HAMILTON — This weekend is the Hamilton High School fast-pitch softball team’s chance to shine. The Lady Lions will try to do it with fire and desire. “Fire and desire” was the slogan on a sign taped to the wall in Hamilton’s dugout Saturday when it faced Hatley in game two of its Class 2A North Half title series. Hamilton (15-10) won that game 7-6 to earn the opportunity to play Loyd Star at 6 p.m. today in the first game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association best-of-three Class 2A state championship at Freedom Ridge State Park in Ridgeland.
MABEN — Another championship walk would suit the East Webster High School fast-pitch softball team just fine. Last week, the three-time defending champion Lady Wolverines concluded their most recent South Half state title with a 7-0 victory against Bogue Chitto. After the final out was recorded in senior Jessica Halterman’s no-hitter, East Webster coach Bill Brand talked to his team and then had seniors Halterman, Iyeshia Thomas, Jordan Sisk, Darlynda Wilson, and Caitlyn Williamson had join arms and walk from the center field fence to the backstop.
If baseballs are going out to left or right field the Stowers brothers have them covered. West Lowndes High School’s Ryan and Trevor Stowers have provided the defense necessary to keep the Panthers in games and have delivered key contributions to help them make the third round of the Mississippi High School Association Class A playoffs against Vicksburg St. Aloysius. Trevor said he never knows when a play he makes in the outfield might be a difference in a game.
HAMILTON — Part of the beauty of sports can be found in the numbers. Some statistics are hard to comprehend, regardless of how many times you look at them. Chase Reeves still finds it difficult to believe he owns one of those numbers: Zero. The junior left-hander has allowed 11 runs this season — all unearned.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, players who appear to have an unlimited upside go unnoticed. Devin Malone is one of those players. The West Lowndes High School senior showcased his skills on the court earlier this year as he helped lead the school’s boys basketball team to the Class 1A state tournament in Jackson. Malone hopes to play a similar role with the West Lowndes High’s baseball team.
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.
1. Cohen contacts SEC about Saturday officiating COLLEGE SPORTS
2. MSU uses new plan on defense without Cole COLLEGE SPORTS
4. No. 18 MSU far from perfect against No. 1 Alabama COLLEGE SPORTS
5. ACCS beats Heritage Academy to reach Class AAA title game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS