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.
STARKVILLE -- It wasn’t about football or basketball to Travis Outlaw, of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. It was about giving back to his hometown of Starkville. Teaching the game of football was the emphasis for Camp Complete on Friday and Saturday at Starkville High School, and Outlaw returned to his alma mater eager to meet some of his young fans. Even though Outlaw’s sport is basketball, he tries to never miss an opportunity to be visible in his hometown.
STARKVILLE –– The smiles were all the satisfaction that Camp Complete director Willie Gillespie needed. While teaching football was the primary purpose of the camp on Friday and Saturday at Starkville High School, Gillespie hopes the participants had a good time in the process. Gillespie, who played football at East Mississippi Community College and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga before spending three years with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Bucaneers, said the camp was all about making the children of the community feel special.
Tavaris Tate knows he wouldn’t be where he is today running track if it weren’t for the support of his father, Russell Tate. Being close to his father and family was the main reason he chose to sign a track scholarship with Mississippi State. For Mississippi State basketball player Jarvis Varnado, he also values the opinion of his father, West Point High School boys coach Winston Varnado.
Professional basketball dreams don’t have size requirements. If they did, Javon Randolph still would find a way to make an impression. The former men’s basketball standout at Savannah State did just that Saturday night at Columbus High School. Randolph scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half to help the Buford Majic defeat the Tupelo Rock-n-Rollers 99-94 in a World Basketball Association Exposure League game.
Basketball continues to nag at Kendrick Fox and Jason Smith. Even after successful careers at the University of Mississippi, Fox, 25, and Smith, 31, aren’t ready to put their sneakers away for good. That’s why Fox and Smith are keeping their games alive with the Tupelo Rock-n-Rollers in the World Basketball Association Exposure League. Their objective is to make an impression on the basketball court so they can secure an opportunity to play professional basketball overseas or with another league in the United States.
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.
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