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.
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.
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.
Bob McCrory had reason to be both pleased and disappointed Tuesday as he made his season debut with the Baltimore Orioles. McCrory pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, but the team didn’t fare as well by suffering a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at St. Petersburg, Fla. “The way I look at it, you have a job to do and that’s go out there and try to get outs,” McCrory said. “It’s disappointing we didn’t win, but I had a job to do to go out there and try to get outs. I’m happy I pitched well, but I was disappointed we didn’t win.”
Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury understands that there is no such thing anymore as a quiet offseason. This year, it seems to be louder than usual. First, junior center Jarvis Varnado applied for early entry into the National Basketball Association draft. Then this past Thursday, Mississippi State signed McDonald’s All-American Renardo Sidney, from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. Now it looks like Mississippi State is on the verge of signing 7-foot-2 center John Riek, of Khartoun, Sudan, via IMG Basketball Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Travis Frembgen was accustomed to being the starting catcher for five years on the Hamilton High School baseball team. But a year after graduating from Hamilton, Frembgen is learning what it means to have patience as a freshman backup catcher to sophomore Dustin Lunn at Itawamba Community College in Fulton. “I’m day-to-day, basically,” Frembgen said. “I didn’t play in many division games, but the guy in front of me does great behind the plate, and he’s a good hitter, also. “I’m just waiting my turn. I know I probably could have started at other junior colleges, but I’m happy I’m here.”
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.
STARKVILLE — Jayson Keel has accomplished quite a bit as a four-year starter on the Starkville High School baseball team. After signing Monday to play baseball at Holmes Community College, Keel knows there is plenty more ahead for him.
MABEN — Caitlyn Williamson knows how to make an exit. Down to what could have been the next-to-last at-bat in her prep career, the East Webster High School standout didn’t go to the plate looking to hit a home run.
MABEN — East Webster High School baseball coach Wes Johnson preached all season to his pitchers about the importance of throwing strikes. The inability to do that Monday cost the Wolverines. East Webster took a 5-1 lead into the seventh inning only to lose to Stringer 7-5 in game two of the Mississippi High School Activities Association best-of-three Class 1A South playoff series.
STARKVILLE — Getting Renardo Sidney on the basketball court at Mississippi State might be more difficult than the Bulldogs anticipated. MSU will use sports attorney Mike Glazier to evaluate Sidney’s amateur status.
By Steve Hancock’s count, the Heritage Academy baseball team was 2-52 in Mississippi Private School Association AAA games the past three seasons. Still, the veteran coach was optimistic heading into his first season in MPSA.
SALTILLO — The New Hope High School baseball team’s magical playoff run added enough highlights Monday night to fill an installment of SportsCenter. Brent Younger and Phillip Tice played the roles of defensive stalwarts, diving to make run-saving plays.
Bob McCrory got an unexpected birthday present this weekend when he learned he will get another opportunity to pitch in the major leagues. The Baltimore Orioles recalled McCrory, 27, on Sunday, and he rejoined the team in Toronto on his birthday.
Even the most talented teams sometimes need a break. The Columbus Severstal Under-12 girls soccer team used two days of championship play and a little bit of good fortune this weekend to win a state title. Columbus defeated the Greenwood Revolution 2-0 in the semifinals and then beat a team from Hattiesburg 2-1 to take the Kohl’s Cup championship in Jackson. The U-12 age division featured 16 of the state’s top recreation soccer teams in an eight-on-eight tournament.
RIDGELAND — Champions make you pay for your mistakes. Whether it is a pitch in the wrong location, an errant throw, or a missed groundball, the East Webster fast-pitch softball team has capitalized all season on miscues by its opponents. The Mississippi High School Activities Association Class A state title series was no different. East Webster took advantage of two critical errors in a five-run third inning Saturday and then rode the pitching of Jessica Halterman to an 8-2 victory against Smithville to clinch the best-of-three series at Freedom Ridge State Park.
Jessica Halterman was in a zone. The East Webster High School senior pitcher was so focused Saturday afternoon she didn’t appear ready to celebrate after recording the final out in an 8-2 victory against Smithville in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A best-of-three championship series. While some of her teammates tossed their gloves into the air, Halterman left the circle and moved toward her team’s dugout. She appeared to mouth the word, “Wow.”
RIDGELAND — The miracle rally turned out to be incomplete. Three singles in the top of the seventh inning by the Hamilton High School fast-pitch softball team gave it hope. Brooke Delaughter and her Loyd Star High teammates ended the Lady Lions’ dream with a bang-bang play. Delaughter retired Caitlyn Atkins on a close play at first base to help preserve Loyd Star’s 3-2 victory in game two of the Mississippi High School Activities Association best-of-three Class 2A state championship series at Freedom Ridge State Park.
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