| Tigers shutout Southaven
| By Myra Bean
There was strutting, barely contained grins, shoulders held back with confidence and a whole lot of talking as South Panola chalked up its first win over Southaven since 1998.
The Tigers got their second district win 2-0 over Southaven Tuesday night in Southaven.
South Panola assistant coach Brad Lightsey was a junior on the team that year, the last year South Panola made it to the baseball playoffs.
Freshman pitcher David Renfroe pitched the complete game and picked up his second win of the season.
"We just had a stellar performance from David Renfroe last night," Robey said. "He just pitched phenomenal. For a freshman to go in there and show such calmness, he took control of the mound and after the second inning he really settled down and pitched."
The Tigers had 10 hits in the game and only allowed Southaven three. Renfroe struck out four batters and walked two.
The Tigers are en route to their best record since head coach Patrick Robey took over the reigns four years ago. The Tigers are 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the district.
Senior Tiger pitcher and left fielder Barrett Johnson said, "We went in with a killer attitude and got the win."
Probably the undisputed team leader, Josh Boren had the voice of reason from the game.
"From our (players’) point of view, it is big," Boren said. "In the district we are up, it’s a lot better than being 1-1. But as far as everything else, we have a big game Friday and we have to put that (Tuesday’s win) behind us."
With this win, Robey said the team "expects to win" now.
"They don’t hope to win," he said. "They know they are capable of it. They have put in the time and their hours in the summer, in the weightroom in the fall and they believe in what we are teaching them. That’s the biggest thing."
According to Robey what held the team members back from accomplishing this goal was their mindset.
"It was getting over that mindset of being an average team that South Panola baseball is just another sport to play besides football," Robey said. "It is not that way any more. This community has deserved a well-rounded athletic program.
Robey recognized the coaches of the others teams outside of football.
"I think Coach (Charlie) Howard has certainly done that with basketball and Coach (Ralph) Stallings is striving for it with girls basketball and so are coaches (John) Davis and (John) Sherman with girls softball."
The talent pool was with the baseball team last year, Robey said.
"We probably had enough talent last year to be successful but the biggest difference now is their mindset," he added.
"Last night was so big," Robey said in a Wednesday afternoon interview. "To beat Horn Lake it was kind of the thoughts of our players that, ‘Horn Lake was down this year. We beat them and that is good but how are we going to do against Southaven – a real team, a proven winner year after year.’"
The game was 0-0 going into the top of the sixth inning. South Panola had some chances early in the game.
"We failed to get some bunts down, failed to get a hit and a runner in scoring position," Robey said.
"So I challenged them in the sixth inning," he added. "I said look guys, these are the same kids you have played against your whole life. Same game you have played your whole life. It’s basically backyard wiffle ball with a little more at stake. They kind of smiled and laughed at that and took it as a little motivation."
Robey described the last two innings as they happened.
Boren lead off with a single in the sixth. Monroe Harrison was his pinch runner.
Jonathon Flint, who is usually a designated hitter against left-handers, hit a single up the middle.
"Our left-handers were really struggling against (Channing) Gonzalez," Robey said. "He was left-handed and he was tough on the left-handed hitters all night. Flint does a good job against left-handers. He came in and got a big hit and that was another big part of that inning."
Renfroe hit a single RBI to drive home Harrison. Lance Hendrix walked to load the bases. Tyler Benson hit a sacrifice fly (sac-fly) to center field to drive home Flint for the second run.
"After the bottom of the sixth, when Southaven didn’t score any runs because David shut them down one, two, three – you could really feel the momentum shift," Robey said. "You could really tell their demeanor had gone down. The way they hit the field was kind of like their balloon had burst."
In the top of the seventh, Jameson Rodgers hit a single to left field, stole second and got to third on a pass ball. Boren came in with a "crucial sacrifice fly" which drove Rodgers home for the third run of the night.
After the Tigers got the third out in the top of the seventh, Robey said it was up to Renfroe to "go out there and fill up the strike zone in the seventh."
"He did that," Robey said. "He retired the last 11 batters he faced. Not only was it his first start. It was a humongous game."
The whole win was special, according to Robey.
"The kids deserved it so much," he said. "They have worked so hard and did everything we have asked them."
Robey predicts tonight’s game with Olive Branch will be fun.
"Olive Branch is a strong team as always and they are coming down here," he said.
Robey appealed to the community to come watch the game.
"We really want to encourage the whole community to come out and support us," he said. "The kids need the support. It makes them feel good to see a lot of folks in the stands.
The Tigers and the Conquistadors, ranked No. 3 in preseason polls, will square off at 5 p.m. in the junior varsity game and 7 p.m. for the varsity game.
Saturday, the Tigers will have a long day. They will host Cleveland East Side at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and then host Grenada at 5 and 7 p.m.
Next week, they will participate in the Toro Tri-Lakes Spring Break Classic hosted by the Oxford Chargers and the Lafayette Commodores.
On Monday, March 13, South Panola will play Oxford at 3 p.m. at Oxford High School and then Lafayette at 6:30 p.m. at Lafayette High School.
On Tuesday, March 14, the Tigers will play Grenada at 6 p.m. at Lafayette High School.
The Tigers will be free until Saturday, March 18 when they host Charleston in a double header at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
| SP ladies fall to Southaven
| By Myra Bean
The South Panola Lady Tigers hosted the Southaven Lady Chargers in the first district game of the season Tuesday night.
A couple of bad innings for the Lady Tigers cost them a 7-0 loss at the hands of the Lady Chargers.
Lauren Suratt pitched six and a third innings for the Lady Tigers and got the loss. Suratt struck out 12 batters.
The Lady Tigers only got three hits the entire game.
The Jr. Varsity Lady Tigers played Southaven to a 1-1 tie. Haley Walton pitched the innings for the Lady Tigers.
Hillari Plummer was the Lady Tiger who scored. She got on base on a walk and then worked her way around the field on a single by Meredith Roberson and Haley Hood. Plummer scored on a pass ball.
The Lady Tigers were scheduled to play Olive Branch in a district matchup Thursday night, but with the pending inclement weather, the game status was not decided at press time.
The Lady Tigers will be in Senatobia Saturday at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 16 they will be in Hernando at 3 p.m.
| Enid Lake’s successful clean up day leads into busy spring and summer
| By Robert Lee Newton
Enid Lake Park Ranger
The Annual Enid Lake Clean Up Day sponsored by the Enid Lake Volunteers for Waste Management took place this past Saturday, March 4, and was once again a huge success.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake teamed up with 150 volunteers with one thing in mind, to pick up trash. A total of 54 cubic yards of trash and 44 tires were picked up during the event. The pick-up took place from 7:30 a.m. until 12 noon.
The morning was followed by a delicious lunch prepared by volunteers. T-shirts, a raffle drawing, and giving away of door prizes followed lunch. Prizes were donated by merchants from the surrounding communities.
The Corps of Engineers would like to thank all volunteers who participated in the 2006 Clean Up Day, the many merchants who donated door prizes, and those who made cash contributions. Without the volunteers and generous merchants this event would not be made possible. Enid Lake would also like to thank the Enid Lake Volunteers for Waste Management for their hard work and dedication in coordinating and planning this event.
Boating Education Classes
Park Rangers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake have begun teaching the Boating Education Course "Boat Mississippi" at several local schools. This course is required for all persons born after June 30, 1980, to legally operate a vessel (boat) in the State of Mississippi.
The course includes boating laws, proper equipment, care for equipment, dangers in fueling, rules of the road, proper use of personal flotation devices, water skiing and swimming safety, recognition of emergencies, rescue techniques, and cold water survival.
A number of teaching techniques are used to maintain interest, such as games, outdoor exercises, films, videos along with classroom instructions. It has become evident that the students are learning the material from tests that are given and excitement shown when answering questions in class.
After completion of the course, students are awarded certificates from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Over the past ten years, Enid Lake Park Rangers have provided this course to many students.
By providing this training to young people in our area, it is the goal of personnel at Enid Lake to soon have a generation of water safety conscious people enjoying our water resources.
Day Use Areas Open
It’s that time of the year again at Enid Lake, Recreation Season.
As the boat ramps and brush tops fill with anglers in search of the next world record Crappie, campers begin to fill the campgrounds in search of peace and relaxation.
On March 1, 2006 not only did the recreation season begin, but all campgrounds opened at Enid Lake.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake operates 4 Class A campgrounds and 2 Class C campgrounds. The 4 Class A campgrounds include: Wallace Creek, Persimmon Hill, Chickasaw Hills, and Water Valley Boat Landing.
These Campgrounds offer a tent and RV pad per site. Each site has water and electrical hook ups, and a dump station is located at the entrance of each campground. All Class A campgrounds have comfort stations, shower houses, and a boat ramp.
Camping fees range from $12 to $15 a night in Wallace Creek depending on site location, $14 a night in Persimmon Hill, and $12 a night in Chickasaw Hills, and Water Valley Boat Landing. Class C campgrounds include: Plum Point and Long Branch.
These campgrounds are primitive areas, but offer potable water, comfort stations, and a boat ramp. Camping fees for Class C campsites are $6 a night.
Campsites in Class A campgrounds can be reserved through the National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS) by calling toll free 1-877-444-6777. You can also reserve sites in these areas by logging onto the NRRS website at .
Annual passes allow visitors to launch their boat or use designated swim beaches without having to pay every time they utilize these facilities. The Annual Pass can be purchased from any Corps of Engineers Field Offices for $30. Annual Passes are valid for one year from date of purchase.
Golden Age and Golden Access Passports are accepted and may be acquired at the Enid Lake Field Office. These passports allow campers and visitors half off on camping and day use fees.
Persons 62 years of age and older may acquire a Golden Age Passport with proof of age and a $10 fee. U.S. citizens who are disabled may acquire a Golden Access Passport with proof of disability. Acceptable proofs of disability include a letter from your doctor or a letter from the Social Security Administration.
There is no charge for a Golden Access Passport. For more information on camping, day use areas, camping fees, day use fees, Golden Age or Golden Access Passports please contact the Enid Lake Field Office at (662) 563-4571 or visit our website at .
| The South Panola powerlifting team, the Iron Tigers, participated in the North State Tournament at Madison Central March 3. Only two Iron Tigers qualified for state competition; South Oakes and Cameron Wagner (second from right). With the players are head coach Arnie Oakes (left) and assistant coach Pat Oakes. State competition will be held in April.
South Oakes placed first in the 275-pound class and won best lifter in the heavyweight divisions with a total of 1,500 pounds. He benched 350 pounds, squatted 580 pounds and deadlifted 570 pounds.
Wagner placed first in the 308-pound class. Wagner had a total lift of 1,365 pounds. He benched 325 pounds, squatted 560 pounds and deadlifted 480 pounds.
| Russo chosen ND head football coach
| By Myra Bean
North Delta introduced Richard Russo as its new head football coach Wednesday afternoon to the players and coaches.
Russo, 29, will replace outgoing four-year head coach Rick Johnston.
Russo originally hails from Burnsville where he attended Tishomingo County High School in Iuka. He graduated from Mississippi State University where he met and married Sara Bailey of Batesville. The couple now lives here.
They arrived back in Batesville via a stint in Houston, Texas. Sara got a full scholarship to attend Ole Miss Law School and they moved back to Mississippi.
Sara is a 1996 graduate of North Delta and was the statistician on the 1994 state championship team.
"She has a championship ring," Russo said of his wife, laughing. "She rubs it in my nose all the time."
He said "absolutely, she has thrown down the gauntlet" for him to get himself a championship ring.
Russo has been an assistant coach at Bruce High School, a 2A public school, for the past five years in which Bruce has made the playoffs the last three years.
During that time he has been teaching math and coaching football.
As a varsity football coach he was the assistant defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, linebackers, receivers, running backs, defensive ends, and tight ends coach.
Until this new job came along, he was also the head offseason strength and conditioning coach. He was also the head track and field coach.
Russo said 90 percent of his coaching knowledge came from his time at Bruce.
"I had some opportunities throughout the five years at Bruce to go other places," he said. "I am so thankful I stayed there. I am a sponge and I soaked up information. Coach Grubbs, our previous head coach who just got promoted to principal, he gave me a lot of hats to wear as a young coach.
"He kind of put me on the fast track," Russo continued. "He let me be the head strength and conditioning coach for football and for all the sports. He let me be the head summer 7-on-7 passing league coach. He let me be the head junior varsity coach. A lot of coaches won’t give that up. He let me be the head eighth grade coach. So I have had a lot of experience at a young age which has really helped me out."
Being 29 does not bother Russo.
"Age is not an issue," he said. "It’s about drive and desire."
This year the Mississippi Private School Association is going through the two-year alignment. North Delta has been placed in the 1-A classification.
"I don’t care where they put us," Russo said. "We are going to prepare as hard as we can, practice as hard as we can for whoever we are supposed to play that week."
Headmaster Herman Coats said the reason for the classification is that a few years ago North Delta had a decline in the students in grades 9 through 12.
"District 1-1A is a very competitive athletic group of schools," Coats said. "So competition will be just as keen as in District 1-AA. All of our non-district games will be against a 3A school or a 2A school. So we are not dropping down any in competition."
North Delta had a committee set up to select a head coach and Russo stood out, according to Coats.
"The way he was prepared, the interview process, he just had what we are looking for in a head football coach," Coats said. "The most important thing about all of those is his character and what he’s going to bring to the program at North Delta."
Russo met with the team Wednesday and though he said he would not reveal everything said, he did say what he told the team he expects of them.
"I told them it is a new era of Green Wave football," Russo said. "I told them the foundation of this program is love. And they kind of looked at me funny. I said that it was tough love. I told them we are going to love them, and we expect them to be leaders in their classroom, churches, streets when they are hanging out. Wherever they are, we expect them to be leaders, and we expect them to be men of character.
"Our goal of our program is to be a championship program but mostly for the young men to come in and leave better mentally, physically, in maturity and spiritually," Russo continued. "That is the number one goal of our program and that is not fluff."
Though the kids did not ask Russo anything during the meeting, Russo said he was tickled with what happened afterwards.
"Next year’s senior class, on their own, elected to come into the coach’s office and said ‘Coach Russo, we are ready to suit up and play today,’" Russo related.
"So we already have next year’s seniors on board. That’s tremendous," he added.
Russo will fulfill his teaching duties at Bruce until the end of the school year, but each afternoon will be at North Delta to get the weight program started and get the team ready for spring practice.
He said he will be running a multiple offense and a base 4-3 defense. The offense will be in different formations but running some of the same plays, he said.
Also, he will stress special teams.
"There are three phases of the game you have to stress," Russo said. "Special teams win a lot of games. They lose a lot of games, too."
Another phase of Russo’s plan is the team will have a lot of structure.
"They will know what to expect on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays," he said.
Russo said he attends at least two coaching clinics per year and is a member of the Mississippi Association of Coaches. He just returned from a clinic held in Auburn, Ala. last week.
As for the rest of the North Delta coaching staff, Brad Wilson and David Hardy are still there. Ronald McMinn retired and it is possible a new assistant coach will be hired to replace him, according to Russo.
| Green Waves down Marshall in district play
| By Myra Bean
The North Delta Green Wave baseball team (2-3 overall, 2-1 district) is ecstatic after holding off Marshall Academy for a 10-7 district win Tuesday afternoon.
Evan West made his first appearance this season on the mound and pitched the complete game for the win. He had nine strikeouts and four walks.
One of the hitting headlines was the two-run homer by Pittman Harrison in the top of the third inning. It was his first homerun of the young season and the team’s first this season.
The game was tied at one at the end of the first inning. Chris Pike hit a single RBI (run batted in) to drive home Jim Tyler who had doubled to get on base in the top of the first inning.
Marshall went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning.
Harrison’s homerun gave the Green Waves a 3-2 lead in the top of the third, but Marshall tied the game at three in the bottom of the third.
In the top of the fourth, the Green Wave retook the lead on a Pike single RBI to score Dustin Maples who had walked to get on base.
The Green Waves scored two runs each in the top of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Pike was four of five from the plate with three singles and a double and scored two runs.
"This was his best hitting game of the season," Green Wave head coach David Hardy said.
In addition to Harrison’s homerun, he also hit a single.
Bryce Raddatz had two singles and a sacrifice fly for an RBI in the seventh.
Hunter Darby had a triple and an RBI which scored Raddatz in the sixth inning.
In the sixth inning, Marshall caught up by scoring three runs to cut the lead 8-7.
Hardy complimented his freshman catcher Bateman Greenlee who caught his second complete game of the season.
"He did a good job and got some experience as a freshman," Hardy said.
Hardy was also pleased with the work of West on the mound.
"I felt real good about his performance," Hardy said.
As far as the rest of the team, Hardy said he sees the team gradually getting better at the plate.
"We are coming along," he said. "We are not where we want to be. We are looking more comfortable at the plate and having less strikeouts."
With the pitching department, Hardy said he is pleased with the pitching in wins and losses.
"All have thrown well enough to keep us in the ballgame," Hardy said.
On defense, Hardy said they have to get more consistent in fielding.
"Even in the wins, we are inconsistent in fielding that I hope to get corrected," Hardy said.
The Green Waves are inactive until after spring break. Their next game will be at Lee Academy for district action, Tuesday, March 21 at 4 and 6 p.m.
| Bass Classic returns to Sardis for 34th year
| Fishing season is just around the corner and area anglers are encouraged to reserve the date of May 28. That’s when the 34th St. Jude Open Bass Classic will be held at Sardis reservoir near Batesville.
This tournament is a pick-your-partner format with all proceeds donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. To enter each two person team is required to submit a completed entry form along with a $225.00 donation to St. Jude prior to midnight March 31, 2006. After that date the required donation will be $250.00. The 2005 tournament raised $105,000.00 for the hospital. Total contributions now exceed $1,971,000.00. this tournament is the nation’s oldest and largest charity fishing event. In 2005, 696 fishermen and ladies from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas participated.
Local anglers from Batesville were, J.J. Campbell, Gene Coleman, Glen Dye, Lyndal Helms, Dana Jackson, Scotty Kester, Larry Rutter, Mike Campbell, Wesley Coleman, Marthe Dye, Larry Hopper, Dana Jackson Jr., Scotty Kester Jr. and David N. Walker. From Pope, Lamar Henson; of Sardis, Oscar A. Brown, Richard Burkhalter, Jon Davis, Archie R. Haynes Jr., Sandy Joyner and Larry Norton; of Como, Ronald L. Hawkins, Charles Hill Jr., Jeff Ingle, J.C. Thomas and Billy Williams; of Crenshaw, Jim Johnson, Jimmy Joyner and Michelle Joyner.
The tournament is limited to 350 boats.
Major sponsors of the 2006 tournament include Ranger boats, Mercury outboards, Strike King lures, Bass Pro Shops, Pennzoil and Windward pretroleum, Oxford Publishing, War Eagle boats, and Nichol’s Ford-Lincoln-Mercury. Prizes will be awarded to the top 50 teams. Winners will be determined based on the total weight of a five fish per team limit. All participants will be eligible to win this years Grand Prize, a fully rigged Ranger 519 boat powered by a 200 Mercury Optimax engine and a deluxe Ranger Trail trailer.
The winner of this fishing rig will be drawn at random at the conclusion of the weigh-in. The winner must be present. Al participating teams will receive a Strike King lure pack and a gallon of Pennzoil synthetic blend TCW-3 outboard oil. Bass Pro Shops, Oxford Publishing, and Strike King will provide some of the cash and prizes for the top 50 teams.
The first place team in the 2006 tournament will receive two War Eagle aluminum boats with 9.9 Mercury engines and trailers as well as $2,000.00 in cash and an assortment of tackle. Other major contributors to the event include Performance Marine of Batesville, Travis Boating Center and Pure Fishing.
For the third consecutive year Nichol’s Ford-Lincoln-Mercury will assist in providing a Lincoln Navigator which will be raffled to the general public. Only 1,000 tickets will be available. Each ticket is $100. The winner will be drawn at the conclusion of the event. All proceeds will be donated to St. Jude.
This St. Jude Bass Classic will be dedicated to the memory of two past directors of the event. Charles Stephens and Jimmy Dickson both passed away in 2005. For additional information, raffle tickets, or entries anglers may call Dennis Morlok at 662-781-9201.