Lewis Earnest and Jason Cobb feel their teams are ready to make postseason runs. Those journeys will start a day earlier than expected when the Hamilton High School baseball and fast-pitch softball teams begin play today in the opening rounds of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A playoffs. The Hamilton baseball team (16-3) will play host to Broad Street in a doubleheader at 4 p.m., while the softball team (15-8) will play at 6 tonight at East Union.
South Lamar High School baseball coach Lane Wright has seen his team peak at the right time of the season. South Lamar is just 11-17, but has advanced to the third round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A playoffs by sweeping the first two rounds.
STARKVILLE — This time last year, Jamie Mitchell was leading one of the top football programs in the state. But much like he’s shown with resurrection projects at South Tippah, Olive Branch and Itawamba Agricultural, diving into a new situation yields results. He expects the same at Starkville High School— his latest project and coveted job from 10 years ago.
CARROLLTON, Ala. — The Pickens Academy baseball team put itself in a situation without many options early in the season. Three region losses left the Pirates in danger of missing out on their first goal of the season: Making the playoffs. “The losses rallied the team and we knew we had to win out,” junior pitcher Chase Davidson said. Faced with the prospect of seeing their season end too soon, the Pirates responded to help secure their postseason chances.
There are plenty of questions surrounding the status of Rashad Perkins. But Chipola College (Fla.) men’s basketball coach Jake Headrick is certain about one thing. The first-year Chipola coach confirmed Monday night that Perkins, The Commercial Dispatch Large Schools Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Mississippi’s Mr. Basketball, and Southern Mississippi signee will play for the junior college for the 2010-11 school year.
CALEDONIA — Jessica Comer is gearing up for a challenge. The Caledonia High School junior plans to be ready.
KOSCIUSKO — The Caledonia High School girls track and field team won the Class 4A, Division 4, District 4 title Thursday at Kosciusko High School. Caledonia scored 164 points to beat Noxubee County (second, 118 points) and Amory (third, 113). Louisville was fourth with 42 points. Caledonia’s Jessica Comer won individual titles in the 800 (2 minutes, 29 seconds), 1,600 (5:41), and 3,200 meters (12:31). She also teamed with Brooke Lester, Isis Perkins, and Jelisha Hackman to win the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 4:31.
STARKVILLE — Greg Carter thought being the only team in the state to end the season with a win would feel different after years of playoff disappointment. The euphoria from winning the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A state title gave the Starkville High School boys basketball coach a myriad emotions. The victory lifted a burden from Carter’s shoulders and certified his tenure at the school with a tradition-setting run that finally provided the hardware to prove it. But if returning to the court after failing to accomplish all you set out for is difficult, getting over the jubilation of being the best team in the state has proven just as laborious.
STARKVILLE — If there was a more dominant, exciting, and pivotal player than Starkville High’s Rashad Perkins in The Commercial Dispatch coverage area, it might be his alley-oop launcher Edward Townsel. What put Perkins over the top in The Dispatch’s voting process was his performance in the Class 6A state semifinals and final, where he averaged 23 points and 14 rebounds. He set the tone with a Herculean effort of 25 points, 14 rebounds, 13 blocked shots and five steals against Biloxi. The future Southern Miss Eagle didn’t suffer any lag against Rodney Hood and Meridian.
Laura Lee Holman entered her first year in charge of the New Hope High School girls basketball team by setting the bar at a milestone that hadn’t been reached in 18 years. As a former Lady Trojan, she never experienced the joy of lifting a district championship trophye. Many players came before her and finished their New Hope basketball careers in the same fashion. The goal, in all likelihood, was the same New Hope coaches before Holman had set.
WEST POINT — Sometimes, toughness is ingrained in a player. Growing up in a large family of boys and as a self-proclaimed “country girl,” West Point High School point guard Kelsei Ewings has turned what usually is a disadvantage into a weapon. At 5-foot-5, Ewings is used to being one of the shortest players on the court. But while height typically is coveted at every position, Ewings’ blend of speed, vision, shooting, and grit has given West Point coach Jemmye Ann Helms a dynamic weapon the past three years. Ewings averaged 22 points, five assists, four rebounds, and five steals a game this season, leading the Lady Wave to a 17-7 record and a spot in the first round of the Class 5A North Half State playoffs, where they lost to Yazoo City.
WEST POINT — Brook Robinson’s college plans didn’t initially include softball. Instead, the West Point High School senior intended to concentrate on her interest in art in hopes of possibly becoming a graphic designer or illustrator.
LOUISVILLE — M.C. Miller is coming home. The veteran football coach, who had recently accepted the job as head football coach at Harrison Central High School, left the Red Rebels to return to his hometown Louisville Wildcats after the Louisville School District approved the hiring Wednesday night.
New Hope High School baseball coach Lee Boyd was sure to make note Tuesday of his team’s 13-1 record since the end of March after the Trojans beat Saltillo 13-3 to clinch the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Division 2, District 1 championship. Boyd wants everyone to remember there’s a difference between the way the Trojans are playing now and prior to its hot streak. Offensively, the team is more complete and producing clutch hits.
The power of protection is fueling the New Hope High School baseball team. At the heart of the engine, seniors Davis Lee and Jake Smith are doing all they can to help make sure the Trojans realize their goal of winning a state title this season.
Justin Verner had “it” last year. The only problem was he didn’t know how to use his talents in the high school powerlifting world of dead lifts, bench presses, and squats. But the Columbus High School sophomore certainly gets it now, and his reward Saturday was a state title.
CALEDONIA — Fielding, hitting, and pitching are staples of any team’s success. But a fourth ingredient — the ability to mold individual talents for the greater good — often is the determining factor when it comes time to win championships. The New Hope High School baseball team showed again Saturday why it just might have all four elements to make a title run. Blake Roberts, Jake Smith, and Gabe Franks combined on a one-hitter, and Davis Lee went 3-for-4 to lead New Hope to a 7-2 victory against Caledonia.
Tabitha Beard wants to see more of a yes-yes-yes attitude. If the New Hope High School fast-pitch softball coach gets her wish, there’s no reason why the Lady Trojans can’t challenge for a state title. But New Hope is going to have to hit more like it did Saturday to realize that goal. Coming off a one-run loss to Kosciusko on Friday in which it had only five hits, New Hope more than doubled that number in a 9-2 victory against Cleveland and nearly did in a 10-1 victory against Columbus Saturday in the final two varsity games of the New Hope Tournament at Lady Trojan Field.
MACON –– The Central Academy Vikings scored the first three runs of the game and held on to beat Hebron Christian 3-2 in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A, District 3 game Friday. Central Academy (8-5, 8-2 district) scored two runs in the first inning on a two-run double by Ferris McGuire and one run in the second on a single by Trevor Eaves. With the win, Central Academy forced a three-way tie for first place in the district and earned the No. 2 seed in the MAIS Class A state playoffs as a result of a tie-breaker. The Vikings will host Humphreys Academy in the opening round of the playoffs Tuesday and play at Humphreys in Belzoni on Friday.
MACON — Alex Dawkins and Lillian Lindsey have been together this long, so they figured it was only natural to want to extend their careers together for another two years. From Tee Ball to fast-pitch softball to slow-pitch softball, the Central Academy seniors have spent nearly their entire careers together on the same teams. On Thursday, Dawkins and Lindsey finalized the next step of their journeys when they signed scholarships to play softball at East Mississippi Community College.
1. Looney has helped EMCC's offensive line develop COLLEGE SPORTS
2. New recruiting rules help fuel EMCC's success COLLEGE SPORTS
3. MSU volleyball looks to continue progression COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Columbus, Starkville split in basketball HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. MSU women use strong first half to beat Alabama State COLLEGE SPORTS