STARKVILLE -- Dan Mullen’s idea of a vacation is being able to kick back on the beach and enjoy reading a good book. That’s what Mississippi State’s football coach tried to do as he and his family took a week off from football for a little rest and relaxation. It all changes when Mullen returns to Starkville later this week. He will trade in his novel for the playbook.
EUPORA -- The Starkville Freshman 11-year-old All-Stars were happy to claim an easy win after two high-scoring one-run decisions to open the Dizzy Dean South State Tournament. After losing 19-18 to Grenada on Friday night and beating Louisville 12-11 in the first game Saturday, Starkville had an easier time by knocking off Greenwood 13-3 in four innings. Starkville coach Will McWhorter was happy to see pitchers Cameron Johnston and Matthew Oxford respond with good outings.
Three weeks isn’t a lot of time to perfect the deception needed to collect a cooler, to sneak up on a coach, and to deliver a victory dousing. But Chuck Rose was willing Saturday night to give his players the benefit of the doubt. Judging from their performance on the field, the Grenada Pink Sox just might have to work on their sneak attack.
Balance and depth have been keys for the Columbus Nationals and the West Point 10-year-old All-Stars teams in the first two days of the South State Tournament at Propst Park. Both teams won their opening games Friday night and returned to the field Saturday to record their second-consecutive victories. West Point edged Caledonia 9-8, while the Columbus Nationals beat Grenada Youth 11-1 in five innings to stay in the tournament’s winners’ bracket.
It has already taken quite a bit of time for the case regarding Renardo Sidney’s amateur status to develop. Donald Jackson, the attorney for the Mississippi State basketball signee, said something happened this week that could delay the process even further. Jackson recently learned through e-mail the NCAA has transferred all amateurism cases to the eligibility center, which means a new person will handle the case.
STARKVILLE — Starkville’s Dizzy Dean All-Star baseball teams are looking to celebrate more than Independence Day this weekend. The teams hope to add South State championships and a trip to the World Series to the holiday fun. Jim Moorehead’s age group seeks to defend its state championship when it plays in the Freshman 12 South State in Winona at 3:30 p.m. today. Starkville received a bye and will play the winner of the Winona-Grenada game.
WINONA –– The Columbus Nationals won their opening two games Thursday in the Dizzy Dean 12-year-old South State Tournament. The Nationals beat West Point 14-7 and Ackerman 12-1 to advance to Saturday. The Nationals, coached by Marty Stillman, had seven hits against West Point and eight against Ackerman.
Mississippi State sophomore center D.J. Looney has his bags packed for a trip this month, but it’s not for a vacation. It’s for business. Looney will travel to Denver to meet with members of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Looney was selected in Junee to represent the Southeastern Conference as a member of the committee.
Kiki Patterson is working toward a dream. There already have been plenty of stops on that road, and there will be plenty more in the next three years. But the length of that journey isn’t going to affect Patterson. Instead, it is going to encourage her to work even harder so she accomplish her goal of earning a scholarship to play basketball at a Division I school. Patterson’s play with Team Memphis Elite, an Amateur Athletic Union team out of Tennessee, is helping her get noticed.
STARKVILLE -- Shane Grantham has been given the responsibility of teaching 7-year-old All-Stars more about the game while playing in a competitive situation this weekend. The Starkville 7 Coach-Pitch All-Stars begin the Dizzy Dean State Tournament at Grenada when it plays Water Valley at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Starkville played two practice games and also scrimmaged against Columbus in getting ready and Grantham believes his squad is prepared for tournament action.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy believes it has an up and coming point guard in freshman Tiffany Huddleston. Having a summer league to help develop her talents has been considered a good thing for the Lady Volunteers. The Starkville Park and Recreation Department provided just that and concluded its June high school basketball league on Tuesday.
The West Point High School softball program continues to build. After taking over as West Point’s fastpitch coach last season, Libby Forrester saw the Lady Green Wave go from two wins to eight in the spring, while the junior varsity won 12 games. Although the varsity didn’t achieve a winning season, Forrester sees progress being made. Forrester has taken advantage of the high school summer softball league offered by the Starkville Park and Recreation Department, and it was able to get her younger players some experience.
Hebron Christian softball coach Cass Tapley believes he has a good team that’s getting better. The high school summer league that was held at the Starkville Sportsplex has helped that along. For a program that has only been in existence for six years, the Lady Eagles have fastly become competitive. Tapley, who became the coach at Hebron last year, thinks his squad can be better than in 2008 when it was 13-7 and won the district championship with a 9-1 mark.
Bigger doesn’t necessarily always mean better. Take the Dizzy Dean High School World Series in the Golden Triangle this past weekend for example. Althoough the World Series consisted of only 17 teams, Dizzy Dean Baseball officials Richard Ellis and Stacy Hester were pleased with the results. Although the response was the lightest in the seven years the Golden Triangle has hosted the World Series, the spirit and competition remained strong.
There is something to be said for togetherness. The way Johnny Suggs sees it, this just might be the year for the Caledonia 10-year-old All-Stars to compete for a title. Caledonia will be one of 16 teams that will begin play Friday at Propst Park in Columbus in the Dizzy Dean Baseball South State Tournament. The five- to six-day event also will feature teams from Columbus (Americans, Nationals), Starkville, Louisville, West Point, and Hamilton.
Playing seven games in four days can be taxing on a pitching staff. Ridgeland High School coach Brian Rea was glad he had an ace in the hole with Michael Posey. Working on two-days rest, Posey took the mound for Ridgeland on Monday and pitched six strong innings to help the Titans beat Kosciusko 6-1 in the championship game of the Dizzy Dean High School World Series at New Hope High School. It was a repeat for Ridgeland as it defeated New Hope to capture the title last year.
Remember the Titans? It’s hard to forget the Ridgeland High School version. For the second consecutive year, the Ridgeland Titans won the Dizzy Dean High School World Series. The Titans defeated Kosciusko 6-1 on Monday at New Hope High School’s Trojan Field to repeat as champions. The thing that seems to make Ridgeland click more than anything else is teamwork.
Until the NCAA has had a chance to weigh all the facts concerning Mississippi State men’s basketball signee Renardo Sidney’s eligibilty, it will continue to be a “he said, he said” situation and MSU basketball coach Rick Stansbury appears to be staying out of it. Ever since Sidney signed with Mississippi State, there has been a question concerning his amateur status because of dealings with Reebok representatives, first with Sonny Viccaro and later with Chris Rivers.
Jarrett Jenkins reaching and stealing bases. Stephen Joe driving in runs. Those things have become a common sight for Ridgeland High School at the Dizzy Dean High School World Series. After losing its first game of the World Series to Center Hill on Friday, Ridgeland has come back to win five-straight games, including beating Neshoba Central 13-2 in the semifinals Sunday.
During the 2008 Dizzy Dean High School World Series, Kosciusko finished one win shy of reaching the championship game by losing to New Hope in the semifinals. But on Sunday night, Kosciusko had what it took to make it to this year’s championship game by beating Holmes County, of Bonifay, Fla., 16-6 in six innings at New Hope High School’s Trojan Field. It was the second year in a row for Kosciusko to eliminate Holmes County from the World Series.
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