STARKVILLE — Travis Outlaw looked around the Starkville Sportsplex on Wednesday afternoon and smiled. The Starkville native and member of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers is proud the city has provided such a facility to the community. Outlaw and Ed LeBlanc, his personal coach, took advantage of the facility to focus on specific points of Outlaw’s game to help him prepare rejoin the Trail Blazers. Outlaw will leaves Starkville at the end of August to begin his sixth season in the NBA
The recruiting wars and the college admission process was different for Marcus Dent Sr. Twenty years ago, the former New Hope High School standout didn’t have Internet sites and recruiting services to help check his transcript and to assist him in his preparation for standardized tests like the SAT or the ACT. Still, Dent went on to play tight end at Alcorn State (1989-92) and was on a Southwestern Athletic Conference championship team.
The road to Dizzy Dean World Series titles ended Sunday for two teams from the Golden Triangle. The Columbus Nationals 10-year-old All-Star team lost to Bill Bond Baseball (Pensacola, Fla.), and the Starkville Dawgs 12-year-old All-Stars lost to Irondale, Ala., 7-4. Both elimination games were played at the Tupelo Sportsplex. Columbus defeated Tupelo 14-1 Sunday morning in its first game in the losers’ bracket. LaQuinston Sharp hit two home runs, Tyler Anderson had a single and a double, Thomas Stevens had a single and two doubles, Kyle Cruthirds had two singles, and Logan Sneed had a double to help the Nationals earn their mercy-rule victory.
Barry Howard and Ed Lott have good and bad days like every golfer. As much as Howard and Lott know they could have played better the past three days, their efforts proved good enough to earn them some hardware. Howard and Lott teamed Sunday to shoot a 70 for a three-day total of 205 that was good enough to win the championship flight of the Columbus Classic at the Columbus Country Club.
TUPELO — Opponents of the Columbus Crush might consider wearing protective gear when they’re out on the field. Through 17 games, the traditional approach hasn’t worked, so why not try shin guards and catcher’s masks on the infielders. It couldn’t hurt. With an added layer of protection defenses might be able to beat the Crush.
TUPELO — Curveballs are the bane of many baseball players’ lives. The Starkville Dawgs 12-year-old Dizzy Dean team discovered Saturday just how effective that pitch can be. Deacon Medders and Jake Colburn combined on a five-inning two-hitter to lead the Northport Nationals (Ala.) to an 11-1 victory in the Dizzy Dean World Series at the Tupelo Sportsplex.
TUPELO — The Columbus Nationals learned how to bounce back after a loss at the Dizzy Dean South Half State Tournament. That lesson will be put to the test at the Dizzy Dean World Series. Nick Feenker and Jake Griffin hit home runs Saturday morning to lead the Oak Mountain (Ala.) All-Stars to a 12-2 victory against the Columbus Nationals in the 10-year-old World Series at the Tupelo Sportsplex.
Columbus’ Ed Lott and Barry Howard like where they stand after two rounds of the Columbus Classic, but they are looking over their shoulder a little bit. Even after Lott and Howard shot a 5-under-par 67 Saturday to lead the Championship Flight with a two-day total of 135 at the 6,400-yard, par-72 Columbus Country Club, Brandon Garriga and Josh Martin, of Jackson, are lurking close behind in their drive for their fifth consecutive title.
Roger Shilling and Avery Velek hope to help pave the way for soccer players in Columbus. The 11-year-olds recently were accepted to and competed in the Olympic Development Program Academy Camp at Belhaven College in Jackson.
Everything came together Wednesday for Cade Lott. The Heritage Academy rising freshman combined a strong chipping game with equally solid putting to take first in the 14- to 15-year-old age division at the Pros of Tomorrow Junior Golf tournament at the Tupelo Country Club.
STARKVILLE — A youth basketball camp was so successful in June at the Starkville Sportsplex that the organizers will try it again this month. After 18 children participated in the camp last month, girls director Juliette Weaver-Reese will get the basketballs bouncing again next week after receiving positive feedback. This time she will include the boys with the help of director Richard Hill.
Tim Frasher believed in his Columbus Crush softball players the moment the team came together. But Frasher, who coaches the 10-and-under slow-pitch all-star team, never thought his team would do what it has this summer. The Crush swept four games last weekend in the Amateur Softball Association slow-pitch state tournament to win another championship.
Rory Sneed doesn’t want this weekend to be any different for the Columbus Nationals 10-year-old Dizzy Dean All-Star team. The pageantry of this weekend’s World Series in Tupelo might make Sneed and the team’s other coaches work a little harder to keep their players focused. But Sneed isn’t worried that his players will get caught up in the hoopla surrounding the annual event, which will feature some of the best teams from across the country.
Brandon Garriga and Josh Martin nearly couldn’t make it. Each man wanted to return to Columbus this week to defend their run of four consecutive titles at the Columbus Classic, but life appeared to get in the way. Garriga, a third-year medical student, was smack in the middle of a schedule that has him in a surgical rotation. He and his wife also are preparing for the birth of a daughter next month, so it didn’t look like he was going to be able to travel from Jackson to Columbus to play. But things have a way of working out.
Anthony Colom enjoys working with kids. As a youth coach, the longtime Columbus resident has been involved with the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority for many years. Colom also enjoys football, so he recently decided to put two of his loves together and to work with people of similar interests to help the children of Lowndes County.
The Golden Triangle’s sports standouts of the future are about to get the star treatment thanks to Anthony Colom. The longtime Columbus resident is prepared to bring back his Junior Varsity Magazine next month. The 32-page, glossy sports magazine will highlight youth sports in Clay, Lowndes, and Oktibbeha counties.
Dezmond Sherrod enjoyed being on the sideline watching the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl this past February. But the former Caledonia High School and Mississippi State tight end doesn’t want to settle for being a member of the Steelers’ practice squad this season. Sherrod will report to the Steelers’ training camp July 31 with the intention of impressing Pittsburgh’s coaches and to make the team.
Oliver Miller has taught and trained thousands of athletes in karate in 35 years as an instructor. The common thread for all of his pupils who have succeeded is a willingness to work on the details and to spend extra hours perfecting their skills. Their ages might not reflect it, but Deairyus Conner, Kenyan Buckner, and William Luciano have invested that much time working on karate.
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.
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.
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4. MSU, Alabama, Ole Miss women fall in SEC Tournament COLLEGE SPORTS