WEST POINT -- Ben Boykin wasn't comfortable. Between fidgets and an inability to get his breaking ball over consistently, the Ridgeland High School starting pitcher was searching for his groove. It's comforting how a bunch of runs can help someone settle in.
Brittany Brantley has spent most of her senior year on the bench for New Hope High School's fast-pitch softball team. But Saturday afternoon's Senior Day -- albeit in Game 2 of the Lady Trojans' first-round playoff series -- gave Brantley a chance not only to start, but also to make a contribution as the program continued its latest journey to earn what has become an elusive fast-pitch state title.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State baseball team couldn't hold on to a late lead as the University of Alabama rallied to a 5-4 Southeastern Conference baseball win in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday night at Dudy Noble Field. The Crimson Tide took both ends of the twinbill while clinching their first conference series in four weekends. Brett Whitaker hit a pinch-hit home run in the top half of the 10th inning to give Alabama a 5-4 victory in the opener.
Parker Dunaway spent Thursday night playing left field for Heritage Academy's baseball team, which hosted a doubleheader to end the regular season.
BLUE SPRINGS -- The Hamilton High School baseball team pounded out 19 hits Saturday in a 15-2 victory against East Union in game two of their best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A North State playoff series.
RENTON, Wash. -- K.J. Wright wanted to scream. The situation dictated he whisper. When Wright wasn't taken in the third round of the NFL draft Friday, the Mississippi State linebacker knew that Saturday could get a little odd and a little awkward. Wright knew he was going to get drafted. The problem came with the timing. Would Wright get the phone call he's always wanted to receive in the middle of his college graduation ceremonies?
STARKVILLE -- Waiting to see how NCAA selection committees set national tournament brackets can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if your team is on the bubble. Mississippi State's 20th-ranked men's tennis team doesn't have to worry about making the tournament, but the Bulldogs hope the committee doesn't tax them for losing to the University of Florida in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
STARKVILLE -- The football offseason brought nothing but good news for Starkville Academy. The Volunteers gained 10 more players and will open spring practice Monday with 37 players. The addition of former Columbus High head coach Bubba Davis bolstered the conditioning program and gives Starkville Academy an experienced and successful defensive coach.
STARKVILLE -- Harrison Warren went 4-5 as the No. 1 singles player on Starkville Academy's tennis team this season. Even though he made tremendous strides as a player and won more matches in a single season than he had before, he was shocked when Meridian Community College offered him a scholarship.
STARKVILLE -- Ask any pitcher on Mississippi State's roster who has had the greatest impact on their success this season, and they'll all point to catcher Wes Thigpen.
Austin Braddock wasn't perfect on the mound Thursday afternoon in the Heritage Academy baseball team's 9-1 win against Jackson Academy. The senior right-hander gave up hits to start his first few innings. Yet it's how Braddock handled his pitches after those hits that made his performance a memorable one for Patriots fans at Trip Carson Field. Three days after his baseball team lost 10-0 at Jackson Academy, he returned the favor at home, scattering seven hits in six innings to help Heritage Academy secure the top seed in Class AAA, Division II by winning the first game of a doubleheader.
Landon Boyd grew up at Trojan Field. Not only did the future New Hope High School baseball player learn the ins and outs of the sport watching his brothers Lee and Russ at the park, he also enjoyed countless rides on the "gator," or the mower coaches used to drag the infield before and after games. Peyton Lee gleaned the same tradition-rich habits watching former Trojans, including his brother, Davis, who was a senior on the 2010 New Hope High baseball team.
Brandi Brantley and Anna Holley have spent their high school careers immersed in tradition. Their senior softball season started the same way: with another state title. The New Hope High School slow-pitch team won its fourth championship in a row, and second in a row in Class 5A, in October, closing an illustrious chapter in their career.
STARKVILLE -- Meridian Community College women's basketball coach Hilary Allen describes his team's fast-paced playing tempo as "chaotic." He feels he added two ideal fits for that system Thursday when Starkville High School seniors Courtney Moore and Chelsey Johnson-Weaver signed with MCC.
NEW YORK - The University of Alabama had a school-record four players selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday evening. Junior Marcell Dareus was taken by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 3 overall pick, while junior wide receiver Julio Jones went to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 6. Senior offensive lineman James Carpenter went No. 25 to the Seattle Seahawks, and junior running back Mark Ingram was selected with the 28th pick of the first round by the New Orleans Saints.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- University of Alabama long snapper Carson Tinker was injured in the storms that bombarded Tuscaloosa and other parts of the state, forcing Auburn's national championship football team to reschedule a trip to the White House. The weather also led to cancellations of high school and college sporting events.
STARKVILLE -- Derek Sherrod had to wait until the final pick of the first round of the NFL Draft to hear is name called. Boy was it worth it.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State's football program could reach significant milestones in this year's NFL draft. Four Bulldogs are projected to be drafted in the three-day event that starts at 7 tonight (ESPN), including All-America left tackle Derek Sherrod, who many analysts predict will be selected in the first round.
STARKVILLE -- Experience and knowledge of the game won't be a problem for Starkville Academy's new softball coach Kayla Mosley. The former University of Mississippi outfielder was announced Wednesday as Starkville Academy's varsity softball coach and assistant girls basketball coach.
WEST POINT -- Two weeks before the West Point High School baseball team earned its first playoff berth in a decade, coach Buddy Wyers watched his team continue to make mental errors that threatened to transform another promising season into just another losing campaign.
1. Arkansas-Pine Bluff hands MSU its first loss COLLEGE SPORTS
2. MSU announces pricing plans for new Dudy Noble COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Rankin has Aberdeen boys focused on state title LOCAL COLUMNS
4. MSU men need two wins, help to get SEC bye COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Moody leads Ole Miss past Alabama COLLEGE SPORTS