PEARL –– Starkville High School boys track coach Cleveland Hudson never lost faith in his team’s chances to defend its Class 5A state championship despite consecutive second-place finishes in the division, region and North State meets. That’s because Hudson had Tavaris Tate on his side. Tate accomplished something that had never been done before in Class 5A by winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, and then pulling the 4x400 relay team through to victory as Starkville scored 66 points to overcome second-place Meridian’s 60.
Jasmine Abrams has her eyes set on higher goals. Her two seasons with the East Mississippi Community College women’s basketball team have made those aspirations more realistic. Now the former Columbus High School standout plans to take her game to the Division I level in hopes of taking the next step toward realizing her goal to play professional basketball. On Tuesday, Abrams, a 6-foot forward, signed a national letter of intent to play basketball in the fall at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Christian Dale will get an opportunity this summer to watch some of Major League Baseball’s future stars. In the process, Dale also will get a chance to develop his skills so he might one day reach that level. Last month, the Lee Middle School eighth-grader attended an Under Armour Tryout Event at Zephyr Field in New Orleans. Dale did so well at the tryout that he earned an invitation to an Under Armour Baseball Factory Specialty Training Camp in Cape Cod, Mass.
STARKVILLE — It seems improbable that one team would have two runners with a chance to combine to win seven state championship gold medals? But that’s what can happen Saturday for Starkville High School’s Tavaris Tate and Quartez Rogers at the Class 5A State Meet at Pearl High School.
The University of Mississippi baseball team has been known to unleash its “Power” on opponents the past four seasons. As outfielder Logan Power has driven in runs, it has usually led to success for Ole Miss. Since his arrival in 2006, Power has helped the Rebels to a four-season record of 159-86, trips to three NCAA Regionals, and appearances in two Super Regionals.
COLLINSVILLE — Dustin McWilliams wiped out all of the New Hope High School baseball team’s momentum Thursday night. Wes Stokes will try to finish the job tonight. McWilliams pitched a complete-game five-hitter and West Lauderdale scored six unearned runs in an 11-4 victory in game one of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Class 4A North Half state title series at Jerry Boatner Field. Game two will be at 4 p.m. today in Columbus.
The South Lamar High School softball team established a new standard Tuesday by winning the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Area 10 Tournament.
WEST POINT — East Mississippi Community College baseball coach Tony Montgomery first saw Oak Hill Academy’s Lance Portera as someone who could help the Lions as a outfielder. Montgomery likes Portera’s arm so much he chose to recruit him as a pitcher.
Mississippi State considers the new three-game contract to play South Alabama in football a win-win situation for both parties. Considering the economics and benefits for the Bulldogs, the deal was too good for the school to pass up.
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.
1. Bulldogs make changes in the baseball clubhouse COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Bulldogs add depth by signing Zuppardo COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Heritage Academy's Phillips signs with Birmingham Southern HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. New Hope's Calmes signs with West Alabama HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS