Fate has smiled on the Hamilton High School baseball team. Now coach Lewis Earnest hopes the Lions can smile back. Those were the some of the words Earnest told his players Wednesday after he learned the Mississippi High School Activities Association Executive Committee upheld the ruling of Executive Director Dr. Ennis Proctor to withdraw the Bruce High baseball team from championship play due to a violation of the 17 inning per calendar week MHSAA pitching rule.
Any drama Wednesday morning ended the moment Danté Oliver entered the Columbus High School library. The Falcons' track and field standout was supposed to have entertained last-minute recruiting inquiries Tuesday night from Mississippi State.
Patience is crucial in the recruiting game. Sometimes it takes student-athletes weeks, if not months, to decide which school is the best fit academically and athletically. Other times, players have to wait until coaches sort out their classes and find out the plans of other recruits so they can take their next step. Josh Tentoni, Tyji Hawkins and Aurby Burdine played the waiting game and came out winners, finalizing their college plans Tuesday night at the Columbus High School Baseball Banquet.
The Hamilton and Bruce high school baseball teams were still waiting this morning for a decision from the Mississippi High School Activities Association to determine which team will get a chance to play for a state title. The MHSAA's executive committee was expected to hear an appeal by Bruce this morning in regard to an apparent rules violation associated with the number of innings a pitcher is allowed to throw in one week. The issue involves Bruce's Caleb Hanley pitching more than the mandated 17 innings in a week per the 2009-10 MHSAA handbook.
STARKVILLE -- Anyone interested in what the Starkville Academy football team will look like in the fall will have a chance to see on Thursday night. The Volunteers will hold an intra-squad scrimmage at 6 p.m. to cap spring practices under first-year Starkville Academy coach Jeff Terrill. The rebuilding project at Starkville Academy has seen a re-worked offense installed with more plays under center and various option plays. Terrill and his staff are still unsettled defensively, but Terrill isn't worried with new personnel and many players featuring on both sides of the ball.
The Hamilton and Bruce high school baseball teams are still waiting on a decision from the Mississippi High School Activities Association to determine which team will get a chance to play for a state title. The MHSAA's executive committee will hear an appeal by Bruce High on Wednesday in regard to an apparent rules violation associated with the number of innings a pitcher is allowed to throw in one week.
The heat didn't bother Danté Oliver and Jelisha Hackman. Forced to return Monday to compete in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A and 6A meets in sweltering conditions, Oliver and Hackman made the most of their opportunities.
CRAWFORD -- Arthur Gillespie wasn't sure if he should wear his three gold medals to school Monday after winning a trio of events and helping East Oktibbeha to a third-place finish at the Class 1A state track meet. Modest, quiet, and unassuming, Gillespie thought it might be overkill because the entire student body would know what he and the Titans did Friday in Pearl. He wore them anyway.
STARKVILLE -- Kala Williams had a tough decision to make about where she'd play college basketball. But when East Mississippi Community College coach Sharon Thompson showed up Monday to Starkville High with a red and black No. 23 jersey, she knew she was home.
Second chances don't come often enough in life. So when Deonata Jethroe tore the anterior cruciate and the medial collateral ligaments in his right knee, he thought his basketball career was "over."
HAMILTON -- In 1903, pitcher Joe "Iron Man" McGinty more than lived up to his nickname when he notched complete game victories in both games of a doubleheader three times in the month of August. Bruce High School senior pitcher Caleb Hanley will probably never get the opportunity to play in the Major Leagues, but his pitching exploits this week certainly qualify him as a prep "Iron Man." Thanks to the arm of Hanley, Bruce has advanced to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A state championship series at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
STARKVILLE -- Looking back on his football career, Chuck Tillery believes his broken ankle was a blessing in disguise. When Tillery suffered the injury in the week of practice prior to Starkville High School's season-opener against Noxubee County, he didn't know it would cost him half his senior season and the extra repetitions needed to show scouts more of his talent. Despite rejuvenating the Yellow Jackets offense when he returned, his lone offer came from Arkansas State.
STARKVILLE -- It didn't take long for Starkville Academy to find a boys basketball coach to replace Clay Stringer. Former Harrison Central High School assistant Chris Lyle was hired as Starkville Academy's coach Friday afternoon. After meeting with athletics director Glenn Schmidt on Wednesday, Lyle accepted the job Thursday night and will begin his first head coaching position just four years into the profession. He replaces Stringer, who accepted the principal position at Hillcrest Christian.
PEARL -- Noxubee County High School's Jasmine Little won the shot put Saturday at the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A State meet. The Class 2A and Class 6A meets also were scheduled, but weather forced all three meets to be postponed until 2 p.m. Monday. The Class 4A girls shot put was one of the few events that was completed. Noxubee County High coach Tyrone Shorter said Little won the event with a throw of more than 36 feet.
It didn't take long for Starkville Academy to find a boys basketball coach to replace Clay Stringer as Harrison Central assistant Chris Lyle was named head coach Friday afternoon.
HAMILTON -- With two perfect games and a pair of one-hitters to his credit, the pressure on Hamilton High School pitcher Dylan Earnest to match or exceed his more recent exploits can often times be overwhelming. That pressure dissipated rather quickly Thursday after Bruce High School uncharacteristically touched the senior lefthander for two first-inning hits -- the second of which was a two-run homer by cleanup hitter Caleb Hanley -- en route to 2-0 lead just four batters into the game. Undaunted by falling behind, Earnest quickly reverted back to his usual form and went on to toss six innings of shutout baseball en route to a 6-2 win in the opening game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A North State series.
Turnovers are devastating in any season. A good team makes you pay for them in the spring, too. Buoyed by a strong running attack, the Noxubee County High School football team capitalized on four turnovers to beat New Hope 28-20 in the spring finale for both teams. The result helped Tyrone Shorter, who was officially approved Monday to replace M.C. Miller as the program's new coach, begin his tenure in style against a Class 5A team that has plenty of returning talent from last season when it advanced to the North Half State title game.
STARKVILLE -- The hectic time period the Starkville High Yellow Jackets have gone through under a new head coach will conclude when they play Brandon and Forest Hill in tonight's jamboree at Jackson's Newell Field. For the past three weeks, the Jackets have beat up each other while trying to learn new systems on both sides of the ball and head coach Jamie Mitchell's practice tempo. The first-year Jackets head coach admits there are "loose ends" that still need to be tied up, but he believes the team is on course with where he wanted it to be heading into tonight's 5 p.m. start.
CALEDONIA -- Sarah Guess thought her track and field season would be finished by now. Before the start of her sophomore campaign at Caledonia High School, Guess targeted reaching the Class 4A North Half State meet. In her second year throwing the discus, she figured that would be an attainable goal. Guess' performance Saturday at the North Half State meet at Pontotoc forced her to re-assess her goals.
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