The power of protection is fueling the New Hope High School baseball team. At the heart of the engine, seniors Davis Lee and Jake Smith are doing all they can to help make sure the Trojans realize their goal of winning a state title this season.
Justin Verner had “it” last year. The only problem was he didn’t know how to use his talents in the high school powerlifting world of dead lifts, bench presses, and squats. But the Columbus High School sophomore certainly gets it now, and his reward Saturday was a state title.
CALEDONIA — Fielding, hitting, and pitching are staples of any team’s success. But a fourth ingredient — the ability to mold individual talents for the greater good — often is the determining factor when it comes time to win championships. The New Hope High School baseball team showed again Saturday why it just might have all four elements to make a title run. Blake Roberts, Jake Smith, and Gabe Franks combined on a one-hitter, and Davis Lee went 3-for-4 to lead New Hope to a 7-2 victory against Caledonia.
Tabitha Beard wants to see more of a yes-yes-yes attitude. If the New Hope High School fast-pitch softball coach gets her wish, there’s no reason why the Lady Trojans can’t challenge for a state title. But New Hope is going to have to hit more like it did Saturday to realize that goal. Coming off a one-run loss to Kosciusko on Friday in which it had only five hits, New Hope more than doubled that number in a 9-2 victory against Cleveland and nearly did in a 10-1 victory against Columbus Saturday in the final two varsity games of the New Hope Tournament at Lady Trojan Field.
MACON –– The Central Academy Vikings scored the first three runs of the game and held on to beat Hebron Christian 3-2 in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A, District 3 game Friday. Central Academy (8-5, 8-2 district) scored two runs in the first inning on a two-run double by Ferris McGuire and one run in the second on a single by Trevor Eaves. With the win, Central Academy forced a three-way tie for first place in the district and earned the No. 2 seed in the MAIS Class A state playoffs as a result of a tie-breaker. The Vikings will host Humphreys Academy in the opening round of the playoffs Tuesday and play at Humphreys in Belzoni on Friday.
MACON — Alex Dawkins and Lillian Lindsey have been together this long, so they figured it was only natural to want to extend their careers together for another two years. From Tee Ball to fast-pitch softball to slow-pitch softball, the Central Academy seniors have spent nearly their entire careers together on the same teams. On Thursday, Dawkins and Lindsey finalized the next step of their journeys when they signed scholarships to play softball at East Mississippi Community College.
The West Point High School baseball team has shown in the last week it knows how to respond from a loss. Thanks to some steady pitching and more consistent play on defense, the Green Wave have rebounded from a disappointing loss to East Webster to win their last four games in a row. West Point will try to make it five straight at 7 tonight when it plays host to New Hope in a Class 5A, Division 2, District 1 game.
Seeing is believing. Six hundred or 700 pounds in an individual event and 1,500 pounds combined in three disciplines can be pretty imposing when you have never lifted that much weight. But Rickey Knox said confidence has helped the Columbus High School powerlifting team soar past weights some never imagined the Falcons could reach.
Jason Clark set a goal to make the state playoffs in his first season as baseball coach at Lamar County High School. Clark has realized that goal, leading the Bulldogs to the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs.
There was a feeling Tuesday at Sammy Fletcher Field that was similiar to three weeks earlier. A feeling that maybe the Columbus High School baseball team could overcome a two-run deficit to beat rival Starkville. Much like the two team’s March 23 meeting, when Columbus’ Nick Durrah and Starkville’s R.J. Johnson dueled on the mound, the Yellow Jackets’ narrow advantage widened without an answer from the Falcons.
STARKVILLE — Some players are scorers. Others can control a game cleaning the backboards or running the point. While Shay Bonner possesses all of those skills, her ability to do a little more — something many aren’t willing to do — helped her realize a goal. The Starkville High School senior girls basketball player’s penchant for diving on the floor for loose balls and getting into the passing lanes for steals are important elements to her game. Those qualities helped put Bonner in position Tuesday morning to sign a national letter of intent to play basketball at Itawamba Community College.
HAMILTON — Perfection rarely strikes twice. But throwing a perfect game is a little easier when you have the mind-set of a Bulldog.
HAMILTON – Tony Montgomery hoped, and then hoped some more. The East Mississippi Community College baseball coach knows the importance of defense up the middle when you’re building a program, so the prospect of adding a speedy outfielder like Kevin McCartney to his program was exciting.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen likes to create mismatches and have playmakers go to work in space. One position that gets overlooked in that is tight end, as players who, depending on scheme, spend the majority of their time on the line of scrimmage blocking defensive ends and linebackers. Speed and athleticism at every position is coveted, but at tight end it can be an equalizer against a secondary that’s locking down receivers. It can also create havoc for linebackers in man coverage, command safety help or require a defensive end to bump him off the line.
At the beginning of the basketball season, Pickens County coach Russ Wallace believed his team was a year away from contending for a state championship. Wallace experienced a tumultuous offseason when he had to kick two starters and three other players off the team, and he didn’t know how his players would respond.
Prior to the opening tip of the basketball season, the Pickens Academy Lady Pirates set a goal to win a state championship. Pickens Academy coach Wade Goodman and senior forward Callie Minor were confident the Lady Patriots could accomplish the feat after making it to the Elite Eight of the state playoffs the previous two years.
All of the details still need to be sorted out, but mark May 14 as a night of champions. On that evening, Class 5A champion West Point High School will take on Class 6A state champion South Panola at a site to be determined. Louisville High School also could be involved in what would become a jamboree, but the recent decision of LHS football coach and athletic director Brad Peterson to take the head football coaching position at Brandon has left Louisville’s involvement in the event in question.
A dream came true for Stefan Hairston on Friday. Ever since he was a freshman at Columbus High School, Hairston hoped he would mature and progress to realize a chance to play baseball in college. A solid start to his senior season helped Hairston earn an opportunity to play at Coahoma Community College, and he capitalized on it by signing a national letter of intent to attend the two-year school in Clarksdale.
CALEDONIA — Senior Night brought a much needed win for Robin Elmore’s Caledonia Lady Confederates as a big first inning against Starkville provided an early cushion in a 14-4 win Friday. Nine runs allowed by the shorthanded Lady Jackets (5-14), who were without starting pitcher Jadee Sexton and starting catcher Sasha Shurden, labored through the first frame with 10 errors while Caledonia (5-13) took advantage of every mistake to build a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
A little more than a week ago, West Point High School baseball coach Buddy Wyers laid it on the line for his players. Following an 11-4 district loss to New Hope, Wyers said he knew the Green Wave was a good baseball team and that his players needed to believe in themselves. If they did, Wyers said, the results would come.
1. Pickens Academy playing for assistant coach Copland HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Clayborn ready to lead MSU's offensive line COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Roberts shines at QB in first start for EMCC COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Columbus, Noxubee County put 1-0 records on line HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. New Hope wants to bounce back after losing opener HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS