Chase Davidson has seen Brach White make a difference in two years as the Pickens Academy baseball coach. Pickens Academy is 40-10 in two years, including 17-6 and making it to the second round of the Alabama Independent School Association Class AA state playoffs this season. "We've won 40 games in two years compared to us winning nine games in three years before he came so he's definitely helped us out," Davidson said. "He's taught us a lot about the game. "He keeps us fired up. He doesn't let us quit."
Athletes from West Point and Aberdeen Friday were recognized as players of the year, during a Dispatch party to celebrate the launch of a new sports magazine, Sports Review.
STARKVILLE -- Change is something Starkville Academy athletics became used to in 2009-10. Win-loss records, experience, head coaches, confidence, spirit -- all were affected greatly by a down year in boys athletics. The football and basketball programs managed one win between both seasons.
PEARL -- The approach is the same regardless of how many are out. It just so happens that two was the magic number Wednesday for the Richton High School baseball team. As a result, the Rebels will have to clear another space in their trophy case.
PEARL -- Pitchers don't always take the adage "you can't break a plane of glass" as a source of pride. Kameron Mills didn't mind Wednesday that the radar gun at Trustmark Park might have had difficulty measuring the speed of some of pitches.
HAMILTON -- Dylan Earnest and Chase Reeves want to write a different ending. For the past three seasons, Earnest and Reeves have seen their Hamilton High School baseball seasons end on the wrong note. In 2007, Hamilton lost to Gulfport St. John in two games in the Class 1A State title series. In 2008, Richton defeated Hamilton 6-5 in game three to take the Class 2A crown.
PEARL -- For three and a half innings Tuesday, the Hamilton High School baseball team looked like a squad that was going to defy the odds. Not only did the Lions put the controversy with Bruce High School behind them, but they also used a strong start by Dylan Earnest to quiet the Richton High School bats and take an early two-run lead. But one of the most unusual sequences in recent state title series history helped the Rebels tie the game and changed the momentum to put the Lions' season in jeopardy.
STARKVILLE -- With track and field season completed, Shay Bonner can look back on a prep career filled with multiple state meet memories. The Starkville High senior earned second- and third place laurels a year ago in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, respectively, and followed that with duplicate results in both events this year. Bonner felt her chances to win the 100 would be greater this year because she'd significantly improved her speed. She also ran a leg on the Lady Jackets' 4x400 and 4x200 relay teams.
It's all in the attitude for Demetrius Malone. The West Lowndes High School senior didn't like the prospect of having to settle for his team's first loss of the season, especially in a game he thought it should have won. Instead of accepting defeat, Malone went to West Lowndes coach Herman Peters and told his coach he was going to do something about it.
STARKVILLE -- Jameika Hoskins admits she doesn't talk much. While other players slap teammates on the back and create a lot of noise on the court, Hoskins takes a stealthier approach. The Aberdeen High School senior guard/forward always has preferred to let her playing do the talking. This season, Hoskins continued to become more of a vocal presence and a leader on the court. Those qualities helped her lead the team in scoring (21.7 points per game) and to a 24-3 record.
STARKVILLE -- Edward Townsel's recruitment came to a close Thursday when the Starkville High School point guard signed with Arkansas State. Townsel led Starkville to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A and Grand Slam championships this season, averaging 18.8 points, 7.9 assists and 4.5 steals per game. He had scholarship offers from Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, Rutgers, Louisiana Tech, Troy and Tennessee-Chattanooga.
STARKVILLE -- The rain held off long enough for Starkville Academy to have its intra-squad scrimmage Thursday, capping the team's first spring practice period under head coach Jeff Terrill. For roughly four hours, thunderstorms blanketed the area and threatened to postpone the scrimmage. Even Terrill said it was "doubtful" the Volunteers would scrimmage two hours before the 6 p.m. start. Quarterback Kyle Henson said he sent Terrill a text message inquiring about the scrimmage as he and his teammates were anxious to play.
STARKVILLE -- Coaching two soccer programs, owning a business and having five children is quite a challenge. One end is going to get the short end of attention and Artie Cosby experienced that during his first season leading Starkville Academy's soccer teams. After one season, Cosby confirmed Thursday he's relinquished his post at Starkville Academy to spend more time with his wife and children.
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.