The West Point High School football team lost one of its offensive lineman of the future Thursday when Tyler Wallace passed away in his sleep. An autopsy report has yet to reveal the cause of death of the 15-year old Wallace, who would have been a sophomore on West Point’s football team this fall. “Everybody is doing as well as can be expected,” said West Point coach Chris Chambless. “We were shocked. The response from the community as far as helping and praying has been greatly appreciated.”
The University of Alabama’s Kent Matthes wants to win a national championship. If honors and statistics come his way in the process, that’s fine, but he has bigger plans. That is why it was hard for the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year to accept what happened to the Crimson Tide at the SEC tournament at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. Matthes set the school’s single-season record for home runs in a season (28) with a blast to center field Wednesday night in a 9-5 lost to South Carolina.
University of Georgia baseball coach David Perno can appreciate a good catcher. After playing the position at Georgia from 1989-91 before becoming a coach, Perno understands what it takes to be a catcher. He calls the skills he sees in University of Mississippi senior Kyle Henson “tremendous.”
Steve Hancock hopes the building process will continue this summer. In his first season as baseball coach at Heritage Academy, Hancock guided the Patriots to a trip to the Mississippi Private School Association AAA playoffs and a 10-16 finish. Although Heritage Academy lost to Hillcrest Christian in the first round, Hancock was pleased the program raised its competitiveness and its confidence.
Cloyd Garth said he hasn’t officially submitted his application, but that he would like to remain the Aberdeen High School girls basketball coach. Aberdeen High School Athletic Director Hansel Gunn said earlier this week that the opening for the girls basketball job hasn’t been posted. He said he expects it to be listed in the next few weeks. Still, word of the opening has been circulating on the Internet and through the high school coaching ranks.
Two more New Hope High School baseball players will have opportunities to play that sport in college. Third baseman T.J. Upton and left fielder Josh Ferguson performed well enough Tuesday at a tryout at East Mississippi Community College that coach Tony Montgomery has invited them to join the program Ferguson, who already has signed a football scholarship to attend EMCC, will try to work with the team at least twice a week in the fall to keep his baseball skills sharp.
Johnathan McKenzie received more than a diploma Friday when he graduated from Starkville Academy. In a special presentation at graduation, McKenzie was honored with the Don Souder Award for being the outstanding male student-athlete in the Mississippi Private School Association.
Progress won’t be measured for real until at least three months — and for some teams it will be even longer than that. But Chris Duncan, Bubba Davis, and M.C. Miller all came away impressed Saturday with the performances of their football teams in their spring finales.
HOOVER, Ala. — Chris Curry has returned to the Southeastern Conference Baseball tournament after 10 years. In 1999, Curry played in the event in Hoover, Ala., as a catcher at Mississippi State. Now he’s back as a volunteer assistant at the University of Arkansas.
HOOVER, Ala. — University of Alabama baseball coach Jim Wells thought he got a good enough effort from pitchers Del Howell, Nathan Kilcrease, and Jimmy Nelson to pull out a win Wednesday night against South Carolina. But Wells will need an even better effort today.
HOOVER, Ala. — University of Mississippi’s Drew Pomeranz looked like an All-Southeastern Conference pitcher through five innings Wednesday against Georgia. One swing of the bat in the sixth inning changed that.
Mississippi State freshman left-hander pitcher Nick Routt had a knack for going the route this season. Southeastern Conference coaches thought enough of Routt’s efforts to vote him Tuesday to the All-SEC Freshman Team. Routt was the only Bulldog to make the all-league teams. MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson wasn’t surprised Routt was honored because he had four complete games, all in the SEC.
University of Mississippi junior outfielder Jordan Henry has found a way to steal more bases and Southeastern Conference honors this season. After being named to the All-SEC second-team and earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 2007 and making the SEC All-Tournament team in 2008, the coaches Tuesday voted Henry a first-team All-SEC performer. Henry leads the SEC in walks (49) and with a school-record 33 stolen bases, which has caught the eye of coaches who’ve had to try and slow him down. Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin compares Henry to New York Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon because they bring similar qualities to the game.
Mississippi State Athletic Director Greg Byrne has faith in the basketball coaching staff’s ability to recruit players. Men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury has had a busy offseason, with the signings of McDonald’s All-American Renardo Sidney, 7-foot-2 John Riek, and Wendell Lewis to national letters of intent. They join Shaunessy Smith, a Noxubee County High School senior, who signed with the Bulldogs last November.
Chuck Box and Brad Mitchell might not have won state championships as high school baseball players, but they have made up for it as coaches. Box, a graduate of former Caldwell High School in Columbus, won his third consecutive Mississippi Private School Association Class AAA state title at Jackson Prep on Saturday, while Mitchell, from Starkville, led Ackerman High to its first Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A state championship on Monday. Winning championships is nothing new to Box, who earned a state crown at Itawamba Community College in 1999 and a conference title at Freed-Hardeman University in 1997.
Tom Kelsey knows how to find players that fit his system. When you like to play a 94-foot game like the Belhaven men’s basketball team, a coach needs versatile players who can play multiple roles. Kelsey believes Woodie Howard fits that description. Listed at 6-foot-2, the former Starkville High School product isn’t the tallest player on the court. He’s not the best scorer on the floor, and he won’t dazzle fans with eye-popping dunks. But Howard can do everything a coach asks well, which is why Kelsey wanted Howard to join his program.
STARKVILLE — Hunting used to be a way for Dawn Branton and Kristi Brown to find time to spend with their husbands. Now their time tracking turkeys, deer, and antelope has become so much more. Not only has hunting helped them build a strong friendship, but it also has helped the women achieve a special honor. Last month in the Sierra Madre mountains in Chihuahua, Mexico, Branton and Brown killed their final turkey to complete their World Slams.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State senior catcher Scott DeLoach wasn’t considered much of a factor for playing time when the baseball season began. DeLoach was projected for defensive purposes to spell sophomore Cody Freeman and junior Ryan Duffy. But by the end of the season, DeLoach assumed a bigger role than he had ever dreamed. DeLoach not only played, but he finished the season as Mississippi State’s leading hitter with a .353 batting average.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State freshman starting pitcher Devin Jones had a rough outing against LSU on Saturday afternoon and was pulled after two innings. It wasn’t his final appearance of the day, however. Despite a 15-4 loss to LSU in the final game of the season, which included a 1 hour and 57 minute rain delay, the Mississippi State Bulldogs found a way to have a good time. After giving up six runs on seven hits, Jones probably wished he could’ve found a hole to crawl into and hide. His teammates wouldn’t allow that, however.
If things work out this weekend, Alexis Rack, of the Mississippi State women’s basketball team, will be a little busier this summer than she anticipated. The rising senior guard at Mississippi State is at the USA Basketball National Team Trials at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. East Mississippi Community College women’s basketball coach Sharon Thompson, a former women’s basketball player at MSU, also is in Colorado working as a court coach who is helping work the player in drills.
2. Ole Miss opens season tonight against Boise State COLLEGE SPORTS
3. MSU on guard for Southern Miss passing game COLLEGE SPORTS
4. MSU soccer learns about leadership COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Sisson eager to make first career start at quarterback for New Hope HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS