CALEDONIA — The lesson was devastating. Like any other senior, Rickey McCollum Jr. wanted to make a mark in his final year in high school.
Jason Clark set a goal to make the state playoffs in his first season as baseball coach at Lamar County High School. Clark has realized that goal, leading the Bulldogs to the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs.
There was a feeling Tuesday at Sammy Fletcher Field that was similiar to three weeks earlier. A feeling that maybe the Columbus High School baseball team could overcome a two-run deficit to beat rival Starkville. Much like the two team’s March 23 meeting, when Columbus’ Nick Durrah and Starkville’s R.J. Johnson dueled on the mound, the Yellow Jackets’ narrow advantage widened without an answer from the Falcons.
STARKVILLE — Some players are scorers. Others can control a game cleaning the backboards or running the point. While Shay Bonner possesses all of those skills, her ability to do a little more — something many aren’t willing to do — helped her realize a goal. The Starkville High School senior girls basketball player’s penchant for diving on the floor for loose balls and getting into the passing lanes for steals are important elements to her game. Those qualities helped put Bonner in position Tuesday morning to sign a national letter of intent to play basketball at Itawamba Community College.
If DeShuni Sanders is experiencing any lingering effects from a concussion, it didn’t show Monday afternoon. The freshman center fielder was instrumental in helping the East Mississippi Community College softball team sweep a doubleheader from Coahoma Community College. Sanders had five singles in seven at-bats, stole four bases, scored four runs and knocked in two runs in the two games as EMCC won the opener 8-0 and the nightcap 22-5.
Johnathan Brandon knew he had to make a change. In middle school and as a freshman in high school, Brandon’s attitude and behavior cost him a lot of chances, including numerous opportunities to play basketball. But Brandon realized he was missing out, so he left behind the “hard-headed” young man he once was and matured into the upperclassman who became a team leader.
Raymond Walters wanted to keep his options open. As a football and a basketball standout at New Hope High School, Walters hoped to attract interest from coaches of both sports and then decide which path he wanted to take.
HAMILTON — Perfection rarely strikes twice. But throwing a perfect game is a little easier when you have the mind-set of a Bulldog.
HAMILTON – Tony Montgomery hoped, and then hoped some more. The East Mississippi Community College baseball coach knows the importance of defense up the middle when you’re building a program, so the prospect of adding a speedy outfielder like Kevin McCartney to his program was exciting.
Ole Miss fans won’t have to pay a tailgate tax for the upcoming football season, but they will have a tighter timeframe for setting up their party tents.
Rumors rippled through the Mississippi State fan base Monday morning, as news broke that head basketball coach Rick Stansbury was in line to be the next head coach at Clemson. False alarm.
STARKVILLE — “Cleaner” is how Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen described his team’s second spring scrimmage Saturday. Just one week after bemoaning the sloppiness of the team’s first full scrimmage, the second-year head coach was pleased on all fronts as most questions following the two-and-a-half hour session were aimed at the offensive line, which paved the way for 251 rushing yards. About the only area Mullen wasn’t pleased with was the return game, which saw fumbles by Chad Bumphis and Brandon Heavens drop points for the offense.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen likes to create mismatches and have playmakers go to work in space. One position that gets overlooked in that is tight end, as players who, depending on scheme, spend the majority of their time on the line of scrimmage blocking defensive ends and linebackers. Speed and athleticism at every position is coveted, but at tight end it can be an equalizer against a secondary that’s locking down receivers. It can also create havoc for linebackers in man coverage, command safety help or require a defensive end to bump him off the line.
STARKVILLE — What started as a pitching duel turned into an error-plagued game that cost Mississippi State a chance for a Southeastern Conference win Saturday afternoon. Mistakes piled up in the late innings to cost Mississippi State in an 8-5 loss to Arkansas at Dudy Noble Field. The mistakes marred a quality start by Mississippi State freshman pitcher Chris Stratton. Arkansas (25-6, 8-3 SEC) claimed the win to set a up a chance for a series sweep at 1:30 p.m.today.
At the beginning of the basketball season, Pickens County coach Russ Wallace believed his team was a year away from contending for a state championship. Wallace experienced a tumultuous offseason when he had to kick two starters and three other players off the team, and he didn’t know how his players would respond.
Prior to the opening tip of the basketball season, the Pickens Academy Lady Pirates set a goal to win a state championship. Pickens Academy coach Wade Goodman and senior forward Callie Minor were confident the Lady Patriots could accomplish the feat after making it to the Elite Eight of the state playoffs the previous two years.
All of the details still need to be sorted out, but mark May 14 as a night of champions. On that evening, Class 5A champion West Point High School will take on Class 6A state champion South Panola at a site to be determined. Louisville High School also could be involved in what would become a jamboree, but the recent decision of LHS football coach and athletic director Brad Peterson to take the head football coaching position at Brandon has left Louisville’s involvement in the event in question.
A dream came true for Stefan Hairston on Friday. Ever since he was a freshman at Columbus High School, Hairston hoped he would mature and progress to realize a chance to play baseball in college. A solid start to his senior season helped Hairston earn an opportunity to play at Coahoma Community College, and he capitalized on it by signing a national letter of intent to attend the two-year school in Clarksdale.
CALEDONIA — Senior Night brought a much needed win for Robin Elmore’s Caledonia Lady Confederates as a big first inning against Starkville provided an early cushion in a 14-4 win Friday. Nine runs allowed by the shorthanded Lady Jackets (5-14), who were without starting pitcher Jadee Sexton and starting catcher Sasha Shurden, labored through the first frame with 10 errors while Caledonia (5-13) took advantage of every mistake to build a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
1. Howland leads strong group of new coaches in SEC COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Holmes will look to add depth for MSU women COLLEGE SPORTS