June 17, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- The Pickens Academy Dizzy Dean baseball team, of Carrollton, Ala., looks at any opportunity to play this summer as a learning experience.
The chance to come to Mississippi and play a Class 5A program like Starkville High School is an added bonus.
Pickens Academy bounced back from a 5-3 opening-game loss to beat Starkville 10-3 in a six-inning second game to gain a doubleheader split.
Pickens Academy coach Tim Jones welcomed the chance to play Starkville.
"Starkville has a long history of having good teams," Jones said. "Any time you play somebody who is better, it helps you get better. I enjoyed this, and the coaches were very nice. We were treated well, and it''s a nice facility."
Pickens Academy (3-6) already has played games against New Hope and Caledonia.
Jones said Pickens Academy doesn''t shy away from public school competition.
"We played some public schools in the league over in Alabama and have done well," Jones said. "We just like to get out and have some guys who like to compete."
When Starkville (2-10) agreed to play Pickens Academy, it meant the Jackets would have to play four games in two nights.
That wasn''t an issue for Starkville coach David Lane because he considers it important to play games.
"They were trying to get in our league and decided a little too late, so he called everybody around here to see who could play," Lane said. "We had an opening, so we got them over here.
"We made plays and swung the bat pretty decent (in the first game). We didn''t carry it over to the second game and didn''t hit the ball at all. The guy was real good on the mound."
Pickens Academy''s Chase Davidson pitched five-plus innings, struck out 13, and only gave up three hits.
After struggling some this summer, Jones was glad to see Davidson pitch well.
Davidson, who struck out the side in the second, third, and fourth innings, said having control of his pitches was the key.
"I knew Starkville was going to have good hitters, but I threw strikes and my curveball was working," Davidson said. "I tried a knuckleball and it was working, too. As long as you place the ball, you''ll be fine."
Pickens Academy scored three runs in the first on four hits. Davidson had an RBI double to help his cause.
After the Yellow Jackets answered with a run in the second on Wesley Montgomery''s triple and steal of home, the Pirates added two runs in the third and five more in the sixth to put the game away.
Davidson''s double was the only extra-base hit of the 11 for Pickens Academy. Michael Potts added three singles.
Cody Berryhill and Victor Johnson had pinch-hit singles for Starkville.
n Starkville 5, Pickens Academy 3: The Yellow Jackets rallied with three runs in the fifth to take the first game.
The Pirates led 1-0 in the first and 3-2 after the fourth, but couldn''t hold on.
Hayden Higginbotham had a triple for Starkville, while Montgomery, Berryhill, and Johnson had one single each.
For Pickens Academy, Matthew Wharton had two doubles and a single, while Casey Jones added two singles.