STARKVILLE — Spring football practice started this week at Starkville High School, but Billy Shed isn’t ready to take that field just yet. As the football team worked out on a nearby field, Shed and fellow members of Starkville’s 4x400-meter relay team were preparing on the track for Saturday’s Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State meet at Madison Central High School. Shed will be a returning safety for coach Bill Lee this fall, but right now track and field is a priority.
CALEDONIA — Jelisha Hackman has explosion. Typically, though, when you compete in the 100 meters you’re pushing off a block fastened to the track at the start of a race. Hackman’s propulsion in the sprint comes from a standing start, in part because of the lack of track and field facilities at Caledonia High School. But Hackman, just like many of her teammates, has learned to live and to succeed with what she doesn’t have.
Sindhu Shivaji knew she could believe Zachary Patterson. After all, it’s easy to listen to someone who has won a state championship. So when senior Zachary Patterson said at the beginning of the season that the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science tennis team could be “awesome,” Shivaji knew she had to do her part to make that goal a reality.
MABEN — East Webster High School baseball coach Wes Johnson knows good pitching when he sees it. As a pitcher who played for coach Ron Polk at Mississippi State, Johnson understands the importance of commanding the strike zone.
The Columbus High School assistant football coaches already are in midseason form. The CHS players are doing their part to join them. Judging from the players’ performance Friday in an intrasquad scrimmage, the Falcons have made the most of their offseason workouts and are attacking spring football with enthusiasm.
Philip Tice doesn’t hesitate when asked what qualities make a clutch hitter. “Confidence,” Tice said. In his first year as a varsity starter, Tice is showing confidence beyond his years.
STARKVILLE -- Tavaris Tate will stay home to run track collegiately. The Starkville High School senior has committed to Mississippi State to remain close to family and friends. He will officially sign Friday. The sprinter had many choices to consider, but said he couldn’t go wrong with Mississippi State.
South Lamar softball coach Tony Seals hopes to have a full compliment of pitchers when his team hosts the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Area 10 Tournament. South Lamar’s pitching staff has been decimated by injuries and sickness in recent weeks and Seals hoped the Lady Stallions would be at full strength when the tournament began this morning. Seals had to pitch seventh-grader Kayla Jones for the first time in a varsity game against Gordo on Friday because Brittany Sanford has been sick, and Laken Hancock and Kendra Wilson have been injured.
Some players would have lost focus the moment they didn’t get the job done. But when you have been locked in at the plate like Philip Tice has been this season, no situation is too overwhelming. Stuck in an 0-2 hole after missing two bunt attempts, Tice lined a two-run triple down the right-field line Friday night to lift the New Hope High School baseball team to a 7-6 victory against Pontotoc in game two of its Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A second-round best-of-three playoff series at Trojan Field.
Speed and athletic ability are keys to winning baseball games at West Lowndes High School. In the 12 years that Todd Stanley has been the baseball coach at West Lowndes, the Panthers have tried to use an aggressive style on the basepaths to score runs. That was the case Friday night when West Lowndes manufactured a pair of runs to beat the Edinburg Eagles 2-0 and advance to the third round of the Class A state playoffs.
MABEN –– Tanner Roberson, of the East Webster High School baseball team, didn’t need nine lives Saturday afternoon. Two of them turned out to be very beneficial, however. Roberson’s good fortune began an offensive outbreak for East Webster as the Wolverines defeated the Bogue Chitto Bobcats 14-4 in six innings to clinch the second round Mississippi High School Association South Class A playoff series. East Webster (27-3) won the first game 17-2 Thursday.
HAMILTON — A bloop proved to be just the spark the Hamilton High School fast-pitch softball team needed. Katie Beth Dahlem’s bloop single paved the way for key hits by Miranda McCormick and Kelle West in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday afternoon and helped Hamilton defeat Hatley 7-6 in game two of the Class 2A North State best-of-three state playoff series. With the victory, Hamilton (15-10) advances to the Class 2A best-of-three state title series Friday to play the winner of Enterprise and Loyd Star at Freedom Ridge State Park in Ridgeland.
MABEN — Jessica Halterman didn’t need to make any adjustments Saturday. One game after hurling a complete-game, four-hitter, the East Webster senior was even more dominating — and nearly perfect. Halterman pitched a no-hitter, struck out 14, and allowed only four baserunners to lead East Webster to a 7-0 victory against Bogue Chitto in game two of its Class A South State best-of-three state title series.
Will Swedenburg wants to do more at 10 a.m. Monday than help the Heritage Academy golf team just qualify for the Mississippi Private School Association Class AAA State Tournament. Playing on their home course at Columbus Country Club, Swedenburg and his Heritage Academy golf teammates feel they have a shot to challenge Pillow Academy and the rest of the top teams at the North AAA Tournament.
The beauty of the game of baseball is you will see something different every day if you watch enough games. The Starkville Academy and Heritage Academy baseball teams did their best Thursday night to ensure all the fans at Trip Carson Field doubled their pleasure and saw plenty of things they might never see again. At 11:08 p.m., more than six hours after the first pitch of game one, Cole Vaughan retired Jim Beasley on a fielder’s choice to help Heritage Academy earn a 12-10 victory in game two and salvage a split of their doubleheader.
HAMILTON — Kevin McCartney’s solo home run in the bottom of the first inning Thursday got the Hamilton High School baseball team off to a good start. The rest of the Lions did their part, too. McCartney’s fourth homer of the season was the first of 12 hits for Hamilton in its 11-1 victory against East Union in six innings. McCartney hit his home run to center field on the first pitch by Craig Bullock.
PONTOTOC –– The New Hope Trojans responded to playing without coach Stacy Hester on Thursday by beating Pontotoc 15-5 in five innings in game one of their best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A second-round state playoff series. New Hope (21-9) played without Hester, who was suspended for three days by Lowndes County Superintendent Mike Halford and New Hope Principal Lynn Wright for unspecified reasons. Hester, who is in his 17th season as New Hope’s coach, was suspended after an alleged incident during the Trojans’ playoff game at Hernando this past Saturday.
CALEDONIA — Stephanie Gonzalez started pole vaulting in less than ideal circumstances. The then-Caledonia High School sophomore ran on grass and fell into a pole vault pit made up of mattresses. She probably still has the scrapes on her legs from the experience.
STARKVILLE — Cleveland Hudson is in his 30th year as Starkville High School’s boys track coach. The Yellow Jackets rewarded Hudson for his years of service last season by winning the Class 5A state championship. In his milestone year, the team would like nothing better than to win another title. Starkville senior sprinter Tavaris Tate appreciates the guidance and support Hudson has provided him in his track career.
A chance to play host to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A, Area 11 Tournament will be on the line for the Lamar County High School softball team Monday when it plays Oakman.
2. Bulldogs' initial workout pleases Mullen COLLEGE SPORTS
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4. Bulldogs report, ready to start practice COLLEGE SPORTS