Category Archives: Baseball

Senior Legion Continues

Tupelo reached the finals of the Senior Legion State Tournament by beating Pontotoc on Saturday. Then the bad weather hit during the Amory-Booneville elimination game. That will conclude today at 2 p.m. at Pontotoc. The winner gets Pontotoc immediately following, and then the winner of that game plays Tupelo in the finals. That should start around 7 p.m. Should Tupelo lose, a second game would have to be played, Monday I presume.

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In Today’s Journal

They finally got some games in at the Senior Legion State Tournament. Phillip Matthews‘ walkoff homer lifted Tupelo past Amory. Also, I had a story on fast-pitch softball finding a home for its state championship round. About time.

Speaking of softball, several teams kick off the slow-pitch season this weekend. Smithville hosted its annual tournament yesterday.

Have a great weekend.

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Senior Legion Update

Booneville and Hattiesburg will resume their game at 11:30 a.m. – Booneville leads 10-7 in the eighth – with Tupelo and Amory to follow. I’m not 100 percent clear on the schedule after that, except that there are supposed to be two more games at 4:30 p.m. and 8. Gene Phelps is on the scene.

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Senior Legion: Delayed

Pontotoc Red Sox players Lee Paine, from left, Jason Chism and Brock Foster enjoy the inclement weather Thursday night.

Pontotoc Red Sox players Lee Paine, from left, Jason Chism and Brock Foster enjoy the inclement weather Thursday night.

Photo by Brandon Speck

Brandon Speck wasted a few gallons of gas going out to Pontotoc this morning. The Senior Legion State Tournament was supposed to resume at 9:30 a.m. after last night’s action was cut short by rain. When Brandon arrived, he was told that the field was unplayable. The infield, he said, looked like “mush.”

More frustrating is the lack of a plan. Play will resume around 1 p.m., or maybe 1:30. As a Pontotoc assistant coach put it, “We’re going to play it by ear.” Brandon, who covered the thing for us last night, has moved on. He’ll be at Smithville’s softball tournament this afternoon.

Gene Phelps is scheduled to cover the Legion tourney today, but we’ll have to see what sort of schedule they come up with. I’ll let you know when/if we get one, because I’m gone for the day after lunch. Two teams have already dropped out of this event, so things have been a mees. Best wishes to Kirk Presley and Nicky Browning as they try to straighten this out.

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Senior Legion: Schedule Change

Tupelo 49ers coach Kirk Presley just called me and said two teams have dropped out of the Senior Legion State Tournament, which starts today in Pontotoc. Both Mississippi Prospects teams backed out this morning. There will be no 1 p.m. game. Here’s the revised schedule:

Thursday’s Games
4:30 p.m. – Game 1, Hattiesburg vs. Booneville
8:00 – Game 2, Tupelo vs. Amory
Friday’s Games
1 p.m. – Game 3, Pontotoc vs. Game 1 winner
4:30 – Game 4, Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
8:00 – Game 5, Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner
Saturday’s Games
Semifinals:

10 a.m. – Game 6, Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner
4:30 p.m. – Game 7, Game 5 loser vs. Game 6 winner
Championship:
8:00 – Game 8, Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner
Note: Game 9, if necessary, to be played Sunday.

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In Today’s Journal

Photo by: C. Todd Sherman

Of course, we had the story on Chris Stratton committing to play baseball for Mississippi State. Also, Booneville football coach Jim Drewry was named Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association.

As most of you know, Drewry’s had some health problems the last few years, but he keeps coming back. Assistant coach Rick Coggin made a keen observation: “His health’s typically better during the football season than at any other time.”

As for this year’s team, the Blue Devils are coming off a 7-5 season. They reached the second round of the state playoffs. Only three starters from each side of the ball are gone from that team.

Back at quarterback will be Jeiron Jones, a mobile junior who took over signal-calling duties in the third game of 2007 and was 7-3 as a starter. His entire backfield returns: junior Bo Brown, who rushed for 782 yards, and senior Andrew Southward (788 yards). Also back is junior receiver Drew Cristo (19 catches, 434 yards).

“If we can stay healthy, I feel like we’ll have a good ball club,” Drewry said. “How good it is, it remains to be seen.”

I expect the Blue Devils to be very good. Look for them to be somewhere in my preseason rankings. Which prompts a good question: Who should be No. 1 in the Daily Journal preseason rankings? Remember, the Small School rankings include Classes 1A-3A, while the Large School rankings are 4A-5A.

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Stratton Commits to State

Tupelo pitcher Chris Stratton made a verbal commitment Sunday to play baseball for Mississippi State.

The 2008 Daily Journal Player of the Year posted a 10-1 record with a 1.95 ERA in leading Tupelo to the Class 5A state finals. The rising senior struck out 98 batters in 75.1 innings, and he hit .367 at the plate.

MSU has always been on Stratton’s radar, but the recent coaching change sealed the deal. After a successful tenure at Kentucky, Bulldog alum John Cohen replaced the retired Ron Polk.

“I’m just real excited about the new staff and what they’re all about, and the new era of State,” Stratton said. “Coach Cohen, he’s unreal. Coach (Butch) Thompson, the new pitching coach, is real good. He’s real intense, and I’m real excited about getting close to him.”

Stratton, who’s 16-1 over two seasons, throws a mid-to-upper-80s fastball with a good curveball, and he’s working on a changeup. His biggest strength is his pinpoint accuracy.

“He has the ability to throw any of his pitches for strikes at any time in the count,” Tupelo coach Gary Enis said.

Read more about this story in Tuesday’s Daily Journal.

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