The Lamar County softball tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at South Lamar High School in Millport, Ala. But after a tragic car accident Monday took the life of South Lamar seventh-grader Madison Orr, South Lamar coach Tony Seals doesn’t know when the tournament will be played.
STARKVILLE — Football has always been in Jody Wright’s blood. From winning three state championships in his playing days at Pickens Academy to playing at Jacksonville State University in Alabama to coaching at Jacksonville and Mississippi State, Wright has always found a way to keep the game a part of his life.
There wasn’t a defining pop. A piercing pain didn’t course through the elbow. Instead, Blake Roberts saw a dispiriting loss in velocity on his fastball and control that signaled something wasn’t right.
CALEDONIA — Justine Jenkins won’t lie. The Caledonia High School standout wanted to play softball in college but she didn’t know if she was good enough. It wasn’t until Jenkins started to relax and to have fun on the softball field that her confidence blossomed.
STARKVILLE –– Saturday was like Christmas morning for Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen. By the end of a two-and-a-half hour spring workout, it began to feel a little that way with a cool front blowing through. Mullen was anxious to watch the film of what the Bulldogs had just done on the practice field so he could find out which players were ready to contribute.
Defensive lineman Pernell McPhee has looked like a man among boys the first three days of Mississippi State spring football practice. McPhee’s 6-4, 270-pound frame was impressive enough without pads, but when the Bulldogs put them on for the first time Saturday, he really had the appearance of a giant. The former Itawamba Community College player, from Pahokee, Fla., could probably play in the National Football League right now. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is glad to have him on his side, even if it’s only for two seasons.
STARKVILLE –– The Starkville Yellow Jackets experienced another walk-off victory at home on Saturday afternoon. For the New Hope Trojans, it was a another disappointing loss. After Blake Dawkins singled in the winning run last Tuesday to help Starkville defeat Tupelo 3-2, it was R.J. Johnson’s turn to do the same. This time the game-winning hit came in the 10th inning as Starkville beat New Hope 2-1.
Bad things aren’t happening once a game this season for the Columbus High School baseball team. In some cases, like in Columbus’ 16-6 victory against West Point in five innings Saturday afternoon, the Falcons make enough positive things happen to outweigh the negatives. But the momentum doesn’t last. In other instances, like in a 12-2 loss in five innings to South Panola on Saturday night, the Falcons can’t overcome mistakes that seem to snowball out of control.
STARKVILLE –– Starkville High School wide receiver Kasey Akins played the waiting game to make sure he found the right place for him to continue his football career. More than a month after watching two of his teammates sign scholarships on National Signing Day, Akins has made his choice. Akins decided to take his talents to Harding University in Searcy, Ark., and made it official on Friday by putting his name on the dotted line.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State junior second baseman Jet Butler said one thing has given the Bulldogs problems on the road. “We haven’t been able to execute our game plans, but we’ll get better,” Butler said. “We’ll keep scratching and clawing.” MSU faces another road challenge this weekend when it travels to Arkansas for a series of games at 6:30 p.m. today, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday. The Bulldogs (14-10, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) haven’t had the kind of start they wanted in coach John Cohen’s first year, mainly due to a 1-8 record in road and neutral-site games.
STARKVILLE — Jarvis Varnado still hasn’t decided if he will return for his senior season with the Mississippi State men’s basketball team. Varnado will explore the possibility of leaving Mississippi State and turning professional. Varnado and MSU coach Rick Stansbury met Thursday, but no decision was made. Stansbury said there is no rush because the deadline for early-entry candidates to apply for the NBA Draft is April 26.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State punter Baker Swedenburg probably doesn’t mind a three-hour practice one bit. The work gives the former Heritage Academy player more time to prove himself on the field. After signing with the Mississippi State football team in 2008, Swedenburg, of Columbus, sat out a grayshirt year that enabled him to enroll as a part-time student and to keep his four years of eligibility. Swedenburg finally made it to the practice field Tuesday when the Bulldogs kicked off spring practice. He was back on the field Thursday for the second workout.
Lil’ Wayne and Lump proved to be a difficult tandem to contain Thursday night. It’s a good thing, too, because the Caledonia and West Lowndes High School baseball teams could have played all night. Better known as Demetrius and Devin Malone, the Panthers played key roles in the bottom of the ninth inning to help West Lowndes earn a 5-4 victory.
The bar has been set higher. The Mississippi State women’s basketball team’s mission for the 2009-10 season is to live up to those standards. “It will be up to them,” MSU coach Sharon Fanning said Thursday. The Lady Bulldogs will begin individual workouts next week that they hope will help set the tone for next season. That season has the potential to be the best in the program’s history, not just in victories but in the deepest move into the NCAA tournament.
STARKVILLE â€” March Madness ended early for the Mississippi State basketball teams. But Jerald Harkness was in Starkville on Tuesday to celebrate the spirit and the history of the MSU menâ€™s basketball program and the NCAA tournament.
Among the 75 or so spectators at Mississippi Stateâ€™s first day of spring football practice on Tuesday were coach Dan Mullenâ€™s wife, Megan, and his 1-month-old son, Canon. Canon was born Feb. 13 and the smile canâ€™t be wiped from coach Mullenâ€™s face whenever he talks about his son.
Itâ€™s time to move on. As much as University of Mississippi football coach Houston Nutt would love to enjoy the fruits of a 9-4 season that ended with a six-game winning streak and a victory against Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl, heâ€™s ready for another ride.
STARKVILLE â€” Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen is looking for players who will give a consistent effort every time they step on the field. If Cohen can get that effort from a freshman, he will go that route. On Wednesday night against the University of Memphis, two MSU freshmen showed they could be a key to the programâ€™s future.
Sharon Fanning already is thinking about the 2009-10 season. One of the first jobs Fanning took to prepare for next season was to watch Mississippi State’s 64-58 loss to Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Monday again. The veteran MSU coach knew the outcome wasn’t going to change. She also knew her confidence in her players wasn’t going to diminish one bit.
STARKVILLE –– It has been a long seven months for Mississippi State offensive lineman Tobias Smith, of Columbus. After breaking his left leg during two-a-days and having surgery last August, Smith went through rehabilitation and rejoined the Bulldogs for the first day of spring practice Tuesday. MSU coach Dan Mullen was happy Smith could be a part of his first practice in Starkville. Smith a graduate of Columbus High School, was excited to get back on the field, even if it was just a practice.
1. Mullen's 2014 squad has homegrown flavor COLLEGE SPORTS
3. New Hope's Davis excited about opportunity at South Alabama HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Walters, Oswalt back together to play catch HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS