The West Point High School softball program continues to build. After taking over as West Point’s fastpitch coach last season, Libby Forrester saw the Lady Green Wave go from two wins to eight in the spring, while the junior varsity won 12 games. Although the varsity didn’t achieve a winning season, Forrester sees progress being made. Forrester has taken advantage of the high school summer softball league offered by the Starkville Park and Recreation Department, and it was able to get her younger players some experience.
Hebron Christian softball coach Cass Tapley believes he has a good team that’s getting better. The high school summer league that was held at the Starkville Sportsplex has helped that along. For a program that has only been in existence for six years, the Lady Eagles have fastly become competitive. Tapley, who became the coach at Hebron last year, thinks his squad can be better than in 2008 when it was 13-7 and won the district championship with a 9-1 mark.
Bigger doesn’t necessarily always mean better. Take the Dizzy Dean High School World Series in the Golden Triangle this past weekend for example. Althoough the World Series consisted of only 17 teams, Dizzy Dean Baseball officials Richard Ellis and Stacy Hester were pleased with the results. Although the response was the lightest in the seven years the Golden Triangle has hosted the World Series, the spirit and competition remained strong.
There is something to be said for togetherness. The way Johnny Suggs sees it, this just might be the year for the Caledonia 10-year-old All-Stars to compete for a title. Caledonia will be one of 16 teams that will begin play Friday at Propst Park in Columbus in the Dizzy Dean Baseball South State Tournament. The five- to six-day event also will feature teams from Columbus (Americans, Nationals), Starkville, Louisville, West Point, and Hamilton.
Playing seven games in four days can be taxing on a pitching staff. Ridgeland High School coach Brian Rea was glad he had an ace in the hole with Michael Posey. Working on two-days rest, Posey took the mound for Ridgeland on Monday and pitched six strong innings to help the Titans beat Kosciusko 6-1 in the championship game of the Dizzy Dean High School World Series at New Hope High School. It was a repeat for Ridgeland as it defeated New Hope to capture the title last year.
Jarrett Jenkins reaching and stealing bases. Stephen Joe driving in runs. Those things have become a common sight for Ridgeland High School at the Dizzy Dean High School World Series. After losing its first game of the World Series to Center Hill on Friday, Ridgeland has come back to win five-straight games, including beating Neshoba Central 13-2 in the semifinals Sunday.
During the 2008 Dizzy Dean High School World Series, Kosciusko finished one win shy of reaching the championship game by losing to New Hope in the semifinals. But on Sunday night, Kosciusko had what it took to make it to this year’s championship game by beating Holmes County, of Bonifay, Fla., 16-6 in six innings at New Hope High School’s Trojan Field. It was the second year in a row for Kosciusko to eliminate Holmes County from the World Series.
EUGENE, Ore. -- Starkville sprinter and Mississippi State signee Tavaris Tate rallied to take the victory in the finals of the 400-meter dash at the United State’s Track and Field Junior Championships on Sunday afternoon. Tate’s winning time of 46.04 seconds was better than Joey Hughes at 46.26 and Clayton Parros at 46.88. By winning the USA event, Tate has qualified to participate at the National Junior Championships in Trinidad next month.
STARKVILLE –– Starkville Academy has entered unchartered waters in the Dizzy Dean High School World Series. After winning Pool D and moving on to the championship round today at New Hope, it’s an experience the senior Volunteers seek to use in a positive way. “We’re getting closer as a team,” Starkville Academy pitcher Will Fuller said. “Everybody is getting better at their positions and it’s coming together. We’ve improved our game a lot.”
New Hope was sitting pretty with a 7-0 lead going into the fourth inning against Ridgeland on Saturday night in game three of the Dizzy Dean High School World Series. But Ridgeland rallied with 16 runs the next two innings to beat New Hope 16-10. Ridgeland scored 12 runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by three home runs.
With only a few days to regroup and rest after a grueling camp at Delta State University, the Columbus Falcons encountered the effects of sweltering heat and potent offensive opponents in the Dizzy Dean High School World Series on Friday. Columbus lost 10-3 to Center Hill and 9-5 to defending Dizzy Dean World Series champion Ridgeland on the opening day of the tournament. Columbus coach Jeff Cook was well aware of the difficulties of keeping his team on task during the World Sereis..
CALEDONIA -- Two of the seven pools of the Dizzy Dean High School World Series were decided in back-to-back games at Caledonia High School on Saturday afternoon. After Center Hill defeated Caledonia 10-0 to win Pool E, Gulfport won Pool G by knocking off the Confederates 7-1. It has been a successful return to the area so far for Gulfport coach Tim Dowdy, a former assistant baseball coach at New Hope. After losing 12-0 to New Hope on Friday, Gulfport came back to beat Center Hill 5-3 and Caledonia on Saturday.
STARKVILLE -- Michael Brown is comfortable in his role as an umpire on the baseball field. After playing baseball at Mississippi State and in independent leagues, Brown was looking for ways to stay around the game. Brown returned to school at Mississippi State and was looking for a way to make some extra money. That’s when Starkville High School assistant coach Reggie Campbell stepped in.
Richard Ellis is optimistic about the future of the Dizzy Dean High School Baseball World Series. But for now, the national director of Dizzy Dean Baseball is dealing with a decline in numbers at the World Series. The Golden Triangle began hosting the World Series for the fifth time in six years today and the numbers are at an all-time low The World Series started two weeks earlier than in the past with just seven host sites and 17 teams.
The timing of the State Games in the Meridian and other conflicts have kept many teams away from the Dizzy Dean High School World Series with only 17 participating this year. Even though the State Games has had an impact on Ridgeland’s team, it still realizes the importance returning to the Golden Triangle to defend its championship. Ridgeland defeated New Hope in the championship game last year and coach Jerry Dupuy, a former Mississippi State pitcher, is excited about bringing the team back for a chance to repeat.
Dixon credits the support of his community for being able to bring Holmes County High School, of Bonifay, Fla., to the Golden Triangle for the second year in a row to play in the Dizzy Dean High School World Series. “They take care of us down there,” said Dixon, who has been the baseball coach at Holmes County High School for 19 years. “Our people in our town go way above and beyond what they probably should to make sure we can operate our program the way we need to.”
As an amputee with a prosthetic leg, it would be easy for Ronnie Richardson to have a negative outlook on life. But through the strength of Christ, Richardson has discovered he has reason to live each day with a positive outlook on life. The 41-year old Richardson, a diabetic who lost his left leg in 2005 because of an infection, has reason to be grateful by being able to coach baseball. Richardson has been able to stay close to the game he loves as a coach in the Columbus-Lowndes Park and Recreation Authority’s Dizzy Dean 11-12-year old baseball league.
Don’t tell Starkville sprinter Tavaris Tate that he only has to finish in the top five of the 400-meter dash to advance to the Junior Pan-American Games in Trindad next month. Tate won’t be satisfied unless he comes out on top when he competes in the event Saturday and Sunday at the United States Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. The premliminaries will be Saturday and the finals Sunday.
Baseball fans will have their share of entertainment this weekend. The Dizzy Dean High School World Series will hold its annual pre-tournament banquet at 6 p.m. today at the Trotter Convention Center.
MERIDIAN –– Members of the Comer family, of Caledonia, caught the attention of State Games of Mississippi officials when their names kept showing up on the list of participants and medalists from various sports. Jessica Comer, 16, claimed the gold medal in the 15- to 19-year-old division of the 5-Kilometer Run with a time of 21 minutes, 16 seconds. Right on her heels was her sister, Anna, 18, with a time of 25:13. In between the girls was their younger brother, Jonathan, 13, who finished fifth in the 10-14 division with a time of 24:18.7. Youngest brother Caleb, 10, would have been in the mix as well, but he was involved in the State Games Soccer competition while his siblings were running.
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