Category Archives: Softball

Something Besides Football

I love football, but I need a quick break from it, and maybe you do, too. So here is some softball to snack on.

Ingomar out-slugged West Union in a 1A showdown last night. Interesting side note: If Ingomar hadn’t gotten booted from the playoffs last year for playing too many games, West Union probably would not have reached the state finals.

Lakyn Nelson, the 2007 Daily Journal Player of the Year, is off to a hot start at North Pontotoc (you’ll recall she transferred from Mooreville in January). Through Monday, Nelson was 16-for-20 at the plate with three home runs and 15 RBIs.

Also, Nettleton (9-1) suffered its first loss last night, 3-2 to Houston (8-3). Maybe the Lady Tigers were still high off Monday’s big win against Mooreville.

Now, back to football.

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Tidbits

Yeah, I know, I’ve been slacking off the last few days. I have been working, just not on bloggable stuff (I just invented a new word!).

In case you missed these stories over the weekend, we had a Week 1 football practice update, and we covered a Mooreville-Saltillo softball game. In Tuesday’s Journal, look for a prep notebook, especially if you’re a Tishomingo County or Smithville fan.

I’ve got to get out to some practices this week: Okolona, Aberdeen, Tupelo Christian, among others. We’re less than two weeks from the publication of the Football Journal (Aug. 24). Stuff’s slowly coming together.

I chatted with West Point coach Chris Chambless today, hoping for an update on transfer Markell Lee. All Chambless could tell me is that the 6-foot-5 linebacker, formerly of Corinth, is not yet practicing with the team. He’s apparently taking summer classes to get academically eligible.

Speaking of West Point, ICC and East Mississippi will play a football game there Oct. 18. That’s kind of cool.

I also spoke with Aberdeen coach Chris Duncan, who said his Bulldogs are much further along than they were this time last year in regards to getting schemes put together and learned. Duncan is entering his second season at the helm.

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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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But It’s Still July

Pop quiz: What begins Monday? Practice, my friends. No, not for football (that’s Aug. 4), but for slow-pitch softball, volleyball and cross country teams. Summer break is over, kids.

The softball season begins Aug. 1. I know it’s like this every year, but that’s insanely early. How can you start playing high school events before school starts? Seems weird to me.

So I offer you a quick glance at the upcoming softball campaign. Story lines abound. Here’s a quick reminder of the Daily Journal’s final 2007 rankings: 1. Mooreville, 2. Ingomar, 3. Nettleton, 4. Booneville, 5. Pontotoc.

Now, story lines for those teams:

Mooreville: The Lady Troopers fell short against Newton Co. in the Class 3A state finals, and then they lost Daily Journal Player of the Year Lakyn Nelson, who transferred to North Pontotoc in January. A lot of talent graduated, including 2006 Player of the Year Rachel Tally, Sarah Smith and Ann Howell. Perry Wilburn, the fast-pitch coach, has taken over for Rex Berryman.

Ingomar: The Lady Falcons will try to put the heartache of 2007 behind them. They were a heavy favorite to repeat as 1A champs, but they were disqualified from the playoffs when it was discovered they’d played too many games. Ingomar returns some good bats, including Natalie Frenn and Lyndi Kidd.

Nettleton: The Lady Tigers will be loaded with tons of returning talent, led by Daily Journal All-Area first-teamer Sydney Clayton. After the fast-pitch team made a run to the 3A finals this spring, look for the slow-pitch bunch, comprised of basically the same group, to vie for state (Nettleton lost to Mooreville in last year’s slow-pitch North finals). In the end, they could be the best in our area.

Booneville: Gone are sluggers Raven Combs and Sara Beth Michael. Coach Tommy Fraiser is going to have a tough challenge in the deep 3A field.

Pontotoc: Brooke Denton is very good on the mound during fast-pitch season, but she’s also good at the plate during slow-pitch. The junior hit .516 last year, but can she lead the Lady Warriors on their first deep playoff run in 4A?

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All-Area Baseball, Softball

I’ve never selected an All-Area baseball team by position, because frankly, there just aren’t that many great second basemen out there. Usually, a team’s best player is put on the left side of the outfield and/or at pitcher. On this year’s first team, there are five players who logged heavy innings on the hill.

However, there is a better variety than usual. The other five are strictly position players. So, if I wanted, I could put this team out on the field without having to place any players in an unfamiliar position. Here’s what I came up with, batting order and all.

1. Ladarrius Cole, CF, Nettleton: A left-hander with speed, and he’s an outstanding glove. He played left field for Nettleton, but center’s a good fit.
2. Zach Chavers, SS, Pontotoc: Was a leadoff hitter this year, batting .515 with nine homers. This puts him back at his old lineup spot.
3. Daniel Tunnell, 2B, New Albany: He’s mainly a third baseman, but he’s played every infield position. Developed into a major force this year.
4. Gardner Richey, LF, Tupelo: Did you see the shot he hit in Game 3 against Ocean Springs? If I were pitching, he’s the last guy I’d want to face.
5. Jake Sloan, DH, Hatley: Plays shortstop, but I like Chavers a little better there. Great place in the lineup for a left-hander with pop.
6. Jordan Moore, 3B, Calhoun City: Delta State signee can do it all. He whacked 10 home runs and gobbled up everything that came his way at third (.990 FLD%).
7. Evan Weibel, C, Tupelo: He actually batted leadoff for the Wave. He’s not your typical slow catcher and has a .521 OBP.
8. Seth George, RF, Tishomingo Co.: Nothing like some speed at the bottom of your order. As for his defense, check out this sweet catch he made against New Hope.
9. Zane Treadaway, 1B, East Union: This is the only guy I’m putting way out of position. He’s an outfielder when not pitching, but he’s also left-handed, so he’ll be fine.
Pitcher – Chris Stratton, Tupelo: Our Player of the Year has a good repertoire, great command, and he’s only a junior.
Head coach: Gary Enis,Tupelo (Coach of the Year).
Assistant coaches: Rex Berryman, Mooreville; Wes Johnson, East Webster.

Man, this team could do some damage.

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Coaches, Coaches, Coaches

In today’s Journal, I had the story on Alan Wood resigning as Kossuth’s softball coach. A replacement should be in place within the next month.

Speaking of vacancies, Okolona is currently interviewing candidates for the head football position. Ken Byars left after one season to take an assistant’s job at Pontotoc, making it two openings at Okolona – last I checked, they were also seeking a new girls basketball coach.

Also still looking for basketball coaches are Tishomingo County girls and Hamilton boys. If I’ve missed the boat on new hires there, please let me know.

To bring everyone up to speed, here is the list of coaching changes in the area for basketball and football:

Basketball
Brad Gray, New Albany boys
Chip Johnson, Falkner boys
Teague Burchfield, Lafayette Co. boys
Trent Adair, Ripley boys
Grant Pate, Tupelo boys
Louie Riddick, Amory girls
Winston Varnado, West Point boys

Football
Ron Price, New Albany
Jack Clark, Nettleton
Brian Sims, Starkville Aca.
Mark Bray, South Pontotoc
Aubrey Boren, Tupelo Christian
Justin Hollis, Vardaman

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Coaches: All-Area Time

I just went over the nominations I’ve received so far for the Daily Journal’s All-Area baseball and fast-pitch softball teams. I have received nominations from 13 baseball coaches and seven softball coaches. The deadline for submissions: FRIDAY!!!

That means a lot people out there need to get on the ball. You know who you are. Just send me your nominations and include each player’s class, position, all stats (and I mean all of them), and postseason honors. E-mail them to brad.locke@djournal.com, or fax to 842-2233. Again, the deadline is FRIDAY!!!

That’s in three days. That’s plenty of time, especially with school out, and much thanks to the coaches who have already sent theirs in.

There will be three teams selected in each sport, along with players and coaches of the year. I’ve already picked our top coach and player in baseball (you can guess, but I’m not telling), and I’m pretty close on the softball. That’s the easy part. The hard part is picking the teams, specifically the second and third teams. The first team usually picks itself; any dolt could do it (which I’m sure leaves some of you critics grasping for ways to explain my basketball All-Area teams; keep grasping, I enjoy watching it).

So all you fans out there, nag your coach until he or she sends in those nominations. Because, you know, the deadline is FRIDAY!!!

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