The Monst*rs team captured the 7-8 year old league title this season. Pictured from left are (front) Hagen Davis, Peyton Creech, Emassi Johnson, Cameron Williams, Jeffery Green, Patrick Ables, (back) Cameron Owens, Edward Johnson, Nathan Wilson, Cambrien McCullough, Trace Dearman and Marcus Straughter. Coaches from left are Kevin Ables, Jeff Ward, head coach David Wilson, Jessica Wilson and Rick Dearman.
Taylor Hawkins Sports EditorAfter a rain delay on Sunday, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State finished their sweep of Virginia and punched their ticket to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
MSU beat the odds by defeating the number six national seeded Cavaliers in dominating fashion.
While the pitching was shaky for the Bulldogs in game one, the bats were not. They amassed a phenomenal 20 hits, which ranks second for the Bulldogs all-time in postseason play, with 11 runs in the first game to win 11-6.
The pitching picked up for the Bulldogs in game two as it was 6-3 going into the ninth.
In the ninth, however, State closer Jonathan Holder ran into some uncharacteristic trouble as they gave up two runs to make it 6-5.
That was all the Cavs could muster, though. Holder closed out the game and, subsequently, the series.
This will be the ninth trip to Omaha for the Bulldogs with the most recent outing coming in 2007.
The road doesn’t get much easier from here on out, but it seems that Mississippi State has caught fire at the right time. They will need to keep that spark for their next opponent: Oregon State University.
OSU is a team with a recent history of big victories, most notably the consecutive national championships in 2006 and 2007.
The Beavers have six players batting over .300 with a seventh stuck at the .299 mark. That is more than plenty to match up with the hot bats of Hunter Renfroe and company.
Mississippi State will probably face the freakish freshman Andrew Moore with his 14-1 record and 1.36 ERA on 119 innings pitched. Moore was named Pac-12 Freshman of the year and First Team Freshman All-American by virtually every news outlet.
The plus for MSU is that Moore can get a bit wild as seen by his six wild pitches and team leading 10 hit batters on the season.
The Bulldogs can win if they follow the same pattern as the Super Regional: get up early and lean on the bullpen to finish games.
If they can’t jump on Moore early, it may be a long day for the Bulldogs.
The opening ceremonies for this year’s CWS will be held on Friday, June 14, with the first game of MSU vs. OSU being played at 2 p.m. the following day on ESPN2.
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The United States has a loosely precise hierarchy of sports that its inhabitants support.
The NFL leads the way with college football and the NBA following behind. There is an arguable order afterwards that includes college basketball, MLB, college baseball, hockey, NASCAR and professional golf.
After that extensive list lies professional tennis. I would argue that it has fallen that far because there is no true American threat becoming a dominant force.
Gone are the days of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, and Andy Roddick never came close to meeting his expectations.
Americans have somewhat turned a blind eye to what is perhaps the richest tennis field ever displayed.
Over the past weekend, Spaniard Rafael Nadal won his eighth French Open, which has him dubbed the “King of Clay.” That is the most any player has won a single Grand Slam.
His list of accomplishments is extensive and include being only the second player ever to win the Career Golden Slam (completing the Career Grand Slam and winning gold in the Olympics) and breaking the record for consecutive years of having won a Grand Slam at nine.
The most insane thing about all of this is that he isn’t even the most dominant tennis player of his era. That distinction goes to the Switzerland native Roger Federer.
Federer will more than likely go down as the greatest tennis player of all time with his 17 Grand Slam Titles (seven were at Wimbledon) and a record-breaking 237-consecutive-week at the World’s number one spot (he has been there 302 weeks overall).
With these two incredible performers, it is almost easy to forget the rising star Novak Djokovic.
The number one ranked Serbian has already won six Grand Slam Titles, including four Australian Open victories. He is also a two time ATP World Player of the Year.
The last American male to win a Grand Slam event was Roddick in 2003. That was a decade ago.
As a country that prides itself on athletic dominance, it is a shame to not be able to have one respectable male performer.
The tennis competition is deep and unmerciful, and if Americans ever want to be able to compete again, they must show the sport more interest. This starts in the early ages.
With the rise of concussion awareness, it would seem that parents would be pushing their children to less violent sports, like tennis.
America has to get it together because quite frankly, we are all missing out.
Powell McCaleb (left) and Tyler George both earned spot on the State Games team this year. By TAYLOR HAWKINS
On Wednesday, two Yazoo City baseball players earned spots on the State Games of Mississippi District 3 roster.
Tyler George of Yazoo County and Powell McCaleb partook in a combine at the Mississippi Delta Community College and were among the 18 of 40 or so participants who were chosen.
The State Games of Mississippi is a baseball tournament pitting standout high school players from across the state against each other. This year’s tournament will be held at Meridian Community College.
George, who has been the starting shortstop for Yazoo County since he was in the eighth grade, does not take all of the credit for being selected.
“It was a great accomplishment, but I couldn’t do it without God,” George said. “Recently I went to an FCA Camp and I gave my life to Christ. He’s showing me new things, and making these tryouts really makes me feel blessed.”
Yazoo City native Garrett Pickens is expected to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft that began Thursday and goes through today.By TAYLOR HAWKINS
Yazoo City native Garrett Pickens has been preparing himself both mentally and physically for the MLB Draft.
The Manchester Academy alumnus was at his old school on Wednesday throwing with rising senior catcher Powell McCaleb.
Pickens started his college baseball career at Mississippi Delta Community College before graduating and transferring to Delta State University.
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Taylor Hawkins Sports EditorFor a few weeks now, I have wanted to write a story about MLB umpires and how they are unfairly criticized, but after reading an article about the end of the Yankees/Indians game on Tuesday night, I cannot do that.
Baseball plays are normally bang bang plays in which the umpire has very little time to make crucial calls, without the help of instant replay.
Sure they can review whether a ball went out of play or if it was a home run or not, but instant replay is not allowed to be used to overturn plays at the plate, which are typically the hardest calls to make.
ESPN had a segment on Sportscenter the other day showing some of the blown calls throughout this year’s season. They give slow motion replays and multiple camera angles that show that the calls were “obviously” blown.
MLB umpires don’t have the luxury of slow motion and multiple camera angles. They have to make game altering calls based upon how they see a split second play.
Fans, which is short for fanatics, hold MLB umpires to an almost unachievable level of perfection.
With that said, however. Some MLB umpires are trying to break out of their “anonymous official” role to become personally invested in the game. That is very bad for baseball. What started out as animated third strike calls has evolved to new heights.
The most recent example of this occurred in the aforementioned Yankees/Indians game.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning down 4-3, Cleveland SS Mike Aviles made what he thought was a checked swing. The ball hit off Yankees catcher Chris Stewart’s glove, but umpire Tony Randazzo called it a foul ball, a strike.
Aviles argued the call but soon resumed his at bat, which resulted in a fly out. Aviles had words with Randazzo on the way back to the bench and was, subsequently, ejected from the game.
Aviles was ejected from a game that had already ended.
Is there a bigger way for an umpire to shout, “Look at me!” then by ejecting a player from a game that had already ended?
Why, yes. Yes there is.
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On April 28, Tampa Bay pitcher David Price was not getting very consistent calls from MLB umpire Tom Hallion.
When the inning concluded, Price walked off the mound clearly upset with himself. As he walked to the dugout, Hallion allegedly told Price to “throw the ball over the [expletive] plate.”
When his alleged insult was thrown, the entire Rays dugout exploded in outrage.
Hallion not only denied that he said this, he called Price a liar.
Hallion’s version of the events stated that Price was displaying “body language to insinuate that he was pissed off” and that he only told Price to “throw the ball.”
Let me repeat that. He told Price, who was walking back to the dugout without a ball in his hand, to “throw the ball.”
Which story sounds more believable?
My question is why does it matter what type of body language Price displayed? Hallion’s job is to call balls, strikes and outs, not play therapist and interpret a player’s body language
Price, Hellickson and another Rays pitcher, Matt Moore, were fined $1,000, not because of what happened in the game, but because they publicly criticized the official via Twitter.
Hallion was fined $1,000 because the league deemed that he was the problem here.
What could possibly be worse than umpires trying to gain the spotlight?
How about umpires that don’t know the rules.
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In a close game between Houston and the Los Angeles Angels, Astros manager Bo Porter put in pitcher Wesley Wright. Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia reacted to this by brining in a pinch hitter.
Porter decided that he wanted to counter Scioscia’s sub by switching his pitcher again before he had ever thrown a pitch.
That confusing mess is an illegal switch that every umpire is paid to know.
MLB umpire Fieldin Culbreth allowed the switch to take place.
Scioscia argued the rule and brought up Official Baseball Rule 3.05(b), which discusses the rule, but Fieldin overruled him.
Though the Angels won 6-5, the rest of the game was played under protest.
This is not some little league game where a parent decides to be the umpire. This is the highest level of baseball officiating.
Culbreth was given a two game suspension because of his incompetence.
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The MLB umpires seem to want the spotlight so badly that they are willing to degrade themselves to get it.
I was an intramural ref in college, so I have a soft spot for the hard working officials.
It isn’t easy to be hated by everyone watching the game.
This is their job, however. It’s their burden to bear. Some of these umpires need to go back and find what little decency and professionalism that they have left.
Baseball needs a change, and they need it fast before all integrity is lost.