STARKVILLE — There was a gasp in the crowd at Pearl High School last Saturday afternoon when Starkville High School senior sprinter Tavaris Tate took the baton for the final leg in the 4x400 relay, rallied from third place and ran away from the pack in the final race of the Class 5A state track meet.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s men’s basketball program received good news Monday about a big man for the third week in a row. After the signing of Renardo Sidney and the addition of John Riek, the Bulldogs learned Monday that center Jarvis Varnado plans to return for his senior season.
COLLINSVILLE — The New Hope High School baseball team always seemed to have the answer. Whether it was timely hitting, clutch pitching, or sparkling defense, the Trojans put everything together in the past month to sweep their first three playoff series. But one solution eluded them all season: How to solve Dustin McWilliams.
Jasmine Abrams has her eyes set on higher goals. Her two seasons with the East Mississippi Community College women’s basketball team have made those aspirations more realistic. Now the former Columbus High School standout plans to take her game to the Division I level in hopes of taking the next step toward realizing her goal to play professional basketball. On Tuesday, Abrams, a 6-foot forward, signed a national letter of intent to play basketball in the fall at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Heritage Academy Patriots went from nearly striking out completely to striking back before finally having their season come to an end Friday night. Heritage was held scoreless on two hits with nine strikeouts through four innings before battling back in a 4-3 loss to Hillcrest Christian in the Mississippi Private School Association Class AAA playoffs. The Patriots (10-16) finished with only three hits and 16 strikeouts and didn’t have an RBI hit, but had a chance to win when they scored a run and loaded the bases in their last at-bat.
PEARL –– Starkville High School boys track coach Cleveland Hudson never lost faith in his team’s chances to defend its Class 5A state championship despite consecutive second-place finishes in the division, region and North State meets. That’s because Hudson had Tavaris Tate on his side. Tate accomplished something that had never been done before in Class 5A by winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, and then pulling the 4x400 relay team through to victory as Starkville scored 66 points to overcome second-place Meridian’s 60.
Christian Dale will get an opportunity this summer to watch some of Major League Baseball’s future stars. In the process, Dale also will get a chance to develop his skills so he might one day reach that level. Last month, the Lee Middle School eighth-grader attended an Under Armour Tryout Event at Zephyr Field in New Orleans. Dale did so well at the tryout that he earned an invitation to an Under Armour Baseball Factory Specialty Training Camp in Cape Cod, Mass.
STARKVILLE — It seems improbable that one team would have two runners with a chance to combine to win seven state championship gold medals? But that’s what can happen Saturday for Starkville High School’s Tavaris Tate and Quartez Rogers at the Class 5A State Meet at Pearl High School.
COLLINSVILLE — Dustin McWilliams wiped out all of the New Hope High School baseball team’s momentum Thursday night. Wes Stokes will try to finish the job tonight. McWilliams pitched a complete-game five-hitter and West Lauderdale scored six unearned runs in an 11-4 victory in game one of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Class 4A North Half state title series at Jerry Boatner Field. Game two will be at 4 p.m. today in Columbus.
The University of Mississippi baseball team has been known to unleash its “Power” on opponents the past four seasons. As outfielder Logan Power has driven in runs, it has usually led to success for Ole Miss. Since his arrival in 2006, Power has helped the Rebels to a four-season record of 159-86, trips to three NCAA Regionals, and appearances in two Super Regionals.
The South Lamar High School softball team established a new standard Tuesday by winning the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Area 10 Tournament.
WEST POINT — East Mississippi Community College baseball coach Tony Montgomery first saw Oak Hill Academy’s Lance Portera as someone who could help the Lions as a outfielder. Montgomery likes Portera’s arm so much he chose to recruit him as a pitcher.
The New Hope High School baseball team has found new life in the postseason. Whether it has been solid pitching, timely hitting, or sparkling defense, coach Stacy Hester’s Trojans (24-9) are playing their best baseball of the season entering game one of today’s (6 p.m.) best-of-three series against West Lauderdale for the North Half state title.
Mississippi State considers the new three-game contract to play South Alabama in football a win-win situation for both parties. Considering the economics and benefits for the Bulldogs, the deal was too good for the school to pass up.
STARKVILLE — Signed, sealed, and delivered. The much anticipated paperwork confirming the signing of 7-foot-2 center John Riek reached the Mississippi State men’s basketball office Wednesday afternoon.
It’s difficult enough for an athlete to come back from one torn labrum. Mississippi State freshman outfielder Brent Brownlee has suffered that injury three times, and has had to have surgery on each occasion.
Zachary Patterson and Adam Powers thought everything was going just fine. Up a set and leading 3-0 in the second set, Patterson and Powers felt confident about their chances to repeat as Class 3A No. 1 doubles champions. But an old kick serve called momentum turned against them. Corinth’s Austin McElwain and Charlie Curtis rallied to win the second set and forced Patterson and Powers to regroup. The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science duo used the 10-minute break between sets to analyze their mistakes and to formulate a game plan that would help them rally.
CALEDONIA — The Caledonia High School boys golf team is ahead of schedule. That’s fine with coach Bradley Tate and his players because their success this season has extended their season to the State Tournament. Zac Taylor will lead district champion Caledonia next week when it plays at the Class 4A state tournament May 12-13 at River Birch Country Club in Amory. The team will use Monday as a practice round to familiarize itself with the course. Play in the 16-team event begins at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
STARKVILLE –– There is a special motivation for Shay Bonner, of Starkville High School, to get back on the track for the Class 5A state meet. After injuring her knee during hurdles competition at North State, Bonner missed practice early this week in preparation for the state that takes place Saturday in Pearl. Bonner, who qualified for state in the 100 and 300 hurdles, is also a leg in Starkville’s 4x200 relay team that has a chance to break a state record.