The repeat is complete for New Hope.
PEARL -- Forty-three minutes is an eternity in baseball. Whether its pickoff attempts, foul balls, or trips to the mound, there are myriad ways to slow the pace of a game. But the West Jones High School baseball team showed Thursday how quickly and how difficult it can be to turn momentum once it gets going.
PEARL -- For the first time in nearly two months, the New Hope High School baseball team will play a game coming off a loss. Junior designated hitter Payton Lane said don't look for anything to change for the Trojans.
If nothing else, the world of sports can teach the participants there are no guarantees in life. While the New Hope High School baseball team set the modest goal of repeating as Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state champions this season, the Trojans knew one injury or other bad fortune could turn the dream into a nightmare.
West Jones High School baseball coach Joey Ward feels like his Mustangs will have a chance this weekend if they can play some tight games. West Jones (24-10) will try to put that plan into action at 7 tonight when it takes on defending state champion New Hope (30-3) in Game 1 of a best-of-three series for the Mississippi High School Activities Association's Class 5A state championship at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
The New Hope High School baseball team is back in a familiar position.
Talk about terrible timing.
WEST POINT -- Oak Hill Academy basketball coach Brian Middleton has had so much fun coaching the boys team at the school, he has decided to double that pleasure.
OXFORD -- It would just serve to reason New Hope High School senior Taylor Stafford would make fans of rival Oxford miserable.
New Hope High School senior pitcher Taylor Stafford felt good and in complete control on the mound Thursday night. That was really bad news for the Oxford baseball team.
STARKVILLE -- The Starkville High School football team sent a message Thursday to the state of Mississippi that it is the team to beat after an easy victory against Class 6A power Brandon.
STARKVILLE -- After going through a season last year when his defense had difficulty stopping anybody, West Point High School football coach Chris Chambless was pleased with how that unit performed in its first audition for the 2014 season.
HAMILTON -- Sophomores aren't supposed to be leaders. But Alison Atkins, Taylor Hyland, Cheyenne Logan, Raimi Bryan, and Jordyn Jackson responded when pressed into service in 2012 for the Hamilton High School fast-pitch softball team. The program was in transition. Coming off a 2011 season in which it failed to advance to the playoffs, Hamilton also had to adjust to a new coach, Bryan Loague, who took over for Jason Cobb.
MACON -- It's a good thing Qendarrion Barnett isn't superstitious.
HAMILTON -- So much for needing blocks to win a state title in the sprints.
New Hope High School has a rare luxury when the Mississippi High School Activities Association's North Mississippi Class 5A baseball playoffs resume tonight.
PEARL -- After a sluggish offensive performance in a playoff win Saturday afternoon, New Hope High School baseball coach Lee Boyd said the time would come when the Trojans won a playoff game based on their offense. Two days later, the coach was proven correct.
PHILADELPHIA -- Leadoff hitters are meant to get things going. Hailey Lunderman took that part of her job description to heart Monday afternoon. Coming off a three-hit effort in a Game 1 victory against New Hope, the junior shortstop set the tone with a ringing triple off D.J. Sanders in the bottom of the first inning. Three batters later, Lunderman scored on a sun-aided double by Kayla Robertson as part of a four-run first that helped propel the Neshoba Central High School fast-pitch softball team to a 9-2 victory against New Hope in Game 2 of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State title series.
Brent Harris had a feeling about the 2014 Victory Christian Academy baseball team. In seven years as the squad's coach, Harris has seen plenty of talented players come through the program, but he quickly recognized something was special about this season's group. That's why Harris wanted to be honest with his players in an effort to help bring the best of out of all of them.
For Columbus High School senior baseball player Michael Sturdivant, Saturday night quickly became more about celebration than dismay. "We did something Columbus High School has never done," Sturdivant said. "We were the best team that has ever come through this city. We were a special group of guys who really poured their hearts and souls into making it work. We won 23 games. We did things that had never been done before here and will probably be never done again. Making it to the third round of the playoffs is special. I am not bragging because the glory goes to God."
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