CALEDONIA — Justine Jenkins won’t lie. The Caledonia High School standout wanted to play softball in college but she didn’t know if she was good enough. It wasn’t until Jenkins started to relax and to have fun on the softball field that her confidence blossomed.
STARKVILLE –– The Starkville Yellow Jackets experienced another walk-off victory at home on Saturday afternoon. For the New Hope Trojans, it was a another disappointing loss. After Blake Dawkins singled in the winning run last Tuesday to help Starkville defeat Tupelo 3-2, it was R.J. Johnson’s turn to do the same. This time the game-winning hit came in the 10th inning as Starkville beat New Hope 2-1.
Bad things aren’t happening once a game this season for the Columbus High School baseball team. In some cases, like in Columbus’ 16-6 victory against West Point in five innings Saturday afternoon, the Falcons make enough positive things happen to outweigh the negatives. But the momentum doesn’t last. In other instances, like in a 12-2 loss in five innings to South Panola on Saturday night, the Falcons can’t overcome mistakes that seem to snowball out of control.
STARKVILLE –– Starkville High School wide receiver Kasey Akins played the waiting game to make sure he found the right place for him to continue his football career. More than a month after watching two of his teammates sign scholarships on National Signing Day, Akins has made his choice. Akins decided to take his talents to Harding University in Searcy, Ark., and made it official on Friday by putting his name on the dotted line.
Lil’ Wayne and Lump proved to be a difficult tandem to contain Thursday night. It’s a good thing, too, because the Caledonia and West Lowndes High School baseball teams could have played all night. Better known as Demetrius and Devin Malone, the Panthers played key roles in the bottom of the ninth inning to help West Lowndes earn a 5-4 victory.
WEST POINT — The ability to work out of trouble is essential for any pitcher. Sometimes that trouble materializes after a bloop single or an error. Other times, an ill-timed walk quickly can put a pitcher in a jam that is difficult to escape. Cole Vaughan showed Tuesday afternoon he’s capable of living dangerously and then finding a way to avoid the big inning. Vaughan scattered six hits in a complete-game effort to help the Heritage Academy baseball team defeat Oak Hill Academy 6-3.
STARKVILLE — Blake Dawkins hoped for another opportunity. The Starkville High School catcher struck out with the bases loaded in the fifth inning against Tupelo on Tuesday night, and the Yellow Jackets left three on base that inning. In the seventh, the bases were loaded again with Dawkins at the plate. This time he singled in Jayson Keel to lift Starkville to a 3-2 victory. Tupelo (6-3, 1-1 Class 5A, Division 2) walked Daniel Forde in front of Dawkins twice. Starkville (10-2, 3-0) didn’t take advantage of the first situation, but did on the second.
STARKVILLE — It was a good night to get a one-hitter from two freshmen. Frustrated that his Yellow Jackets left 12 runners on base, Starkville High School baseball coach Danny Carlisle liked that Nick Brooks and Hayden Higginbotham combined to give up only one hit Tuesday night in a 5-1 victory against West Lowndes.
Austin Braddock is branching out to all fields. Always considered a dead pull hitter, Braddock has discovered this season that hitting is a lot easier when you change your approach at the plate.
Rachel Hollivay’s circle of basketball contacts is growing. The New Hope High School freshman on Wednesday received an invitation to attend the Nike Girls Regional Skills Academy event at Norcross High School in Atlanta on April 25-26.
Going into the Blue Devil Classic at Sulligent, Ala., the Lamar County High School baseball team hoped to build confidence for the rest of the season. The Bulldogs accomplished that goal by winning two of three games, beating county rivals South Lamar and Sulligent.
WEST POINT — Junk-baller is a term of affection for Brody Blaylock. For other pitchers with less self-confidence, the term might be a negative moniker.
When the Sulligent High School baseball team plays host to its annual Blue Devil Classic, the event will have the look of a Lamar County tournament. Sulligent will play host to the tournament that includes county rivals Lamar County and South Lamar as well as to Phil Campbell on Friday and Saturday.
Ryan Stowers used to be like a lot of high school baseball players. Some players can hit home runs in practice or in a scrimmage, but hitting one in a game is the real deal.
JACKSON — The sigh said it all. Jameika Hoskins walked the length of the Aberdeen bench with her back turned as Raymond’s Valencia McFarland went to the free-throw line. The Aberdeen junior standout took a breath, exhaled, and shook her head, not wanting to turn to face the clock and the prospect the Lady Bulldogs’ season was nearly over.
1. MSU beats Ole Miss in Governor's Cup thriller COLLEGE SPORTS
2. New Hope softball opens playoff series with win over Pontotoc HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Stacy staying in control for Caledonia HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. New Hope's Speed signs with Itawamba C.C. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Berry leads West Point to playoff series victory HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS