell he believes it's best to keep those tales tucked away so his current "boss" at Oak Hill Academy doesn't revert to the form he remembers Bratton having when he led the Patriots.
When Lee Boyd was hired, the New Hope High School baseball program was looking to return to the state's elite. In his six seasons as head coach, the Trojans have climbed back to the top of mountain. Apparently, they plan to stay there. New Hope will face No. 1 Oxford tonight in Game 1 of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State championship series. This team has shown Boyd has built a program with staying power.
STARKVILLE -- Kate Mattox strives for perfection. That is why some parts of the track and field season for this Starkville High School sophomore have been a disappointment. "I really want to always get better," Mattox said. "This season has been difficult. I feel like I haven't performed as well as I wanted to. I was behind some of my personal times. That is really when my sisters and my teammates have picked me up. They have kept me encouraged through the good and the bad times."
WEST POINT -- There are so many pieces needed to have success in the playoffs. While there was plenty of timely hitting and fielding in the Oak Hill Academy baseball team's second come-from-behind series victory in a row in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AA last week, the Raiders also received two dominating pitching performances to help it win the North State title.
It's time for the New Hope High School baseball team to take the next step. Granted, this one will be the team's toughest. New Hope (24-5) will play for the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State championship for the fourth-straight season. Top-ranked Oxford (31-0) will be the opponent when the best-of-three series kicks off at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Edwin Moak Field in Oxford. Game 2 will be at 7 p.m. Friday at New Hope. If needed, Game 3 would be at 7 p.m. Saturday in Oxford.
WEST POINT -- Frozen between second and third base, Ken Dill knew he better make a decision quickly. If you have seen the Oak Hill Academy baseball team play this season, it shouldn't be difficult to figure out which way Dill decided to go. True to the Raiders' aggressive style of play, Dill went to his right to third base, even though Prairie View catcher Nolan Wharton had scooped the pitch in the dirt and was holding the baseball with Dill in his sights.
HAMILTON -- Ray Weeks never forgot the words. After more than 20 years as a coach, Weeks always kept the advice of Jerry Crowe, his first coaching boss at Bayou Academy in Cleveland, somewhere in the back of his mind to help him stay grounded. "You will know when it is the right time" to step aside," Crowe said, undoubtedly in one of those teaching moments veteran coaches have with young coaches.
PEARL -- Zabasjia Price didn't think anyone would pass her after getting a great start in the 100-meter hurdles. But when you're competing against the best athletes in the state, you never know what is going to happen, so the best plan is to run as fast as you can to the finish. That's what the West Lowndes High School sophomore did Friday en route to a first-place time of 18.25 seconds to win the state title.
New Hope High School got its postseason wish list granted Thursday night.
HAMILTON -- The Hamilton High School baseball team had its chances Thursday night.
CALEDONIA -- The video says all you need to know about Cassie Obman.
Stability. The Oak Hill Academy football program hasn't has a lot of it in the past seven seasons.
STARKVILLE -- Crooked numbers on a scoreboard don't faze "bulldogs." That's why it didn't take long for Jeb Malley to regroup after he surrendered the lead and allowed three runs in the bottom of the first inning. "I just thought, 'Come out, throw strikes, and see how far they can hit it,' " Malley said. "I wanted to see if they could put the ball in play and let my defense do the work."
Zabasjia Price knew she had it in her. Thanks to more repetitions and a heavier load in practice, Price had a feeling she was going to deliver a faster time in the hurdles this season. The only problem was the West Lowndes High School sophomore didn't know when it was going to come. Price showed last weekend she has a great sense of timing.
OLIVE BRANCH -- New Hope High School senior pitcher Brody Stokes revealed his keys to success Tuesday night. There were eight.
WEST POINT -- Rookie is a perfect baseball nickname. But Chance Wilson could need a new one if he continues to perform like he did Friday night.
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