STARKVILLE — A year ago, Lyndsey Haynes was trying to find her groove. A torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee forced her to wear a brace that affected her delivery. The injury also left the right-handed pitcher on the Starkville Academy fastpitch softball team wondering whether she would regain her form. But last weekend Haynes showed she has found her groove again.
STARKVILLE -- Before wrapping her arm in ice after pitching four games on Saturday, Starkville Academy’s Lyndsey Haynes got to wrap her hands on a championship trophy. The Lady Volunteers remained in the winner’s bracket throughout and won the Starkville Invitational Tournament for the first time. The event was held at the Mississippi State Recreation Complex. Starkville Academy (8-1) defeated Winston Academy 6-3, Central Academy 8-7 and Pillow Academy 8-0 and 5-4 in eight innings to claim the title.
WEST POINT –– The Heritage Academy Lady Patriots had a run taken off the scoreboard Thursday afternoon, but didn’t need it to claim a 5-3 victory against Oak Hill Academy. The Lady Patriots (2-1) scored three runs in the second inning and would have scored four if one hadn’t been taken away. The Lady Patriots thought they tied the score 2-2 in the second when Logan Waggoner crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice and the home plate umpire extended his arms to signal safe.
STARKVILLE –– The girls who make up the Starkville Academy soccer team weren’t born when Artie Cosby was a record-breaking kicker at Mississippi State. All they know is he one day he could lead them to a championship. Cosby takes over the reins as soccer coach at Starkville Academy, and he’s enjoyed preparing for the season.
The championship feeling still lingers in Krisi Boren’s mind. A year ago, the Heritage Academy girls soccer team had a season to remember, falling to River Oaks (Monroe, La.) in its first appearance in a Mississippi Private School Association (now MAIS) state title match. The landscape will be different this season for the Lady Patriots. Heritage Academy, which finished 11-4 last season, will move from Division II to Division I this season. The transition means tougher divisional games against the likes of Starkville Academy, Pillow Academy,Washington School, and Magnolia Heights.
Josh Carothers and Kendall Jackson have learned to trust Sammy Smith. The Columbus High School boys basketball players believed their coach when he said he would do his best to find them a college where they could continue their careers. The only thing Smith asked his players to do was to stay patient and to believe. The wait ended Wednesday afternoon.
STARKVILLE –– Starkville Academy’s Lyndsey Haynes mixed her pitches to mix up the Central Academy Lady Vikings at the plate. Haynes scattered four hits Tuesday afternoon to lead Starkville Academy to a 9-1 victory at home. “I didn’t throw one pitch in the same place the whole time,” said Haynes, who allowed three bunt singles. “If I threw outside and she’d foul it off, I’d go inside and high. Every pitch changed completely. It messed them up. The game (against Kemper Academy on Monday) I threw too much in the same place and I messed up and they would hit it.”
There’s something to be said for sure-handedness. For Heritage Academy’s Kristyn Atkins, all it took Tuesday was a rosin bag to help her feel more comfortable. The senior pitcher used rosin to keep her right hand dry en route to a complete-game three-hitter in an 8-1 victory against Hebron Christian. Atkins (1-1) struck out four, walked one, and never was in any serious trouble.
STARKVILLE —Randy Haynes likes robust boxscores. The Starkville Academy fast-pitch softball coach would prefer to have his players swing away and pile up the doubles, triples, or home runs. Sometimes, though, you need to switch gears.
Brad Butler knows the Heritage Academy football program can accomplish big things. He was a member of the football team’s coaching staff in 2005 when it advanced to the Class AAA Division II title game. Now it’s Butler’s job to help the Patriots get back to that level.
STARKVILLE — Starkville Academy believes it’s getting just the boost its athletic program needs to be competitive. A $300,000 on-campus locker room and training facility is under construction and is excepted to provide something that is considered to be overdue.
The 2008 season was just the first step for the Heritage Academy fast-pitch softball season. The Lady Patriots made history last season, advancing to the North South State Tournament for the first time. With many of the key players from that team back this season, Heritage Academy coach Ginny Lowery is confident Heritage Academy can build on last season and begin to build a tradition.
Starkville Academy softball coach Randy Haynes expects to have a stronger team on the field this season. There were signs in the summer league at the Starkville Sportsplex that the Lady Volunteers could be better than last year’s 18-17 record.
MACON — One title isn’t enough for the Central Academy softball program. In May, the Lady Vikings ended a drought when they defeated Kemper Academy to win the Class A Mississippi Private School Association slow-pitch state title.
When the South Lamar football team released its schedule for the upcoming season, the only significance of its game against Marion County was it was a matchup of region rivals. But in June, the encounter between South Lamar and Marion County took on a much more significant meaning. That’s because Marion County, which is located in Guin, Ala., hired Rusty Funk to be its head football coach. Funk was South Lamar’s coach last season before being relieved of his duties and replaced by his assistant, Josh Harper.
Jerry Byrd doesn’t know if he, his wife, or his children are happier. Getting an opportunity to stay home to teach and to coach usually can put a smile on anybody’s face. The Byrds will smile a lot more this year after the Lowndes County School Board approved Friday the hiring of Byrd as the new boys soccer and tennis coach at New Hope High School.
Justin Putnam realized a dream Monday. Today, the Lowndes County School Board is expected to make it official. Putnam accepted an offer Monday to become the new girls track and field coach at New Hope High School. Jerry Byrd, the older brother of former New Hope High boys basketball coach Robert Byrd, said Thursday he has accepted the job to become the school’s new boys soccer coach.
Josh Ferguson was pleased when he first learned he was selected to participate in the annual Bernard Blackwell Classic. The football game, which will be at 7 tonight at Hale-Robinson Stadium on the campus of Mississippi College, pits some of the state’s top outgoing seniors from the South against the North. It is a final opportunity for high school standouts to take the field before they play their first games in college.
The timing proved to be perfect for Rusty Greene. The veteran teacher and coach transitioned eight years ago into a role as an assistant principal at Caledonia Middle School. But Greene recently decided he wanted to try something new, so he searched the area for another job as an administrator.
Lee Boyd is ready to accept the challenge of being the next baseball coach at New Hope High School. As a player, Boyd spent five years in a New Hope High program that has earned a reputation as one of the state’s best. As a coach, Boyd has spent the past three years in the dugout against New Hope High, and has watched the Trojans maintain that tradition. Now as New Hope High School’s new baseball coach, Boyd, 26, is confident he can be the leader who keep that tradition going for many more years.
1. New Hope's Taylor excited about chance to play at Gulf Coast C.C. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. New Hope looks to bounce back from first loss HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU women's golf cruises to victory at Old Waverly COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Noxubee County can clinch region title against Caledonia HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS