WEST POINT — ChyAnne Cunningham already has made a name for herself in Northeast Mississippi. Krista Donald has earned the distinction of being one of the top girls basketball players in the state of Mississippi. Both girls and plenty of others from the area will try to broaden their horizons even more next week when they travel with the Mississippi Hoop Dreams Amateur Athletic Union girls basketball teams to Bloomington, Ind.., for the Adidas Hoosiers Nation Hardwood Championships.
STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State’s athletic department has encouraged its coaches and student-athletes to be visible throughout the community of Starkville. Many sports have followed through with that request from MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne and the administration. The volleyball team takes advantage of one of those opportunities today. The Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to be at the multi-purpose facility at the Starkville Sportsplex from 1-3 p.m. and will volunteer their time to conduct a skills and drills teaching session for the Starkville Boys and Girls Club.
The victory lap just might be the precursor to the dogpile. That thought popped into my head Wednesday night as members of the Columbus Nationals 10-year-old Dizzy Dean baseball team followed each other on a run around the bases at Patterson Field at Propst Park. The team had just received their medals following a 13-3 victory against Clinton that helped it clinch the South Half state title. The scene made me smile.
The summer is the time to reload. That’s why Jeff Smith enjoys spending so many of his hours in the “offseason” helping the basketball players in West Lowndes stay sharp. Smith has been working as an Amateur Athletic Union basketball coach in the area for 12 years. This year, he is coaching a 17-and-under boys basketball team, one of four AAU age-group teams in West Lowndes, and helping those players (and others from local schools) prepare for what could be an even better 2009-10 season.
Former New Hope High School baseball player Lee Boyd is expected to be named the school’s new baseball coach. Boyd, who spent five years as a player in the New Hope High baseball program, said Wednesday he had accepted a job offer to be the Trojans’ new coach. He declined to comment further pending the approval Friday of his hiring by the Lowndes County School Board.
Robert Byrd is looking ahead. After years working to raise the children of other people and toiling as a basketball coach, Byrd said Wednesday it is time for a change. Byrd on Tuesday resigned as boys basketball coach at New Hope High School, citing a desire to spend more time with his family and to focus on the pursuit of a master’s degree.
The answer is a resounding yes. The Columbus Nationals 10-year-old Dizzy Dean baseball team will go to the World Series in Tupelo. The Columbus Nationals took care of the first part of the equation earlier Wednesday night, beating Clinton 13-3 to win the South Half state title at Propst Park.
The timing proved to be perfect for Laura Lee Holman. As a result, the former New Hope High School softball and girls basketball standout likely will return to her alma mater as a coach. Holman last week accepted a job offer to replace Tim Vaughan as New Hope High’s girls basketball coach. Holman’s hiring is expected to be finalized Friday when the Lowndes County School Board convenes its monthly meeting.
Rachel Hollivay isn’t letting a little disappointment slow her down. In fact, the New Hope High School sophomore girls basketball player is using her experiences this summer to take her game to new heights. In May, Hollivay was one of 34 players invited to travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., to attend the team trials for the 2009 USA Basketball Women’s Under-16 National Team.
Mandy Fondren believes there is no place better to learn than close to home. Fondren’s decision to accept a job offer to become East Webster High School’s new girls basketball coach is even more appealing because she grew up in Sherwood, a small community in Choctaw County, and she will have an opportunity to join a school with a tradition-rich athletic department.
Another day didn’t change things enough for Clint Wilkerson and his family. The St. Aloysius High School baseball coach Monday morning declined a job offer to be the new head baseball coach at New Hope High School. Administrators from New Hope High then spoke with Wilkerson later that day and asked him to give them more time to try to work out a better situation for him and his family.
The Columbus Nationals battered opponents to the tune of 47 runs in their first three games in the Dizzy Dean 10-year-old South Half state tournament. After suffering their first loss of the tournament Monday to Clinton, the Columbus Nationals rebounded Tuesday in a big way. Logan Sneed delivered a complete-game effort to help the Columbus Nationals defeat Ackerman 8-4 in the final game of the losers’ bracket. Columbus then benefited from 11 walks in the nightcap to beat Clinton 16-6 in four innings.
The Columbus Crush will attempt to make it three in a row this weekend when it plays in the Mississippi Amateur Softball Association 10-and-under slow-pitch state tournament. The Crush will bid for the title Saturday in Meridian after winning the State Games of Mississippi on June 20 in Meridian and the USSSA state tournament in Philadelphia this past Saturday. Columbus is undefeated in seven games after beating the Grenada Lady Slammers in the championship games of the State Games and the USSSA state tournament.
Former New Hope High School baseball coach Stacy Hester said Monday he won’t appeal the decision of Lowndes County School District Superintendent Mike Halford not to retain him as the school’s baseball coach.
GRENADA –– Prior to playing in the Dizzy Dean 7-year-old South State Invitational, the Columbus All-Stars paid special attention to hitting in practice. It paid dividends as Columbus didn’t lose a game en route to winning the tournament. Columbus averaged 23.3 runs per game in beating Batesville 25-9 on Friday, Grenada 25-10 on Saturday, and Starkville 20-12, and Grenada 23-8 on Sunday.
Momentum is a key ingredient of games at any age level. But Uncle Mo’ is especially important when you’re competing for a chance to advance to a World Series. The Clinton Arrows showed Monday night how crucial getting momentum on their side can be. Parker Lee worked out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first inning to help Clinton preserve a lead en route to an 8-4 victory against the Columbus Nationals in a winners’ bracket game of the 10-year-old Dizzy Dean South Half state tournament at Propst Park.
The Columbus Nationals might be on the verge of putting it all together. One day after delivering a solid defensive and pitching effort, Columbus Nationals’ bats got hot again to help it take a step closer to a title. Tyler Anderson and LaQuinston Sharp hit home runs Sunday to help the Columbus Nationals 10-year-old All-Stars beat Eupora 21-4 in four innings at the Dizzy Dean South Half state tournament at Propst Park.
LUBBOCK, Texas — New inductees from the fourth class of the College Baseball Hall of Fame expressed gratitude Friday for long careers and for the people who helped them achieve college baseball’s highest honor. The Class, which included former Mississippi State coach Ron Polk and former Mississippi State outfielder Rafael Palmeiro, brought the Hall’s membership to 44. In addition to Polk and Palmeiro, the group includes outfielder Joe Carter and pitcher/designated hitter Darren Dreifort (Wichita State), pitcher Kirk Dressendorfer and catcher/utility Keith Moreland (Texas), shortstop Barry Larkin, Michigan; and second baseman Todd Walker (LSU).
STARKVILLE -- Dan Mullen’s idea of a vacation is being able to kick back on the beach and enjoy reading a good book. That’s what Mississippi State’s football coach tried to do as he and his family took a week off from football for a little rest and relaxation. It all changes when Mullen returns to Starkville later this week. He will trade in his novel for the playbook.
EUPORA -- The Starkville Freshman 11-year-old All-Stars were happy to claim an easy win after two high-scoring one-run decisions to open the Dizzy Dean South State Tournament. After losing 19-18 to Grenada on Friday night and beating Louisville 12-11 in the first game Saturday, Starkville had an easier time by knocking off Greenwood 13-3 in four innings. Starkville coach Will McWhorter was happy to see pitchers Cameron Johnston and Matthew Oxford respond with good outings.
1. Mississippi State's Offensive Keys vs. Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Ole Miss gearing up for improved LSU COLLEGE SPORTS
3. MSU's Alwal hopes new habits will pay dividends COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Myles fills needed role without Lewis COLLEGE SPORTS
5. No. 1 MSU gets back to work for Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS