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.
HAMILTON — Isaac Winders has given up basketball, at least for the next month.
STARKVILLE — Starkville High School baseball coach Danny Carlisle will see a familiar face in the opposing dugout tonight in his team’s first game of the Class 5A playoffs.
Whether it’s on the field or on the court, Devin and Demetrius Malone have made it a family affair at West Lowndes High School.
New Hope High School baseball coach Stacy Hester was suspended Wednesday for three days and will miss his team’s Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A second-round playoff series against Pontotoc.
Hilton Gibson and the New Hope High School baseball team haven’t had a perfect season. Routine plays haven’t been made, pitchers have missed locations, and hitters haven’t delivered in clutch situations. In many ways, New Hope’s season hasn’t been any different than countless other teams across the nation. But what the Trojans haven’t done has made them stronger.
MABEN — Jermaine Liggins’ nickname doesn’t do him justice. Growing up, Liggins earned the moniker “half pint” because of his size. Liggins has matured into a senior leader for the East Webster High School baseball team, and the ping of the baseball off his bat sounds more like someone nicknamed “pint.” Liggins and classmates Blake Love and Reggie O’Briant are just three of the hard-hitting Wolverines who will lead the team Thursday into its best-of-three Class 1A playoff series against Bogue Chitto.
HAMILTON — One bad game was all the Hamilton High School fast-pitch softball team needed. A missed opportunity, an error, or a pitch in the wrong spot could have have ended the Lady Lions’ season too soon. But faced with the prospect of turning in their jerseys for the final time, Hamilton responded and appears to have rediscovered its rhythm. Hamilton (13-10) will try to keep its run going Thursday when it travels to Hatley for game one in the best-of-three series that will determine the Class 2A North Half state champion.
MABEN — A clean uniform just doesn’t feel right to Swayze Hollenhead. The East Webster High School fast-pitch softball standout considers it a badge of honor if she can soil her school colors with a dive to knock down a line drive or a slide into second base to beat a throw. If you have seen the sophomore third baseman play, you know she’s apt to have several layers of the infield on her uniform by the end of a game. Each day, though, Hollenhead washes that dirt from her clothes and returns to practice and games to do it all over again.
STEENS — A new football season has brought a new sense of excitement at Immanuel Christian School. The Immanuel players have two more reasons to look forward to the 2009 season: Shawn Gates and Daniel Merchant. Gates and Merchant took the field Tuesday looking to bring a new energy to the football program on its first day of spring workouts. Gates, 24, takes over for Billy Thomas as the football team’s new coach, while Merchant, who was an assistant football coach at the school last season, will work as defensive coordinator and special teams coach.
MABEN — Don’t expect a reaction from Jessica Halterman. Whether she allows a hit or a walk or if a batter strikes out or reaches on an error, Halterman’s countenance won’t change.
STARKVILLE — Starkville High School senior sprinter Tavaris Tate is on track to do something that has never been accomplished in Class 5A. Tate is trying to become the first prep runner in that class to win state titles in the 100, 200, and 400 meters.
Rachel Hollivay’s spring recently got a little busier. The New Hope High School freshman was invited last week on behalf of USA Basketball and the Women’s Developmental National Team Committee to participate in the 2009 Under-16 National Team Trials.
Small ball helped the Cleveland High School fast-pitch softball team earn the right Monday night to keep its season alive. Lindsey Mullins’ bases-loaded walk tied the game in the top of the seventh inning, and Cleveland used three fielder’s choices to tack on three insurance runs to rally for a 5-2 victory against New Hope in game three of the Class 4A third-round playoffs at Lady Trojan Field.
The New Hope High School baseball team wrapped up its opening round series in the Class 4A playoffs with Hernando in two games Saturday. New Hope (20-9) won game two 7-4 at Hernando on Saturday after winning the opener 6-1 at home Friday. If New Hope would have lost game two, the teams would have had to play the final game of the series Saturday.
Tyquan Lucious has made clutch and game-winning shots for the West Lowndes High School boys basketball team. But nothing Lucious has done on the basketball court compares to what he did Saturday night on the diamond. The sophomore right-hander pitched his first career no-hitter to lead West Lowndes to an 11-0 victory against Mount Olive in the deciding game of the best-of-three first-round Class 1A state playoff series.
HAMILTON — Kevin McCartney doesn’t do always do things according to plan. But the Hamilton High School right fielder showed Saturday afternoon that as much as he likes to take his hacks at the plate he can show a little restraint. McCartney’s leadoff walk in the bottom of the first inning set the tone for another productive day and helped Hamilton beat O’Bannon 12-2 in five innings to help it sweep the first-round Class 2A state playoff series.
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