Tabitha Beard knew what to expect from seventh-grader Aspen Wesley. The New Hope High School fast-pitch softball coach compiled enough scouting reports on Neshoba Central's seventh-grade right-handed pitcher to formulate a game plan predicated on her hitters being aggressive early in the count and not swinging at any of Wesley's "junk."
Mercedes Mattix has passed possibly the biggest remaining hurdle in her high school career. For some reason, the New Hope High School senior has had difficulty in her career at North State meets. The latest one, which was Saturday in Oxford, was no different. You only have to ask Mattix about her times and a dissatisfied look covers her face.
The passage of time can go two ways when you are trying to attract attention to land an opportunity to play a sport in college. As college coaches sort through prospects and evaluate players, the process can be tedious, especially after an initial visit or a first tryout. But once coaches determine which players they want and the student-athletes decide if a school is the right fit, the process can pick up steam and be completed in a matter of hours.
An injury can't slow a softball brain. In the case of Taylor Blevins, her brain is itching to tell her legs to go. For the longest time, though, torn ligaments in her left thumb prevented the New Hope High School senior from playing a key role on the school's fast-pitch softball team. After seeing significant minutes in the girls basketball team's run to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state semifinals, Blevins' injury forced her to miss most of her final high school fast-pitch season.
Mackenzie Harvey understands what it is like to be called a "baby." The term is one New Hope High School softball coach Tabitha Beard uses to describe the younger players who have come up through the slow- and fast-pitch programs and have grown into young ladies under her watch. It is a special word because Beard once was one of those "babies" for longtime New Hope softball coach Cary Shepherd.
Columbus High School baseball coach Jeffrey Cook knew this season could be special. With senior pitchers Trace Lee and Hunter Mullis and veteran standouts like Chris McCullough, Gevonta Webb, and Greg Sykes, Cook felt the Falcons would have the potential to make their fourth-straight playoff appearance.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School senior Alex Ross found one of his true passions in life by accident. Ross joined the Starkville High track and field team his eighth-grade year to stay in shape for soccer. Five years later, he will compete Saturday for the final time for the Yellow Jackets in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters at the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A, 4A and 6A state championships at Pearl High.
In most cases, championship puzzles take years to assemble. In addition to needing quality feeder programs to help their programs reload, coaches have to find the right blend of personalities and skills to make their teams click.
Konrad Vernon has harbored dreams of playing golf in college for a long time. But the Columbus High School senior has his priorities in line and understands his academics come first, which is why Mississippi College appeared to be a great fit for him. Not only was the school in Clinton relatively close to home, it also gave him a chance to pursue a career in the medical field, possibly the dental program.
Being clutch doesn't faze Michael Sturdivant.
Kiki Patterson never lost her love for the game of basketball.
D.J. Sanders always has let her ability to do the talking. Whether it is on the softball field or on the basketball court, the New Hope High School standout has filled a scrapbook with accomplishments and memories that would make many envious. Sanders has taken every step with a humbleness that belies the fact that her softball skills earned her a scholarship to play at Louisiana-Lafayette, one of the nation's premier programs.
As much as high school tennis is an individual sport built around a team concept, Billy Clark said there is no escaping the importance of teamwork.
Columbus High School baseball coach Jeffrey Cook spent Saturday afternoon taking his son to the movies.
AMITE CITY, La. -- The Oak Forest (La.) Academy baseball team swept Heritage Academy 8-0 and 13-3 in five innings Friday to win the best-of-three Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II semifinal round playoff series.
MACON -- Going into the Mississippi Association of Indepent Schools Slow-pitch State Championship Saturday, the Central Academy Lady Vikings had one thing on their mind: winning the championship.
After going to the brink of elimination in the previous round, New Hope softball had no interest in going through that again.
The voice was relentless.
New Hope High School senior Taylor Stafford had a smile on his face and finally had color back in his cheeks. While battling a week-long sinus infection has been tough for the Mississippi State signee, a couple of immunizations helped him dress out Thursday night for the opening game against Center Hill in a best-of-three series to start the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State playoffs.
The severe storms that ripped through the region Monday affected people throughout the state of Mississippi. The community of New Hope was no exception.
1. Mullen's 2014 squad has homegrown flavor COLLEGE SPORTS
3. New Hope's Davis excited about opportunity at South Alabama HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Walters, Oswalt back together to play catch HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS