STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State baseball team's five-run collapse in the ninth inning of Saturday's series finale at Ole Miss did more than secure a season sweep for the Rebels. The loss also put the Bulldogs on the brink of elimination for the postseason.
When Lee Boyd was hired, the New Hope High School baseball program was looking to return to the state's elite. In his six seasons as head coach, the Trojans have climbed back to the top of mountain. Apparently, they plan to stay there. New Hope will face No. 1 Oxford tonight in Game 1 of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State championship series. This team has shown Boyd has built a program with staying power.
STARKVILLE -- Kate Mattox strives for perfection. That is why some parts of the track and field season for this Starkville High School sophomore have been a disappointment. "I really want to always get better," Mattox said. "This season has been difficult. I feel like I haven't performed as well as I wanted to. I was behind some of my personal times. That is really when my sisters and my teammates have picked me up. They have kept me encouraged through the good and the bad times."
It's all going right for Bub McCool. The Vicksburg native had never driven for anyone but his family, aside from an occasional fill-in at major shows. But after last season, McCool teamed with car owner Randy Thompson, whose car was piloted by David Breazeale in 2014. One brand-new chassis and four races into the 2015 Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series, and McCool has three wins.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State senior softball player Julia Echols feels like her team will have a slight home-field advantage this weekend. "We are excited to be going back to ULL," Echols said. "I think we have played well down there. It's close enough that we can have a lot of our fans traveling down there. We are excited to still be playing. "It's a huge advantage. When you go somewhere you haven't been before, you have to get acclimated to the field. This year, we can step in right away and feel at home."
WEST POINT -- There are so many pieces needed to have success in the playoffs. While there was plenty of timely hitting and fielding in the Oak Hill Academy baseball team's second come-from-behind series victory in a row in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AA last week, the Raiders also received two dominating pitching performances to help it win the North State title.
It's time for the New Hope High School baseball team to take the next step. Granted, this one will be the team's toughest. New Hope (24-5) will play for the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State championship for the fourth-straight season. Top-ranked Oxford (31-0) will be the opponent when the best-of-three series kicks off at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Edwin Moak Field in Oxford. Game 2 will be at 7 p.m. Friday at New Hope. If needed, Game 3 would be at 7 p.m. Saturday in Oxford.
WEST POINT -- Frozen between second and third base, Ken Dill knew he better make a decision quickly. If you have seen the Oak Hill Academy baseball team play this season, it shouldn't be difficult to figure out which way Dill decided to go. True to the Raiders' aggressive style of play, Dill went to his right to third base, even though Prairie View catcher Nolan Wharton had scooped the pitch in the dirt and was holding the baseball with Dill in his sights.
OXFORD -- As Ole Miss designated hitter Nic Perkins rounded first base moments after delivering the game-winning single in a stunning, come-from-behind 8-7 win against Mississippi State on Saturday, he turned and saw his teammates running in his direction. As the celebratory victory pile took place just beyond first base at Swayze Field, members of MSU's baseball team slowly walked through and around the Rebels.
HAMILTON -- Ray Weeks never forgot the words. After more than 20 years as a coach, Weeks always kept the advice of Jerry Crowe, his first coaching boss at Bayou Academy in Cleveland, somewhere in the back of his mind to help him stay grounded. "You will know when it is the right time" to step aside," Crowe said, undoubtedly in one of those teaching moments veteran coaches have with young coaches.
OXFORD -- Just throw strikes. It's the mantra Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen has repeated all season. Its importance reared its head in the ninth inning Saturday in Ole Miss' come-from-behind 8-7 victory against MSU in 10 innings. After limiting Ole Miss to three walks and two runs through 8 2/3 innings, MSU walked three in the ninth and allowed Ole Miss to erase a 7-2 lead.
PEARL -- Zabasjia Price didn't think anyone would pass her after getting a great start in the 100-meter hurdles. But when you're competing against the best athletes in the state, you never know what is going to happen, so the best plan is to run as fast as you can to the finish. That's what the West Lowndes High School sophomore did Friday en route to a first-place time of 18.25 seconds to win the state title.
New Hope High School got its postseason wish list granted Thursday night.
HAMILTON -- The Hamilton High School baseball team had its chances Thursday night.
CALEDONIA -- The video says all you need to know about Cassie Obman.
Competing in races on each side of the state on consecutive nights used to be commonplace for dirt track race car drivers, especially for Super Late Model racers.
STARKVILLE -- Twice, Mississippi State outfielders played shallow when Ole Miss shortstop Errol Robinson came to the plate with runners in scoring position during the series opener between the arch-rivals Thursday night.
STARKVILLE -- It took a simple adjustment for Zac Houston to become more comfortable on the mound for Mississippi State's baseball team.
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