Down 0-2 in the count, Christian Dale didn’t have any wiggle room. With the suicide squeeze bunt on and a pitch coming high and tight, Avery Ford had little margin for error. On both occasions, the Falcons executed. As a result, the Columbus High School baseball team found the sparks it needed to earn its first victory of the season. Dale’s two-run single and Ford’s successful bunt were part of a five-run fifth inning Saturday that helped Columbus rally for a 12-6 victory against Caledonia in the final game of the Columbus Classic at Columbus High’s Sammy Fletcher Field. Both plays were crucial parts of a four-hit inning that helped the Falcons (1-1) erase a 6-5 deficit and rebound from a 6-2 loss to Shannon on Friday night.
The West Point High School baseball team has only played two games, but coach Buddy Wyers already knows one thing that could be a key element to any success the team has this season. The ability of West Point to develop a short-term memory and play consistently crystallized for Wyers on Saturday as he watched his team commit six errors and strike out 13 times in a 10-5 loss to Alcorn Central in the Columbus Classic at Columbus High. “We struggled offensively,” Wyers said. “We had a couple of hits that were key hits, but we have way too many guys who can run to be standing up there striking out. You put the ball in play and you make them get you out.” The loss came on the heels of a 5-0 victory against Shannon on Friday in which Damichael Brown delivered a strong starting effort on the mound in the season opener.
Chad Williams was wearing his hat out. A tug here. another tug there. Soon the hat was off the Amory High School baseball coach’s head. It didn’t take long for Williams to start jawing with his players and pacing the dugout like he was West Lauderdale coach Jerry Boatner. Williams couldn’t help but think back to last season when New Hope capped a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning with a bases-loaded walk to beat Amory 12-11.
STARKVILLE — Four years ago, Starkville High School’s girls powerlifiting team had just a few members. But just like any upstart program, time and results can build a program toward winning championships. The Lady Jackets are a perfect example of what patience and persistence can do in a short span of time. Starkville coach Leonardo Thompson has led the program since its inception and has seen the year-to-year growth as more girls become interested in staying fit and having an outlet for competition.
Cameron Newman isn’t all about soccer. The Columbus High School senior loves the game, but he also knows the importance of getting a quality education. Newman has his sights set on majoring in psychology, and he knows Meridian Community College’s reputation as one of the state’s top junior colleges would help him take his first step toward realizing that goal. It doesn’t hurt that Newman also will get a chance to play soccer at MCC.
MERIDIAN — The New Hope High School fast-pitch softball team started its season in style Saturday. Empress Shirley went 2-for-3 with four RBIs in her first varsity start in game one, and Lauren Holifield and Anna Holley had three RBIs in game two to lead New Hope past South Jones 18-8 and Yazoo County 16-0 at the Northeast Lauderdale Pre-Season Tournament. Shirley had a single and a triple at designated player for New Hope (2-0). Holifield, who earned the victory in the five-inning game, was 1-for-2 with three walks. Holley (2-for-3), Haley Tutor (1-for-5), D.J. Ferguson (1-for-4), Kasey Stanfield (sacrifice fly), Rachel Rhoades (2-for-4, two RBIs), Anna McCrary (1-for-3, RBI), and Jessica Moore (2-for-4, double, four RBIs) also contributed to the hitting attack.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Pickens County High School boys basketball team can make school history tonight when it takes the court at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. Pickens County, of Reform, Ala., will attempt to win its first state championship when it plays Houston County at 8 p.m. in the Class 2A championship game of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Final 48 State Tournament.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Russ Wallace believes in miracles. The Pickens County High School boys basketball coach is a believer after watching his team earn an improbable victory on the state’s biggest stage.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Deion Curry wasn’t going to let anything keep him from helping the Pickens County High School boys basketball team make it to its first state championship game in 39 years. The junior guard overcame being involved in a collision Tuesday to help Pickens County beat Sand Rock 59-54 in the Class 2A semifinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Final 48 State Tournament at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.
Sports never follow a plan. If they did, Chris Hamm’s speech Saturday following the title game of the Alabama Christian Education Athletic Association Division I State Tournament would have praised the players for their effort and convinced them that the 2010-11 season was theirs to win a championship.
Brandon Johnson didn’t have a busy Saturday at the Columbus High School baseball jamboree. He’d like to hope the rest of the season will be as uneventful, but he knows better. The start of another baseball season has Johnson concerned he might be right.
Time doesn’t stop in life or in sports. As soon as one task or game ends, another is ready on the to-do list or a click away via the remote. But sometimes special moments force you to pause for a moment of reflection.
The beauty of having young, inexperienced players is coaches never know what they’re going to get. After falling behind 3-0 in the season opener to Winston Academy, Heritage Academy baseball coach Steve Hancock wasn’t sure how his team would respond.
At the beginning of the season, Pickens County High School boys basketball coach Russ Wallace didn’t envision his team being ranked No. 1 and making it to the Final Four. But that’s the case as Pickens County will play Sand Rock at 8:30 tonight in the Class 2A semifinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Final 48 State Basketball Tournament at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham, Ala.
CARROLLTON, Ala. — The trophy fits nicely in the hands of Tate Fuller, Catherine Johnson, and Callie Minor. With one of the nets from the team’s victory Friday against Lakeside Christian draped on the trophy’s basketball, the players’ reflections blurred together as Johnson held the trophy Monday for a picture.
STARKVILLE — This time, there would be no Greenville-Weston upset at The Beehive. Starkville High School guard Edward Townsel said he and his teammates had long put last year’s shocking loss to Greenville-Weston in the MHSAA Class 5A North State Tournament behind them. But with the way the Yellow Jackets played Saturday it seemed like there was some revenge on tap in their 80-63 win to clinch the Class 6A North State championship.
In the end, their hearts couldn’t be questioned. That was little solace Friday night to coach Drew McBrayer and the members of the New Hope High School boys basketball team, who were left shaking their heads at what could have been. Four and seven tenths, or was it 6.9 seconds? Did Johnathan Brandon foul Callaway High’s Deville Smith on the last-second 3-pointer? Those questions will haunt a game New Hope team for a long time because the Trojans weren’t satisfied with the answers they received on their home floor.
BALDWYN –– The West Lowndes Panthers were outscored only one quarter Friday, but that quarter was the difference as they suffered a 53-49 loss to West Bolivar in the semifinals of the MHSAA Class 2A North State Tournament. West Lowndes (19-7) was outscored 20-15 in the fourth quarter to suffer the season-ending loss. The Panthers took a 34-33 lead into the final period after the score was tied 12-12 at the end of the first quarter and 22-22 at halftime. West Lowndes was led in scoring by Demetrius Malone with 16 points and Tyquan Lucious with 15.
The Columbus High School powerlifting team is making progress. A year ago, the Falcons advanced four athletes to the North Half State meet. The number was a start for a program that was beginning to understand the benefits of weight training. This year, Columbus nearly doubled that number at the Region 1-6A meet on Feb. 12 at Calhoun City High. The Falcons placed seven competitors in the top three spots and finished with 43 points, just behind champion Tupelo (44 points).
The six teams that participated Saturday in the jamboree at Columbus High School couldn’t have asked for better weather to open their seasons. The spring-like temperatures only 13 days into the official start of Mississippi High School Activities Association baseball season provided a welcome setting for teams eager to get their seasons started later this week. And while some teams were ahead of others, the consensus is that everyone will get better with more time on the field.
1. Starkville Academy falls in state championship game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Ole Miss shut out at Arkansas COLLEGE SPORTS
3. MSU Notebook: Holmes making habit of finding end zone COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Ole Miss will try to regroup for Mississippi State COLLEGE SPORTS
5. MSU begins preparations for its biggest Egg Bowl COLLEGE SPORTS