Dillon Hawkins stared ahead, exhaled, and gave himself a quick pep talk Saturday evening on the mound, one that helped the New Hope High School baseball team force a third and final game in its third-round playoff series against Ridgeland. With the bases loaded, Hawkins kept Southern Mississippi signee Nick Johnson in the on-deck circle by striking out Mark Varnado for the final out in a 5-1 win.
It's not that the pitch was high. It just wasn't high enough. Carla Avant reached down with her bat to get under D.J. Sanders' riseball in the sixth inning, sending it over the left-center field fence to give Lake Cormorant a lead it didn't surrender in final game of a best-of-three fast-pitch softball series Saturday afternoon against New Hope High School.
Senior Tyler Farnham stood in the breezeway at Trip Carson Field, facing the baseball diamond where his high school career ended just minutes earlier. His eyes, still watery, focused on nothing in particular. After several minutes, his hands moved to his hips and his body hunched slightly, the signs of nearly seven hours of baseball that ended the wrong way.
STARKVILLE -- Six individual champions were crowned and one relay team from the area earned North State titles Saturday at the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A/6A North State meet at Mississippi State.
HAMILTON -- The Hamilton High School baseball team showed the late-inning magic Saturday it hopes will carry it back to Trustmark Park for a chance to win a state title.
HOUSTON -- Austin Halford hit a solo home run to send the game into extra innings, and Scott Johnson executed a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the ninth Saturday to send the East Webster High School baseball team to a 4-3 victory against Mantachie in Game 2 of their best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A North State playoff series.
HAMILTON -- Lewis Earnest sat in a deer stand as a cell phone vibrated in his pocket.
Junior Rachel Hollivay wants to end her career at Heritage Academy with a girls basketball state championship.
Call Jared Shelton selfish. You also can describe the New Hope High School baseball team's senior infielder as a leader, always prepared to add to his list of gameday heroics.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School's first chance to play host to a North State track meet won't be on its campus, but make no mistake: It's a home meet. The Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A/6A North State meet will take place Saturday at Mississippi State's Carl Maddox Track facility.
MACON -- Depending on the season, sports talk in Noxubee County typically veers toward high school football or basketball. But the Noxubee County High School boys and girls track and field teams are doing their best to get people talking about their success.
MACON -- Seniors have a keen eye for detail. So even though Kendall Taylor is standing down the left-field line, more than a few hundred feet away from a billboard that displays the years and titles won by previous Central Academy teams, she knows the sign is incomplete.
STARKVILLE -- Kamau Bostic is leading Starkville High School's charge to another boys track and field state title. The junior distance runner logs the most minutes on the track as a miler, half-miler, and as a member of the 4x400-meter relay team.
STARKVILLE -- Every coach likes to see the heart and soul of his football team get a shot to play at the next level. An emotional leader and example of sacrifice and intensity, Starkville Academy's Matt Ward was rewarded for a breakout season with an offer to play at Mississippi College.
STARKVILLE -- Ty and Hayden Hendrix aren't the first family members to play baseball together at East Webster High School. The cousins want to be the latest to lead the Wolverines to a state title.
Yolanda Moore knew this day would come. She just didn't know when it would be. At 3:30 p.m. today, the words of former University of Mississippi women's basketball coach Van Chancellor likely will reverberate in Moore's head when she is announced as the new girls basketball coach at Heritage Academy.
MABEN -- The response to tragedy was natural. The baseball and softball teams of East Webster High School had sports put into perspective when a powerful tornado -- one of dozens across Mississippi and Alabama -- ripped through the Cumberland community and left their school in rubble.
STARKVILLE -- Last season, Swayze Hollenhead made a difficult position switch she knew was coming. For the first two years of her high school career at East Webster, she starred at third base and helped lead the Lady Wolverines to a pair of Class 1A state titles.
GREENWOOD -- The Heritage Academy golf team was up for the challenge. Stalled by rain and soggy conditions Tuesday at Greenwood Country Club, the Patriots fought off the elements and the hunters en route to a score of 318 that was good enough to win the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools AAA championship.
Pitchers often are put on a pedestal. Right-handers can be referred to a left-handers, and lefties have a special way of doing things that makes them unique. Those qualities are magnified in fast-pitch softball, especially at the elite levels of Division I, where pitchers usually are asked to do one thing: Pitch. Lauren Holifield and D.J. Sanders are breaking that mold.