CALEDONIA -- Junior Gracie McCleskey has experienced good and bad moments playing softball for Caledonia High School.
The month of April is rolling out with some good times for McCleskey and the Lady Confederates. McCleskey had four hits Tuesday night to help Caledonia beat Cleveland 13-3 in Game 1 of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A best-of-three second-round playoff series.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High girls' basketball coach Kristie Williams feels her program should send at least one player to the collegiate level on an annual basis.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy senior right-hander Caleb Griffin made good on his pledge Tuesday night.
"They weren't going to beat me again," Griffin said. "I knew I was going to get the start for this game, and I promised myself there was no way I was going to let them beat me twice. I was going to shut them down through seven innings. That was the goal. I am proud of it."
Griffin threw a one-hitter and Starkville Academy took over first place in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, District 2 race with a 6-0 victory against Heritage Academy at Volunteer Field.
STARKVILLE -- When his team needed a defensive lift, Starkville boys' basketball coach Greg Carter knew who to turn to.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State junior Jack Kruger feels like he plays on the best team in the country.
Kruger and the Bulldogs will get a chance to prove that this weekend.
Ranked in the top 10 of every major poll, including No. 5 by Baseball America, MSU will travel to Gainesville, Florida, this weekend to face No. 1 Florida.
MSU tuned up for that game Tuesday by blanking Tennessee-Martin 14-0 at Dudy Noble Field.
STARKVILLE -- New coaches normally don't dwell on the past and aren't pessimistic when they take over a program.
This season, the Ole Miss softball team is taking the opposite approach.
Under second-year coach Mike Smith, the Rebels are focused on earning their first trip to a NCAA regional. Ole Miss took a huge step to accomplishing that goal Monday night with a 9-5 victory against Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference game at Nusz Park.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State senior shortstop Kayla Winkfield and assistant coach Samantha Ricketts had a brief but beneficial meeting Sunday night.
With MSU and Ole Miss locked in a scoreless extra-innings battle at Nusz Park, Ricketts summoned Winkfield.
STARKVILLE -- Ole Miss softball coach Mike Smith had Sarah Van Schaik's number circled on the lineup card.
Van Schaik didn't figure prominently into her team's Southeastern Conference game with Mississippi State for quite some time. However, Smith knew the freshman's time was coming.
STARKVILLE -- While it is too early to consider a Southeastern Conference series as "must win," the Mississippi State softball team realizes now is the time to try to reverse some negative momentum.
Nationally ranked a week ago, MSU (20-13, 1-5 SEC) will try to break a five-game losing streak when Ole Miss (26-9, 2-4) comes to Nusz Park for the first time.
While most championship runs usually boast a talented senior or pair of seniors helping a team get over the hurdle, the exact opposite was true for the Columbus Falcons.
STARKVILLE -- Some surprises are better than others.
The surprise Starkville High School baseball coach Travis Garner received Tuesday night at Carlisle Field might not be topped.
Behind a two-hit pitching performance from senior left-hander Justin Conner, Starkville blanked Madison Central 10-0 in its Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 3 opener.
The Mississippi State softball team will play important games against Southeastern Louisiana (tonight) and Central Arkansas (Wednesday, SEC Network) at Nusz Park.
While the MSU-SLU and MSU-UCA games won't determine bids to the Women's College World Series, both are big for the Bulldogs.
MSU is 19-8 and 1-2 in the Southeastern Conference after winning one of three league games against No. 3 Auburn last weekend.
In the first Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) figures released by the NCAA on Monday, MSU checked in at No. 31. That number will be more than sufficient for MSU to earn a fifth-straight regional berth under fifth-year coach Vann Stuedeman.
STARKVILLE -- Heritage Academy junior Tyler Anderson knows what the big inning feels like.
"In our tournament (at Gulf Shores, Alabama) last week, we had some seven- and eight-spots," Anderson said. "Playing well down there gave us a lot of confidence. We know now we can have the big inning. We know we can score some runs."
The Heritage Academy baseball team found the big inning just in time Monday night, scoring five runs in the fourth inning of a 7-5 victory against Starkville Academy in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, District 2 game at Volunteer Field.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State junior catcher Katie Anne Bailey said her team's recent West Coast road trip would be a good barometer for the start of Southeastern Conference play.
Hopefully, the Bulldogs will fare a little bit better.
After a blistering start that led to a national ranking in one poll, the Bulldogs limped to a 1-3 finish on a road trip full of California powers.
MSU (18-6, 0-0 SEC) will try to change that momentum at 6 p.m. today when No. 3 Auburn (24-3, 1-2 SEC) visits Nusz Park in Game 1 of a three-game weekend series. The teams also will play at 2 p.m. Saturday and at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. However, rain forecast for today could alter that schedule.
STARKVILLE -- Tyson Carter's senior basketball season continues to impress.
While last week included the disappointment of losing the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A state championship, this week has been much better for the Starkville High School senior. In addition to being chosen for tonight's Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game in Clinton, he also has been named Mississippi's Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
JACKSON -- Columbus High School senior Christopher Deloach emerged as a leader on the school's football team this fall. The leadership quickly transferred to the basketball court.
JACKSON -- Starkville High School senior Darius Wilson likes to have fun.
Born into a basketball family, Wilson often has found solace and fun times in the gym. His teammates share a similar vibe.
"The best thing about this team is our enjoyment of the game," Wilson said. "It's a lot of hard work, but we don't look at it that way. On the court, we are laughing and having a good time. You can tell we like being out there. You can tell we have fun together.
"It has been a special run, and I will always be thankful for how it has turned out."
JACKSON -- West Lowndes High School senior TyShun Spencer conducted post-game interviews clutching his basketball uniform.
After grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds in his final prep basketball game, Spencer was going to enjoy the experience of playing in Jackson for as long as he could. As soon as the final horn sounded Thursday at Mississippi Coliseum, Spencer suddenly became a fan.
JACKSON -- Starkville High School senior Keith Harris sat at the end of his team's bench and felt ill.
Harris looked on as his teammates battled Tupelo in the semifinals of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A State tournament at Mississippi Coliseum.
There was no medicine to make Harris feel better. However, teammate Tyson Carter was there to cheer him up in a hurry.
With Harris and Darrius Agnew saddled with foul trouble, Starkville treaded water for one half before rolling past Tupelo 61-46 on Wednesday night.
JACKSON -- Starkville High School senior Tanita Thompson made it through the handshake line and spoke to a couple of family members.
Thompson then returned to the locker room area of the Mississippi Coliseum and couldn't holder her emotions in check any longer.
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