Columbus High School didn't look far to find its next head football coach.
Starkville High graduate and Dispatch Baseball Large Schools Player of the year R.J. Johnson confirmed he is now a professional player. The 6-foot-4 pitcher said he signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, and SHS head coach Danny Carlisle said Johnson will head to a Brewers minor league affiliate Wednesday in Arizona.
Neshoba Central turned a narrow second-inning lead into lights-out baseball Monday at Sammy Fletcher Field, topping Center Hill 9-4 to clinch the Dizzy Dean World Series championship. The Rockets, who topped Ridgeland and rival New Hope a day earlier, led 5-1 following a Terrance Steele two-RBI single and RBI hits from Robert Greer and Dustin Floyd.
Ricky Kendrick didn't have any reason to leave Amory High School. But a head coach will tell you once he has been in charge he often has an "itch" to work in that capacity again. The challenge of transforming the Caledonia High School football program into a winner interested Kendrick enough to scratch. After Kendrick accepted the job earlier this month, the Lowndes County School Board approved the hiring of Kendrick as Caledonia High School's new coach.
The coaching dominoes continue to fall at Columbus High School. Less than two weeks after Bubba Davis retired after two seasons as the school's head football coach, assistant football coach Grady McCluskey has accepted the job as head football coach at Ripley High. The South Tippah School Board approved McCluskey's hiring Thursday.
Lee Boyd has had a heck of year. The New Hope native took over his alma mater's baseball team, reclaimed the district title, made it to the second round of the playoffs, and with his wife, Allison, welcomed his first child into the world. He's still relishing everything that happened to him one month after capping another solid year in Trojans baseball.
STARKVILLE -- R.J. Johnson's remarkable senior season started with a commitment to make up for his junior year. The Starkville High graduate had the size, athleticism, and arm strength to be one of the state's top players. He knew it, and his coaches saw that potential years before the Milwaukee Brewers selected him earlier this month in the 36th round of Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Freshmen are lucky to have an impact in a game, much less a season. But not every freshman is built the same way. Some surprise and become the team's best player. Meet Lauren Holifield.
Armed with two dominant pitchers, Tabitha Beard entered her fourth season in charge of New Hope High School fast-pitch softball looking to add a state title to the slow-pitch hardware the Lady Trojans have added since 2006.
Brent Younger remained focused. While longtime teammates were deciding on schools nearly every month, Younger believed that years of training and work on the baseball field would pay off.
STARKVILLE -- Thursday's softball game between Starkville High and Starkville Academy featured teams in similar situations. Both are trying to break in a new starting pitcher and to replace starters who graduated in the spring.
Craig Shannon didn't have an idea Bubba Davis was retiring until a week ago. That's why Shannon wasn't taken aback Monday when Davis announced his retirement after two seasons as head football coach at Columbus High School.
Bubba Davis always said if he could get up every day and go to a job he enjoyed he would coach for as long as possible. That was no longer the case for Davis at Columbus High School. As a result, the Falcons are looking for a new football coach. On Monday, Davis officially announced his retirement as Columbus High's football coach. He met with his players and assistant coaches and told them his decision didn't have anything thing to do with them.
STARKVILLE -- If Monday was any indication of things to come for the Starkville Academy girls' basketball team, count on seeing plenty of front-court action. Freshman forward Sallie Kate Richardson scored 22 points and transfer forward Anna Lea Little scored 14 in the Lady Volunteers' 56-30 win against West Lowndes. With Starkville Academy losing forwards Anne Claire Craig and Maggie Gladney to graduation, having a pair of 5-foot-10 players to step in certainly doesn't hurt the rebuilding process, no matter their age.
R.J. Johnson has a big decision to make. Will the hard-throwing right hander turn professional after being drafted Tuesday by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 36th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft? Or will he head to college?
Two sources Tuesday confirmed that former Nettleton and Hamilton High School head football coach Ricky Kendrick will be the head football coach at Caledonia High School. Kendrick and the sources declined to comment before Friday, when the hiring is expected to be approved by the Lowndes County School Board. Kendrick coached Hamilton to records of 3-7 in 2003 and 7-3 in 2002.
STARKVILLE -- Ja'nae Poe and Tarshayla Stephenson would love to continue to play volleyball in college. In the eight months since their high school volleyball careers ended, the Starkville and Columbus high school standouts have started to piece together the next phases of their lives. Next month, though, Poe and Stephenson will have what could be their final chance to make an impression on the volleyball court when they compete July 14 for the North team in the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star game.
The number of injuries to pitchers might not have happened like Brandon Johnson thought, but that doesn't mean plenty of lessons weren't learned in the 2010 high school baseball season. Johnson, a certified athletic trainer at Rehab at Work, a physical therapy clinic in Columbus, said at the beginning of the season that he saw a "potential for an increase in arm trouble" after the Mississippi High School Activities Association cut the amount of preparation time teams had before the start of the season.
Rachel Hollivay's goal is to become the best basketball player she can be. The 6-foot-5 junior also knows improved academic performance will help provide her with a solid foundation. Hollivay's desire to enhance her study habits recently led her and her family to explore transferring to other high schools in the area. After much consideration, the Hollivays decided Rachel would transfer from New Hope High School to Heritage Academy, a private school in Columbus.
Tradition-rich high school baseball programs New Hope and Hamilton will be well represented Saturday in the D.M. Howie Mississippi High School All-Star Baseball Games. Both schools will have two players take the field at Trustmark Park in Pearl for the games sponsored by the Crossroads Diamond Club. New Hope will be represented on the North squad by Jake Smith and Philip Tice in the Class 4A-5A-6A game at 1 p.m., while Hamilton's Dylan Earnest and Kevin McCartney will play for the North in the Class A-2A-3A game at 6 p.m.
1. MSU vs. Southern Mississippi: Five Things to Watch COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Oak HIll Academy looks to stop skid in series with Heritage Academy HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. New Hope looks for continued improvement against Columbus HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Game of Week: Starkville, West Point renew HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS