Consistent and confident.
That sums up Neshoba Central as the Rockets begin play today in the MHSAA Class 5A slow-pitch state playoffs when Saltillo visits for a 1 p.m. best-of-3 second-round series.
The confident Rockets used their consistency to win Division 2-5A and earn a first-round bye. Now they are just four wins away from a trip to the state championship series.
“We're looking forward to the playoffs, this is what you work for all year and we can't wait to get going,” Neshoba coach Trae Embry said. “If we can stay consistent and hit like we're able to hit the ball, it will at least give us a chance.”
Embry's first season with the Rockets has been a resounding success so far as they begin the postseason 21-4, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A by the High School Sports in Mississippi Website, and with the upper hand against rival and nemesis New Hope. That goes back to the consistency Neshoba has shown.
“Pretty much the key to our whole season has been two things; 1, consistency; and 2, hard work,” Embry said. “Because we really haven't had an up and down year. We've had times where we haven't really played well, but we've played well enough to win. We haven't had any terrible games.”
That hard work has certainly paid off. As did the consistency, even when the Rockets had to shuffle their lineup early in the season to overcome the loss of their pitcher to an injury. Meshay Jimmie stepped in and Neshoba has barely skipped a beat.
That all has led to the confidence the Rockets take into the playoffs where they know they can beat anybody they face. After all, they've already beaten state powers Newton County, snapping a 68-game winning streak last week, Clarkdale and those Trojans, whom they may run into again for the North State championship Tuesday.
“We've gone through some trials and tribulations and have just kept going,” Embry said. “It gives the kids the confidence going in that we can play any team we do play.
“Going into the playoffs, you always want to win heading in. We've won three straight and that helps, but we have had a week off and we've been working hard and hopefully that pays off Saturday.”
Consistent and confident.
- (PHOTOS) Newton County Class 4A State Championship Finals Slideshow from game three of Newton County in the Class 4A State Championship against Lewisburg.
For the Newton County Cougars, their final game of the season couldn’t be bigger: state title or bust.
They forced a Game 3 in the Class 4A championship series with a 2-1 win over Lewisburg in 10 innings on Thursday night at Trustmark Park.
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Mickey Mays was recently named offensive coordinator at East Central Community College in Decatur, announced head football coach Ken Karcher.
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- (PHOTOS) Newton County Class 4A State Championship Slideshow from games one and two of the MHSAA Class 4A State Championship.
Not done yet
After being shutout less than 24 hours earlier, the Newton County Cougars used a 10-inning affair to force a Game 3 in the Class 4A championship series, topping Lewisburg, 2-1, in Game 2 at Trustmark Park.
Hollins focused on Spurs, not his contract
Lionel Hollins has been more successful than any Grizzlies coach and will be a free agent after June 30.
He has the Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals for the first time and has won more games with this team than any other coach.
Slive focused on future after big changes
Mike Slive sprawls in a comfy arm chair, propping his feet on a coffee table between one massive tome on Winston Churchill and an even thicker "Encyclopedia of Southern Culture."
He's relaxed and feeling awfully good about the state of the Southeastern Conference.
It's a rare moment of calm for the SEC's cerebral commissioner, but he can afford it since his "A pile" of things to do has gotten considerably slimmer over the past two years.
’Bama bounces Ole Miss from SEC Tourney
For the second day in a row, the Rebels went into extra-innings but were unable to emerge with the victory as No. 21 Ole Miss (37-22) fell to Alabama (34-25) 7-5 in 10 innings at the SEC Tournament on Thursday.
With the loss, the Rebels were eliminated from the SEC Tournament and will now await NCAA Tournament selection announcements at 11 a.m. on Monday. The selection of the NCAA Tournament field will be televised by ESPNU.
Tanner Bailey (4-2) suffered the loss for the Rebels, allowing two runs on one hit with two walks in 2.1 innings of work.
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