This column is normally reserved for local high school, junior college, Ole Miss and Mississippi State sports and ‘what’s going on’ in that spectrum.
But with COVID-19 having put a grinding halt to all that I thought it would be interesting to take a brief gaze into ‘What Would Be Going On Around Here’ were everything in it’s usual state of affairs.
High School Baseball
Several area prep teams were off to impressive starts and had bright hopes for extended post-season runs before the coronavirus forced the MHSAA’s hand.
Biggersville, Corinth and New Site came out of the gates hot as firecrackers, although the Warriors had a rather bumpy week on the Mississippi gulf coast, placing a slight damper on an otherwise promising season.
The Lions are 4-1 with a single defeat at Corinth while the Royals are 6-1 with their only blemish coming at 4A Tishomingo County. Kossuth (4-4) and Booneville (5-5) are at .500 but it remains uncertain, highly unlikely according to some reliable sources, that anyone will be stepping out on the field of play again this spring to compete for division and state titles.
And it’s a shame, too. All the hard work and dedication put in by every single coach and player seems to be for naught if things don’t improve fast.
I really hate it for the high school seniors because they are not in the same boat as collegiate players. They don’t receive an extra year of eligibility. When you’re a high school senior, that’s it. If the season ends prematurely, such as is the case presently, there’s no next year. I can only imagine how that must feel to all the senior athletes, in all spring sports.
As for softball, no area squads had sensational starts to their season other than Thrasher and Booneville.
The Lady Rebels are holding at 4-0, having outscored their opponents 53-13, while the Lady Blue Devils started 3-0, outscoring the opposition 23-3.
Since the diamond season’s for both boys and girls have been put on hold, here’s a look at some of the opening series, and contests, that we have missed so far.
This would have been the division openers for most teams.
In class 4A baseball, Corinth (8-5) and Tishomingo County (3-6) were set for a 2-game set this week. Game two would have been played Friday night at Warrior Field.
In 3A, Kossuth and Amory (7-2) would have just completed their 2-game, division-opening series with Friday night’s contest scheduled for Aggie Field.
Staying in 3A, Alcorn Central (3-6) and Nettleton (6-3) were scheduled for a pair of games this week while Booneville and Belmont (4-2) missed out on their division-opening contests.
In 1A Biggersville was set to meet Falkner (2-7) twice this week but the Lions are in the same boat as everyone else, waiting to see if they will be able to play another game this season. Pine Grove (7-1) and Jumpertown also missed their division series.
In 2A, Walnut (3-5) and Mantachie (3-5) were scheduled for a two-game set while, north of the border, McNairy Central (2-1) had just begun their season and were scheduled to meet Scotts Hill and Bolivar this week.
Shifting to softball, division-opening series missed included Alcorn Central vs Amory, Booneville vs Belmont, Thrasher vs Falkner, Biggersville vs Jumpertown, Kossuth vs Nettleton, Walnut vs New Site and Tishomingo County vs New Albany with Corinth missing their home contest against Tupelo..
Those games were all scheduled for Tuesday, March 17.
Most of those series had return games set for Thursday and Friday with the exception of Corinth and Tish County. The Lady Warriors had a game scheduled at Ripley Thursday while North Pontotoc was to travel to face the Lady Braves in Iuka Thursday night. Walnut was to host Blue Mountain Friday night.
Now we’ll never know how the season would have unfolded had they started on time.
Junior College/NAIA baseball and softball
By now you’re aware that the spring sports seasons for all collegiate sports is over. That decision came down last week.
The Northeast programs were highly-successful in the non-conference part of their schedules with the Tigers sitting at 16-2 and ranked No. 9 in the country while the Lady Tigers were 10-3.
Coach Richy Harrelson’s baseball team missed their scheduled home double-header Wednesday against No. 8 Northwest. But they missed an even bigger series, rankings-wise, a week ago when their home set with No. 3 Pearl River was cancelled.
Coach Jody Long’s softball squad missed a home double-header Wednesday vs Meridian.
In Blue Mountain, the Lady Toppers (10-6) were set for a 4-game home series this weekend with Brewton-Parker while the Toppers (10-15) baseball squad missed a three-game series at William Carey in Hattiesburg.
Ole Miss, Mississippi State baseball
Just for fun, let’s say that the No. 4 Rebels (16-1) had swept LSU last weekend and then won their midweek games at home against UT-Martin and Murray State. They would be 21-1 heading into this weekend’s series at Texas A&M.
The No. 12 Bulldogs (12-4), fresh off a pair of huge wins vs No. 5 Texas Tech last week at Biloxi, would have played a 3-game SEC series-opener at home against Arkansas last weekend before hosting S.E. Louisiana mid-week. State, who would have been 16-4 had they won all those games, was set to travel to LSU this weekend.
At a combined 37-5, Ole Miss and Mississippi State would have created a Magnolia state juggernaut comparable to the 2014 football season when both were ranked in the top-5 nationally.