HAMILTON -- A sweat-stained Jay King flipped the game ball to coach Josh Dowdy as he moved toward the field. Dowdy looked at it and didn't hesitate to toss it back to King. Deservedly so.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy junior right-hander Drew Pellum returned normalcy to the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II baseball playoffs Thursday night. Pellum fired a one-hitter to help Starkville Academy eliminate Heritage Academy 3-0 in a semifinal matchup before a capacity crowd at Volunteer Field.
Jim Hamilton is curious. The Columbus High School boys track and field coach had expectations last week entering the Class 6A, Region 1 meet last week at Tupelo High School.
Ten months is an eternity in athletics. Repetitions in practice and execution in games can help even the youngest player lose the butterflies and learn things she never imagined. It has been 10 months since Central Academy softball coach Sammy Lindsey took the field with a fast-pitch team that featured 11 underclassmen.
Bruce Branch and Neal Henry admit they were wrong. The Heritage Academy and Starkville Academy baseball coaches thought they would see pitching and defense emerge as leading storylines for their Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II playoff series.
STARKVILLE -- Nathan Pugh and the rest of the seniors on the Starkville High School baseball team don't like to think about what's next for them and their coach after this season. They know they're all in this together.
HAMILTON -- Clay Atkins never imagined he would follow in the footsteps of pitchers like Dylan Earnest and Chase Reeves.
HAMILTON -- Alison Atkins and Taylor Hyland are wise beyond their years. The Hamilton High School sophomores have played together long enough and in enough games to think pressure is just another word.
On a night when Starkville Academy had 25 base runners, a defensive play may have saved the Volunteers' season.
When you have been a member of the New Hope High School baseball program for as long as Joe Harvey and Thomas Woodruff, you know inexperience is a relative term.
Tabitha Beard knows how important family is to the New Hope High School softball program.
STARKVILLE -- Leave it to Danny Carlisle to turn a celebratory roast into an entertaining argument where he gets the last word in.
STARKVILLE -- Archrivals Starkville Academy and Heritage Academy have played each other in numerous sporting events through the years. However, one would be hard-pressed in recent memory to find a more important baseball game than the one scheduled for 6 tonight in the opener of a best-of-three series in the semifinal round of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II playoffs at Trip Carson Field in Columbus. The series winner will play next week for the state championship.
Bruce Branch didn't panic. The Heritage Academy baseball coach knew Mother Nature wasn't doing his team or any other squads in the state any favors early in the season keeping it from getting outdoors.
Parker Dunaway had concerns. But as much as Dunaway wanted to have a junior season to remember, he didn't want to disappoint his teammates on the Heritage Academy baseball team. Dunaway also didn't want his track and field efforts to suffer, either, but he still wasn't sure how he would fare returning from an elbow injury.
CRAWFORD -- This isn't the best time of year to ask East Oktibbeha County High School football and track and field coach Randy Brooks to take a fishing trip or to help with a fix-up project.
The South Lamar High School fast-pitch softball team went 5-2 in the final week of the regular season to prepare for the area tournament. South Lamar (30-7, 7-1 area) will play Berry at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Parrish.
STARKVILLE -- Debbie Carlisle knew some information her husband would have love to have known Saturday afternoon. Sitting in the stands on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Carlisle Field, Debbie predicted the Starkville High baseball team was going to turn a double play to escape a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning.
The samurai is back and ready to do some damage. In slow-pitch softball season, Lauren Holifield took to wearing a yellow bandana around her head to signify she and New Hope High School were ready for battle.
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