Davis Lee and Nick Durrah are changing before their coaches eyes. This past season, Lee and Durrah played key roles for the New Hope High and Columbus High baseball teams, respectively. Those roles figure to be even bigger next year when Lee and Durrah dress out for their senior and junior baseball seasons, respectively. Lee and Durrah showed Thursday that the work they’re doing this month with their Dizzy Dean team is helping them prepare for their new roles.
Philip Tice was back on his home turf Thursday night. But the New Hope High School rising senior is showing more and more people that he is at home whenever and wherever there is a baseball diamond. Tice arrived home about 4 a.m. Thursday with the rest of his teammates who represented the state of Mississippi at the Junior Sunbelt Classic in McAlester, Okla.
STARKVILLE — Starkville Academy had a winning fast-pitch softball season this past fall, but the players and coach Randy Haynes believe it could have been much better. As the Lady Volunteers prepare for this season by playing in the High School Summer League at the Starkville Sportsplex, they hope to learn the little things that will help them turn close losses into wins. Starkville Academy pitcher Lyndsey Haynes, daughter of the coach, knows a better start in games will go a long way to helping the team produce positive results.
STARKVILLE â€” The 30th annual George Evans Memorial Softball Tournament will be much about memories. Emphasis will be placed on those who have passed away recently and who has made an impact on the tournament through the years. The tournament, which will be June 26-27 at the Starkville Sportsplex, is named after the late George Evans, who was a member of the Deacon and Trustee Boards at Second Baptist in Starkville and was a leader in the city, county, and state.
STARKVILLE â€” The staff at the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum want to make sure the memory of former Negro League baseball player and Starkville native James â€śCool Papaâ€ť Bell isnâ€™t forgotten. On the suggestion by The Greater Starkville Partnership, the museum has put together a lasting tribute to Bell.
Coming out of high school, Jay Johnson was good enough in the eyes of Lou Holtz to play football at Notre Dame. Johnson signed with Notre Dame after playing on back-to-back undefeated state championship teams at Starkville High School, and went on to letter as a receiver from 1997-2000. Nine years after donning the gold helmet of the Irish, Johnson again is good enough in the eyes of Holtz to represent Notre Dame on the football field.
Darryl Wilson isn’t as quick and can’t jump as high as he did 13 years ago. But the stroke that made him a three-time All-Southeastern Conference shooting guard at Mississippi State is still there. And, like most shooters, when you challenge him that stroke becomes red hot. Wilson, 35, is rekindling his scoring touch with the Tupelo Rock-n-Rollers in the World Basketball Exposure League.
STARKVILLE — The Pickens Academy Dizzy Dean baseball team, of Carrollton, Ala., looks at any opportunity to play this summer as a learning experience. The chance to come to Mississippi and play a Class 5A program like Starkville High School is an added bonus. Pickens Academy bounced back from a 5-3 opening-game loss to beat Starkville 10-3 in a six-inning second game to gain a doubleheader split.
Baseball players never stop growing. For Ben Fleming, Brent Hallmark, and Garrett Harris, there is no better place to learn more about the game they love than close to home. The three former New Hope High School standouts are teammates on the Golden Triangle Jets in the Cotton States Baseball North Division. The former Trojans have helped the Jets get off to a 2-3 start in the inaugural season for the four-team wood bat league.
STARKVILLE — Chase Taylor knows he can be better. If the past two months are any indication, Taylor could start hitting the scores he’s looking for any time now. On May 2, the New Hope High School golfer won the 14- to 15-year-old group at the Optimist Club tournament at the Mississippi State Golf Course. The victory earned him a chance to play today and Tuesday in the district tournament in Meridian. The winner will go to West Palm Beach, Fla., to play in the International tournament in July
STARKVILLE — Starkville sprinter Tavaris Tate is used to living in the fast lane. On the track, it takes Tate seconds to run the 400 meters or his leg of the 4x400 relay. Off the track, Tate’s preparation and travel schedule keeps him on the go. Since helping Starkville High School to its second consecutive state championship, Tate has participated in the Atlanta-DeKalb International Prep Classic in Atlanta, Ga., and the Sports Authority Great Southwest Classic at Albuquerque, N.M.
STARKVILLE — The Hamilton High School Dizzy Dean baseball team used an “Earnest” effort Thursday to get a victory at Starkville Academy. Dylan Earnest had seven strikeouts and two hits and Ethan Earnest added two hits to help the Lions defeat the Volunteers 10-5. The umpires stopped the second game of the doubleheader in the third inning when a bank of outfield lights wouldn’t come on. Baseball is a family affair at Hamilton with brothers Ethan and Austin Earnest and cousin Dylan Earnest.
Mark Hysaw knows what the older player in the Columbus High School baseball program can do. Hysaw has coached rising seniors Avery Ford, Tyji Hawkins, and Josh Tentoni as they have moved through their middle school years into the twilight of their high school careers. That’s why Hysaw is excited to see what those players can do in their final go-around with the Falcons. Ford and his teammates continued their strong showing Thursday night with 16-6 and 14-4 five-inning victories against Starkville in Dizzy Dean action at Sammy Fletcher Field in Columbus.
STARKVILLE — Willie Gillespie wants to educate young people of the community about the sport of football. With the help of some of his friends, Gillespie is set to do that with Camp Complete on June 19-20 at Starkville High School.
I didn’t know Don Foster well. There were plenty of times in my first year as sports editor I saw Don at high school or college events. We never did get too chatty with each other, but we did say hello and then went about our jobs in our own ways. But now that Foster, who died Monday at his home in West Point, is gone, I will remember one event we covered more than any other.
STARKVILLE — The love of Starkville led Matthew Rye through an open door at the Starkville Parks and Recreation department in 2005. After four years with the department, Rye gets the opportunity to lead. Rye assumed the position as parks and recreation director June 1 after Clark Roman retired.
Rachel Dees, Cheng Ye, and Rick Deaton combined to win 21 first places May 23-24 to lead the Mississippi Shockwave Aquatics team to the overall title at the Tunica Summer Invitational in Tunica. Dees, who competed in the girls 13- to 14-year-old age group, won eight events, while Ye won seven events in the boys 11-12 division and Deaton took six first in the boys 13-14 bracket.
Jake Reeves, Bobby Merryman, and Sarah Pevey can’t wait until July 10. The confidence the three athletes gained Friday at the Chaos in Columbus Mixed Martial Arts event at the Trotter Convention Center should serve each competitor well next month when they take the next steps in their amateur careers. Fighting for Relentless MMA, Reeves (2-0) earned a first-round submission victory against Lee Franklin, of Jackson. He used a rear-naked choke hold to end the fight in 58 seconds.
STARKVILLE -- Ben Thebaud, of the Starkville Academy Dizzy Dean baseball team, uses his speed and athletic ability to his advantage. As a wide receiver and defensive back in football at Starkville Academy, Thebaud has been known to make something positive happen for the Volunteers. It was his play on the baseball field that helped Starkville Academy come from behind and defeat Starkville High School 13-10 in a four-inning second game of a Dizzy Dean High School doubleheader Monday night. The Volunteers earned a sweep by also beating the Yellow Jackets 10-4 in the opener.
Jeff Hunter doesn’t aspire to be a professional baseball coach. The former New Hope High School and Mississippi State pitcher also is hesitant to become a high school baseball coach. But Hunter’s love for the game couldn’t keep him away from the Cotton States Baseball League. On Tuesday, Hunter will take the field as coach for the Golden Triangle Jets when the team plays its first two games of the Cotton States Baseball League - North Division’s inaugural season.
1. Pickle takes over as New Hope football coach HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. MSU men hit unlucky 13 for second year in a row COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Close games have helped New Hope girls find focus HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Rally helps send Ole Miss' Henderson out a winner COLLEGE SPORTS