Mississippi State freshman left-hander pitcher Nick Routt had a knack for going the route this season. Southeastern Conference coaches thought enough of Routt’s efforts to vote him Tuesday to the All-SEC Freshman Team. Routt was the only Bulldog to make the all-league teams. MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson wasn’t surprised Routt was honored because he had four complete games, all in the SEC.
University of Mississippi junior outfielder Jordan Henry has found a way to steal more bases and Southeastern Conference honors this season. After being named to the All-SEC second-team and earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 2007 and making the SEC All-Tournament team in 2008, the coaches Tuesday voted Henry a first-team All-SEC performer. Henry leads the SEC in walks (49) and with a school-record 33 stolen bases, which has caught the eye of coaches who’ve had to try and slow him down. Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin compares Henry to New York Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon because they bring similar qualities to the game.
Mississippi State Athletic Director Greg Byrne has faith in the basketball coaching staff’s ability to recruit players. Men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury has had a busy offseason, with the signings of McDonald’s All-American Renardo Sidney, 7-foot-2 John Riek, and Wendell Lewis to national letters of intent. They join Shaunessy Smith, a Noxubee County High School senior, who signed with the Bulldogs last November.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State senior catcher Scott DeLoach wasn’t considered much of a factor for playing time when the baseball season began. DeLoach was projected for defensive purposes to spell sophomore Cody Freeman and junior Ryan Duffy. But by the end of the season, DeLoach assumed a bigger role than he had ever dreamed. DeLoach not only played, but he finished the season as Mississippi State’s leading hitter with a .353 batting average.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State freshman starting pitcher Devin Jones had a rough outing against LSU on Saturday afternoon and was pulled after two innings. It wasn’t his final appearance of the day, however. Despite a 15-4 loss to LSU in the final game of the season, which included a 1 hour and 57 minute rain delay, the Mississippi State Bulldogs found a way to have a good time. After giving up six runs on seven hits, Jones probably wished he could’ve found a hole to crawl into and hide. His teammates wouldn’t allow that, however.
If things work out this weekend, Alexis Rack, of the Mississippi State women’s basketball team, will be a little busier this summer than she anticipated. The rising senior guard at Mississippi State is at the USA Basketball National Team Trials at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. East Mississippi Community College women’s basketball coach Sharon Thompson, a former women’s basketball player at MSU, also is in Colorado working as a court coach who is helping work the player in drills.
STARKVILLE –– The Mississippi State baseball team could not hold a lead Thursday night, suffering a 5-4 loss to second-ranked LSU in a Southeastern Conference game at Dudy Noble Field. Mississippi State (24-28, 8-19) led 4-1 before LSU scored three runs in the seventh inning and one run in the eighth. Mississippi State needed to sweep the three-game series with LSU to finish the season with a .500 record.
It has been 30 years since his first visit to Mississippi State’s Dudy Noble Field, but LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said his return this weekend is special. Mainieri’s first experience at the Bulldogs’ home came in 1979 as a player at the University of New Orleans. The Privateers played in the NCAA tournament in Starkville that season. Mainieri’s relationship with the MSU fans took a positive turn in 2000 when he was the head coach at Notre Dame.
STARKVILLE — Softball is serious business in Florida. No one knows that better than Mississippi State sophomore outfielder Brittany Bell. While growing up in the Tampa area, Bell discovered how important the game was in the Sunshine State. Bell will accompany her Lady Bulldogs teammates to her home state this weekend for the NCAA tournament’s Tallahassee Regional. MSU will play California in the first round at 4 p.m. Friday. Florida State will play host to the double-elimination regional.
William Beckwith picked a good time to start swinging a hot bat for the Meridian Community College baseball team. Beckwith, a 2008 graduate of West Lowndes High School, went 12-for-18 with eight RBIs in four games to help MCC win the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at Baton Rouge, La., last weekend. “I’d been waiting for that to happen,” Beckwith said of getting hot at the plate. “It felt great because I was helping my team get wins. (The ball looked) like a beach ball. It was a great feeling.”
Garrett Harris is looking forward to pitching for the University of South Alabama baseball team. But before he does, his focus is on taking care of unfinished business at Meridian Community College. Harris, a 2006 graduate of New Hope High School who has signed with South Alabama, welcomes an opportunity to pitch for MCC in the NJCAA South Central District Tournament.
Ladarrius Cole arrived at Itawamba Community College just wanting to contribute. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound outfielder from Nettleton High School has done much more than that, and the Indians are reaping the benefits. Cole, who leads the team with a .456 batting average, was one of a handful of players chosen to the All-Region 23 squad on Wednesday. Cole, Pontotoc’s Dustin Lunn (catcher), Auburn signee Justin Bryant (middle infielder), of Remlap, Ala,. and pitcher/second baseman Josh Chism were selected to the first team all-state squad.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s men’s basketball program received good news Monday about a big man for the third week in a row. After the signing of Renardo Sidney and the addition of John Riek, the Bulldogs learned Monday that center Jarvis Varnado plans to return for his senior season.
Jasmine Abrams has her eyes set on higher goals. Her two seasons with the East Mississippi Community College women’s basketball team have made those aspirations more realistic. Now the former Columbus High School standout plans to take her game to the Division I level in hopes of taking the next step toward realizing her goal to play professional basketball. On Tuesday, Abrams, a 6-foot forward, signed a national letter of intent to play basketball in the fall at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The University of Mississippi baseball team has been known to unleash its “Power” on opponents the past four seasons. As outfielder Logan Power has driven in runs, it has usually led to success for Ole Miss. Since his arrival in 2006, Power has helped the Rebels to a four-season record of 159-86, trips to three NCAA Regionals, and appearances in two Super Regionals.
Mississippi State considers the new three-game contract to play South Alabama in football a win-win situation for both parties. Considering the economics and benefits for the Bulldogs, the deal was too good for the school to pass up.
STARKVILLE — Signed, sealed, and delivered. The much anticipated paperwork confirming the signing of 7-foot-2 center John Riek reached the Mississippi State men’s basketball office Wednesday afternoon.
It’s difficult enough for an athlete to come back from one torn labrum. Mississippi State freshman outfielder Brent Brownlee has suffered that injury three times, and has had to have surgery on each occasion.
Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury understands that there is no such thing anymore as a quiet offseason. This year, it seems to be louder than usual. First, junior center Jarvis Varnado applied for early entry into the National Basketball Association draft. Then this past Thursday, Mississippi State signed McDonald’s All-American Renardo Sidney, from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. Now it looks like Mississippi State is on the verge of signing 7-foot-2 center John Riek, of Khartoun, Sudan, via IMG Basketball Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Travis Frembgen was accustomed to being the starting catcher for five years on the Hamilton High School baseball team. But a year after graduating from Hamilton, Frembgen is learning what it means to have patience as a freshman backup catcher to sophomore Dustin Lunn at Itawamba Community College in Fulton. “I’m day-to-day, basically,” Frembgen said. “I didn’t play in many division games, but the guy in front of me does great behind the plate, and he’s a good hitter, also. “I’m just waiting my turn. I know I probably could have started at other junior colleges, but I’m happy I’m here.”