West Union clinches division with win over Myrtle

Chase Coffey of West Union drives her three RBI triple into right field during the sixth inning at Myrtle. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Chase Coffey of West Union drives her three RBI triple into right field during the sixth inning at Myrtle. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


By Dennis Clayton
MYRTLE – West Union got a win over Myrtle on Thursday and in the process assured themselves of the division title for the seventh year in a row. West Union defeated Myrtle 5-1 in a tightly contested game.
“Huge game, very stressful game for both teams and it was very stressful for me,” West Union coach Lisa Bogue said. “I don’t know why, but today was just a very stressful day. Myrtle is a good team and we came to win and I’m glad that we did for our seniors.”
Both teams had a lot at stake in the contest, West Union was trying to remain perfect in the division and claim the title while Myrtle was trying to remain in second place.
The game went three innings with neither team scoring, West Union threatened in the top of the second, but left runners stranded at second and third. Myrtle left Callie Denton stranded in the bottom of the second following her two-out double.
West Union scored in the top of the fourth as Bailey Bogue singled and later scored on Gracen Conlee’s RBI double. Conlee later scored when the Myrtle attempt to get her in a run-down between home and third failed and the Lady Eagles took a 2-0 lead.
West Union scored three runs in the sixth inning as Conlee reached on an error. Callie Baggett followed in the batting order and also reached on an error. Kylie Massengill loaded the bases with her bunt single. Chase Coffey provided the biggest hit in the game as she tripled into right, driving in three runs to put West Union up 5-0.
Myrtle came back in the bottom of the inning to score one run as Keely Chunn reached on an error and later scored to close the score to 5-1.
Brittany Taylor retired the Lady Hawks in order in the seventh to seal the win for West Union. Taylor struck out seven batters in the win.
“Tonight, the big inning that they (West Union) had started with an error and you cannot give a good team like West Union extra outs,” Myrtle coach Marty Cook said. “Proud of my girls and their effort, we hit the ball pretty hard at times, just right at them. We hope to see them later again in the playoffs.”
West Union is 17-6 overall and 9-0 in division. Myrtle is 11-9 on the season and 7-3 in division.
Keely Chunn fires the throw from third to retire the West Union batter on Thursday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Keely Chunn fires the throw from third to retire the West Union batter on Thursday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Jesslyn Brewer slides into second as Ashton Hogue tried to apply the tag. Photo by Dennis Clayton

Jesslyn Brewer slides into second as Ashton Hogue tried to apply the tag. Photo by Dennis Clayton


Bailey Bogue scores the game's first run as Lauren Coggin reaches for the throw. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Bailey Bogue scores the game’s first run as Lauren Coggin reaches for the throw. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Lady Falcons pick up three division wins at home

Gara Beth Self tries to leap over the inside pitch by Blue Mountain during Tuesday's win. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Gara Beth Self tries to leap over the inside pitch by Blue Mountain during Tuesday’s win. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


By Dennis Clayton
INGOMAR – Ingomar made great strides in their division record on Tuesday as they won three games to improve their record in Division 2-1A to 6-2. Ingomar defeated Blue Mountain 17-2 and swept Ashland by identical 22-0 wins in their doubleheader. With their three wins and West Union’s win over Myrtle, the Lady Falcons trail second place Myrtle by only a half game.
“I didn’t think that against Blue Mountain that we came out real focused in the top of the first and gave up two (runs),” Ingomar coach Jonathan Ashley said. “In games like these it’s more about you and not your opponent. You’re playing to do it the right way and I don’t think we were really focused to start with. I thought we got a little more focused as we went along. You just try to get through these without getting someone hurt or developing too many bad habits.”
Blue Mountain enjoyed an early advantage as they scored two runs in the top of the first. That would be short-lived as Ingomar sent 14 batters to the plate, scoring eight runs.
Ingomar pieced together five walks, two hit-batters and four hits to score their runs in the first. Erin Wall and Lauren Koon had RBI singles while Lindsay Hall had a double and Hannah Russell added a single.
Erin Wall shut down the Blue Mountain offense for the rest of the game, allowing no runs and earning the win. Offensively, the Lady Falcons kept tacking on runs in the second and third.
Ingomar scored four runs in the second to push their lead to 12-2. The Lady Falcons closed the contest with five runs in the third to take the 17-2 win.
Ingomar had a big day at the plate in the first game against Ashland. The Lady Falcons pounded out 13 hits in their 22-0 win. Lauren Thompson’s inside-the-park home run drove in three runs. Lindsay Hall drove in two runs with her inside-the-park home run. Kelly Fooshee and Kasey Carson collected triples while Wall, Thompson, Morgan Muhundro and Carson Grisham added doubles in the extra-hit department.
Ingomar is now 12-10 on the year and has division games remaining against Hickory Flat and West Union.
Lindsay Hall crosses the plate after her inside-the-park home run against Ashland on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Lindsay Hall crosses the plate after her inside-the-park home run against Ashland on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

New Albany tennis advances in team play

Mark Robbins was dominating in his boys singles tennis match, winning 6-0, 6-0. Photo by Dennis Clayton

Mark Robbins was dominating in his boys singles tennis match, winning 6-0, 6-0. Photo by Dennis Clayton


By Dennis Clayton
NEW ALBANY – New Albany swept Corinth on every court in the first round of Division 4A Team Tennis action on Friday at BNA Bank Park and will advance to play next week in the second round.
“The only court that we had trouble with against Corinth was the girls doubles,” New Albany coach Warner Creekmore said. “I was definitely pleased with everybody’s outcomes on the court today.”
“After looking at the brackets again today, we will play the winner of West Lauderdale and Greenwood,” Creekmore said. “I know that West Lauderdale will be tough and Greenwood will have a girls singles player that is really good and athletic players. We take nothing for granted during the playoffs. In my opinion, I think we will be in the North Half Championship.”
New Albany was particularly dominant on three courts, as boys singles (Mark Robbins), boys doubles (Michael Crotts and Parker Nail) and mixed doubles (Darby Mills and Roberto Valadez) won 6-0, 6-0.
New Albany hopes to continue their advance in the playoffs in efforts to defend their State Champion Team Tennis title. New Albany has won the team title three of the past four years.
Boys Singles
Mark Robbins def. Dalton Reeves 6-0, 6-0.
Girls Singles
Morris Kelly Clayton def. Stephanie Jones 6-1, 6-2.
Boys Doubles
Michael Crotts and Parker Nail def. Reid Thompson and Rhett Robinson 6-0, 6-0.
Trace Thompson and Christopher Shands def. Brandon Nhek and Josh Williams 6-1, 6-0.
Girls Doubles
Hannah Anderson and Quinshay Perkins def. Shelby McClain and Madison Mayhall 7-5, 7-5.
Meghan Van and Katie Davis def. Katie Hurt and Avery Shappley 6-1. 6-0.
Mixed Doubles
Darby Mills and Roberto Valadez def. Andy Clausel and Madison Bickert 6-0, 6-0.
Parker Nail and Michael Crotts won their boys doubles match 6-0, 6-0. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Parker Nail and Michael Crotts won their boys doubles match 6-0, 6-0. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Roberto Valadez and Darby Mills won their mixed doubles match 6-0, 6-0. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Roberto Valadez and Darby Mills won their mixed doubles match 6-0, 6-0. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Meghan Van and Katie Davis won in girls doubles at BNA Bank Park during 4A team playoff competition. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Meghan Van and Katie Davis won in girls doubles at BNA Bank Park during 4A team playoff competition. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Eagles shutout Rebels in division play

Hunter Jennings held Hickory Flat scoreless as West Union downed the Rebels in division play 10-0. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Hunter Jennings held Hickory Flat scoreless as West Union downed the Rebels in division play 10-0. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


By Dennis Clayton
ENTERPRISE – West Union defeated Hickory Flat 10-0 at home on Friday behind Hunter Jennings’ two-hitter and took sole possession of third place in Division 2-1A.
“We’ve battled, we’ve had our ups and downs throughout the year, but we really came out competing and played well,” West Union coach Ashley Russell said. “Hunter Jennings did a great job on the mound for us and I thought it was one of the better defensive games that we’ve played all year. Even before the game last night (Hickory Flat defeated Ingomar) we came into the game feeling like we had to win to get in (playoffs). We did a good job with that pressure on us. I thought our kids competed well.”
The Eagles scored in every inning but one during the five inning game and used timely hitting and help from the Rebels to produce runs.
In the West Union first, after Tyler Wooley and Jennings singled, two walks and a hit-batsman put the Eagles on the scoreboard with a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles took advantage of three walks to load the bases in the second and Caleb Jennings’ three RBI double put West Union up 5-0. West Union was aided by RBI singles by Wooley, Jennings and Logan Raines in the third to pad their lead at 8-0.
Hickory Flat was able to get runners on in each of the first three innings, but Jennings got the defensive help needed to retire the side without allowing a run.
Wooley, the Eagles shortstop was involved in one of the more exciting defensive plays of the night in the top of the third. With two out and a runner on second, a sharply-hit grounder up the middle struck second base and popped into the air. Wooley, hustling on the play defensively, snatched the ball on the right side of the base and fired to first to get the third out of the inning.
Chase Bogue’s two RBI single in the fifth provided the final two runs of the evening for the Eagles.
“We’ve just got to be more consistent, we’ve not made as many errors in the last two games and we’ve gotten the timely hits and we’ve just got to keep doing that to win,” Russell said.
West Union is 10-9 on the year and 5-3 in division.
Chase Bogue drives in the final two runs for West Union with his single in the fifth inning. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Chase Bogue drives in the final two runs for West Union with his single in the fifth inning. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Dye leads Lady Bulldogs over Ripley

Megan Dye led her Lady Bulldogs to the win over Ripley. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Megan Dye led her Lady Bulldogs to the win over Ripley. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


By Dennis Clayton
RIPLEY – The Ripley Lady Tigers got a double dose of Megan Dye as the New Albany senior pitched a one hitter and drove in five runs to lead her Lady Bulldogs to a 16-1 division win on Thursday. The New Albany win kept them firmly in playoff contention in Division 2-4A.
“I think we played pretty well, we had a couple of girls that weren’t here today and had to change our defense around, but Megan pitched really, really well,” New Albany coach Tom Zahller said. “We didn’t have too many base-runners on (for Ripley) and when Megan fell behind, she came back and had some big strikeouts. Offensively, it’s always difficult with different pitchers and we were a little bit over-aggressive to start. We settled in a bit, got some base-runners on and had some timely hitting.”
New Albany scored all their runs in three innings, six runs in the second and fourth innings and four in the fifth.
The Lady Bulldogs made use of a couple of walks, a hit batter and three hits to score their first runs of the game. Dye came through with the big hit of the inning as her single drove in two runs.
In the New Albany fourth, ten batters went to the plate to extend the lead to 12-0. Dye hit a three RBI double and Meadow Golden hit a two RBI single and later scored a run.
Beth Barnes’ RBI double and run scored helped New Albany increase their lead to 16-0 in the top of the fifth. Ripley would score a run in the bottom of the inning with two outs.
Dye allowed one run on one hit while striking out eight for the Lady Bulldogs. Dye was 2-3 at the plate with a walk, five RBIs and a run scored.
New Albany improved to 3-2 in division with games remaining against Byhalia, Senatobia and Lafayette to determine their placement in division.
Katlyn Cavender is safe as she slides under the tag at the plate. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Katlyn Cavender is safe as she slides under the tag at the plate. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

New Albany sweeps division tennis tournament

Hannah Anderson serves for New Albany. Anderson will compete for the girls doubles state championship again with new partner Quinshay Perkins. Anderson and Olivia Dunnam were the champs in 2013. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Hannah Anderson serves for New Albany. Anderson will compete for the girls doubles state championship again with new partner Quinshay Perkins. Anderson and Olivia Dunnam were the champs in 2013. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


By Dennis Clayton
NEW ALBANY – New Albany swept every court in the Division Individual Tennis Tournament at BNA Bank Park on Wednesday and will compete in the State Individual Championships on May 1 and 2.
“Not in the history of my coaching career here at New Albany have we had every court advancing to the State Championships,” New Albany coach Warner Creekmore said. “I thought we did well, we had byes for the first round, so we had two decent matches and now we’re all going to state. Hannah Anderson will get the opportunity to compete for another individual title in girls doubles again with Quinshay Perkins.” Olivia Dunnam and Anderson won the 4A Girls Doubles title in 2013.
Mark Robbins will be making his third consecutive trip to the state championship in boys singles. “I am looking forward to competing for my school one last time and consider it an honor to represent New Albany,” Robbins said. Robbins knows the competition will be tough, but is looking forward to the challenge.
Division tournament finals
Boys Singles
Mark Robbins def. Nathan Hollis (Lafayette) 6-3, 6-2
Girls Singles
Morris Kelly Clayton def. Sadie Wilson (Lafayette) 6-1, 6-0
Girls Doubles
Hannah Anderson and Quinshay Perkins def. Pickett and Northern (Rosa Fort) 6-0, 6-0
Katie Davis and Meghan Van def. Sallis and Reed (Lafayette) 6-0, 6-2
Boys Doubles
Trace Thompson and Christopher Shands def. Fox and Graves (Ripley) 6-0, 6-0
Michael Crotts and Parker Nail def. Reed and Knight (Lafayette) 6-1, 6-2
Mixed Doubles
Roberto Valadez and Darby Mills def. Odom and Arrington (Lafayette) 6-0, 6-0
Morris Kelly Clayton won in girls singles play for New Albany. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Morris Kelly Clayton won in girls singles play for New Albany. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Trace Thompson and Christopher Shands were winners in boys doubles. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Trace Thompson and Christopher Shands were winners in boys doubles. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Smith tosses one-hitter in Hawks’ win

Colt Smith fanned 12 in Myrtle's win over West Union in division play. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Colt Smith fanned 12 in Myrtle’s win over West Union in division play. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


By Dennis Clayton
MYRTLE – Colt Smith shook off a slow start and finished strong as he led his Myrtle Hawks to a 9-1 win over West Union on Saturday.
“He’s (Smith) been like that throughout the year,” Myrtle coach Robert Gordon said. “Later on in the innings, he has tendencies and it seems like it just takes him a while to get loose, but then he gets in a groove and gets in a rhythm. Obviously he pitched real well and was around the plate. I think he ended up throwing around 70-75 pitches today, which in seven innings is great, that’s filling it up.”
Myrtle also had productivity at the plate as lead-off batter Taylor Hogue went 3-4 and scored three runs to lead the offense.
West Union would score first as Tyler Wooley singled to start the game and eventually scored on Chase Bogue’s fly ball to center to put the Eagles up 1-0. That would be the only run the Eagles could manage off Smith.
Hogue would score the first of his three runs in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1-1 and the score stayed there until the bottom of the third.
Myrtle scored two runs in their third as Anthony Lipsey and Smith had RBI singles to put the Hawks in front 3-1. Three more runs crossed in the Myrtle fourth with Jacob Gaines driving in a run on a fielders choice grounder and Brandon Perkins’ two RBI single extended the lead to 6-1.
Neak Scott drove in two more runs for the Hawks in the fifth with a single and a Zach Perkins’ single scored Hogue in the sixth to provide the final margin in the contest.
“We had some timely hits with two outs and that’s something that we had been struggling with,” Gordon said. “Our mentality has got to be that we’ve just got to get to the next person (batting).”
“I thought we came out with a pretty good approach at the plate early,” West Union coach Ashley Russell said. Hunter (Jennings) did a really good job, I thought he did a good job of competing. We just didn’t make enough plays to stay in it.”
Smith allowed one run on one hit while striking out 12. Myrtle is now 5-1 in division. West Union is 4-3 in division.
Taylor Hogue slides into home ahead of the throw to Chase Bogue to score Myrtle's first run against West Union. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Taylor Hogue slides into home ahead of the throw to Chase Bogue to score Myrtle’s first run against West Union. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Bulldogs rally in seventh to post win

Sam McMillin scores the tying run for New Albany in the game against Senatobia. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Sam McMillin scores the tying run for New Albany in the game against Senatobia. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


By Dennis Clayton
NEW ALBANY – New Albany took advantage of timely hitting and mistakes by their opponent during the seventh inning to take a 4-3 division win over Senatobia on Saturday. The contest was the completion of the March 27 game that was suspended due to the weather.
“Everything worked out good,” New Albany coach John Walker said. “We got our lead-off guy on base and anytime you get your lead-off guy on base and it’s the tying run that’s important. We got him bunted to second base and once we were finally able to get him to third, Jake (McDonald) comes up and drives the ball through to score him.”
Sam McMillin led off the seventh inning for the Bulldogs and with his score, the game was tied 3-3. New Albany still needed a hit or a break to win the game. They received a huge break.
“We stole a base and then got a little help at the end,” Walker said. Casey Whiteside came on to pinch run for McDonald and prompted stole second base. Grant Hogue hit a routine grounder with two outs that was thrown away at first. Whiteside never checked up running and easily scored the winning run from second.
The top of the seventh inning also contained a bizarre play which aided the Bulldogs comeback. With one out, Senatobia had runners at first and third and it appeared the Warriors had scored on a deep sacrifice fly to left. However, the trailing runner at first never tagged as he ran to second on the play and the Bulldogs threw to first and the runner was ruled out and no run was allowed.
“The guy at third tags up and the guy at first never tagged,” Walker said. “The kid just made a base-running mistake and thankfully Coach (Brad) Gray caught it. We threw to first thinking we had nothing to lose. That was huge and turned the tide for us.”
In assessing Ken Phillips’ performance on the mound for New Albany Walker said, “He was excellent tonight, he threw a lot of strikes, mixed his pitches well and he had all three working. He threw them all for strikes. He gave us the opportunity to win and it was a battle.”
New Albany is 11-6 on the year and 4-0 in division.
Grant Hogue's grounder was misplayed by Senatobia and allowed New Albany to score the winning run to take the division win. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Grant Hogue’s grounder was misplayed by Senatobia and allowed New Albany to score the winning run to take the division win. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Big innings fuel West Union division win

Coach Lisa Bogue of West Union holds Bailey Bogue at third while Lauren Thompson of Ingomar waits for the throw. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Coach Lisa Bogue of West Union holds Bailey Bogue at third while Lauren Thompson of Ingomar waits for the throw. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


By Dennis Clayton
ENTERPRISE – West Union’s Lady Eagles only scored in two innings against Ingomar’s Lady Falcons on Thursday, but they scored enough in those innings to take an 11-6 division win.
“Ingomar played a great game, they’re always a tough competitor and they came ready to play today,” West Union coach Lisa Bogue said. “They got some great hits when they needed them and we were just lucky that we out hit them today. We’ll try to be ready for them next time.”
Hit totals told the tale of the game as West Union collected 13 hits and Ingomar had seven. The game also had five at bats in which the teams sent only three batters to the plate, with West Union going in order twice and Ingomar three times.
Ingomar struck the scoreboard first as Gara Beth Self scored on Hannah Russell’s triple to put the Lady Falcons up 1-0 in the top of the first. In the Lady Eagles half of the frame, 11 batters went to the plate and six runs scored to put the Lady Eagles up by 6-1. Gracen Conlee and Jesslyn Brewer had two of the biggest hits as they both ripped two RBI doubles.
Ingomar would come back to score a run in the second as pitcher Erin Wall led off with a double and was driven in on Kasey Carson’s fielder’s choice grounder to move the score to 6-2.
West Union would erupt for their final five runs in the fourth inning as the first four batters in the inning reached and scored. The Lady Eagles would bat around in the lineup before the final out was retired.
The Lady Falcons tried to stage a rally in the sixth inning, scoring four runs on five hits. That would be the last of the scoring in the game as Ingomar fell short by the 11-6 final.
“I thought we did a lot better today competing offensively,” Ingomar coach Jonathan Ashley said. “I thought in the bottom of the first inning, they (West Union) got out there and hit it. They’ve got fielders that want the ball hit to them and we’ve got to do a better job of having nine people out there that want the ball hit to them with the opportunity to make a play. You dig a hole against a pretty good team and you’re going to struggle the rest of the game and that’s pretty much what happened to us.”
Brittany Taylor was the winning pitcher and struck out five batters on the day. Julianna Garner went 4-4 with a run scored and RBI. West Union improved to 11-5 overall and 6-0 in Division 2-1A. Ingomar is now 5-8 and 1-2 in division.
Julianna Garner went four for four against Ingomar. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Julianna Garner went four for four against Ingomar. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Spears member of national championship team

By Dennis Clayton
Jazmine Spears had the experience of being on a state championship team as a player at New Albany. Now Spears has the distinction of adding a national championship to her resume as a member of the Trinity Valley Community College.
Trinity Valley’s Cardinals won the national basketball championship among community colleges in Salina, Kansas on March 22. Trinity (36-1) defeated previously undefeated Hutchinson Blue Dragons of Hutchinson, Kansas 65-46 in the title game. Trinity Valley won the national title for the third consecutive year and have won eight titles overall.
“It feels good,” Spears said of being national champions. “It feels like you’re on top of the world.” Spears said what made it even more special was the fact that she had family there to watch the title game and celebrate the win. Spears scored 11 points in the title game.
Spears reflected on her year with Trinity Valley saying “I really enjoyed it. At first, I didn’t know how it was going to be, I thought the coach might have been a little hard on me, but when we started playing (in games) I knew that we were going to win it all.”
Spears began seeing time as a freshman starter after the Christmas break and played forward.
“I’ve improved my outside shot and have gotten a little bit more physical in the post,” Spears said as she reflected on improvements in her game.
Spears averaged 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Spears coach at New Albany, John Stroud, said of Spears, “Anytime you start as a freshman anywhere and especially when you start for a national champion that lost only one game, it’s a big honor and it was a big honor for Jazmine. Mississippi State originally signed her and they sent her to Trinity Valley knowing that they would train her well for a four year college. I’m not surprised at all with her play. She’s probably the best player to come through New Albany. She’s got a lot of basketball ahead of her.”
Trinity Valley has won the national title for the past three years and have won eight overall.
“I just want to thank everyone that supported me, called me and checked on me,” Spears said. “I represented Mississippi and my hometown of New Albany, showing them the love and I’m coming back home with my championship ring.”