Oxford Eagle Invitational
Mississippi State University High School Invitational
Ole Miss High School Invitational
Region 2-5A Divisional Meet
North Half Meet
Start of Meet Time:
Here is the Track and Field Schedule for 2013:
Oxford to recognize Seniors at the Regional Meet. Underlined Meets are not official Meets.
Here is the schedule for the five-time defending State Champion Oxford Chargers. If there is a blank space in the date spot, that means that match is being played on the same day as the one above it.
This is arguably my second-favorite sport next to football, no disrespect to basketball. I like every single sport but I love the aspects of baseball. Oxford Saturday played two 4-inning games against Amory. Amory defeated Oxford in the first one 3-0, but Oxford won the second game 5-0. After a rocky first game - probably rust from the offseason - they looked better in the second game.
Oxford has already taken some hits this season. Parker Adamson, Noland Parham and Ty Barber all quit the team. Parker quit due to him with more need to focus on his football career at Southern Miss where he signed his Letter of Intent a week and a half ago. Noland and Ty quit for personal reasons. Alabama signee William Elliott will be out for the time being with a wrist injury. He did not play against Amory. Michael Bianco also did not play but only because Basketball is still in the playoffs in which he is part of the team with.
A likely lineup this season could look like this - I'm only guessing now just like anybody else would:
Batting 1st: Michael Bianco (Shortstop) - he batted last in the lineup last year but has the speed and baseball smarts to bat first - of course he is the son of Ole Miss Baseball Coach Mike Bianco so that would be why. He just needs to be on base enough for Coach Chris Baughman to keep him there. If not, Aundrel Turner will battle him for that spot, but thus far he has not been able to reach base enough for Turner to get there. He will be in the lineup because his defense is something Baughman cannot be without this year. He may shift around the infield (including Catcher if need be) but his likely spot would be shortstop.
Batting 2nd: Jason Barber (Designated Hitter / 3rd Base / Pitcher) - he will play third when Hunter Roth is pitching or he will DH for one of the outfielders dependent on Baughman's confidence of the hitting of the outfielders - or heck he could certainly play another spot somewhere on the field in general or go to the outfield. Just looking at the second game against Amory where Roth started, him and Barber would just swap spots to relief him. Barber did look good pitching and has the capabilities of Zac Barber - his oldest brother - of how he pitched. He is an underclassmen and could be a very good player for Oxford not just this year but for years to come.
Batting 3rd: Henry Webb (Catcher / Designated Hitter) - A senior who has batted well throughout his career and the one spot Baughman usually doesn't have to worry about. I put the DH tag on him because Barber would usually be the DH except when Roth is pitching. Although a team can bat a straight 9 (without a DH) Baughman likes to utilize the DH and in game 2 against Amory, Webb was the DH and Jack McClure was catching for Roth. This would traditionally be Elliott's spot (and play Left Field) if he is healthy and everyone else would bump down in the order.
Batting 4th: Hunter Roth (3rd Base / Pitcher) - Roth basically had to learn 3rd Base last season after Baughman moved Elliott to Left Field when he committed too many errors to keep him at third. Turned out to be a blessing for Elliott as he got more comfortable with Left Field and eventually earned a scholarship offer from Alabama. Roth is the teams other "Ace" besides Steven Whitfield who both return from last year as the team's "1-2 punch". Roth started extremely well pitching before getting injured and hadn't been the same since. Roth hopes he can get that start again and then make it last. Not a bad batter either which is why he is batting fourth. A lefty-hitter too giving teams matchup problems should teams like to go with matchups late in games.
Really after the first four, it is a game of roulette as to who bats 5-9 because they really could be anyone put anywhere there but here goes...
Batting 5th: Jack McClure (Designated Hitter / Catcher) - while Webb is going to start the majority of games at Catcher, it wouldn't surprise me if Baughman found a way to get Jack in the lineup and put Webb at DH to rest him every now and then and just have Webb hit. Coming up through middle school, he was one of the more consistent hitters. The times he pinched-hit, he got a hit more often than not. He got a critical walk-off hit in middle school ball against arch-rival Lafayette. The fact is though besides pitcher, catcher is a premium position and would hate to lose one or the other to an injury if either Webb or McClure got hurt. There is Bianco he can go to for catcher as he has experience there but the idea of using all the catchers he has on the depth chart in the lineup and risking them getting hurt is something coaches don't like to do, but I'm sure he would like his bat in the lineup. If he doesn't look for the remainder of this lineup to go up one spot and find someone like Lamar or Krouse to take the 8-hole spot.
Batting 6th: Drew Phillips (1st Base) - somebody has to fill the void at first where Adamson left it, that would be Drew Phillips. He played that position well in the summer and did enough at the plate to put him here in the lineup. This is one of the players that is going to need to step up and fill some shoes the last senior class left them with.
Batting 7th: Pittman Phillips (2nd Base / Pitcher) - He actually drew the start at 2nd to begin the year last year but his bat failed to produce and was subsequently put on the bench except for certain situations on defense. He has excellent defensive skills and did pitch well in the summer to be the team's 4th or 5th pitcher come now and play a relief role on the mound. He just needs to improve at the plate and he knows it. Bright guy that wants to do well in this sport.
Batting 8th: Steven Whitfield (Pitcher / Left Field) - The team's Ace on the mound and will start the majority of the region games when the time comes around to it forbidding any injuries. With Elliott out, he is likely to play Left Field. He did play there some early in the year last year before Elliott became a staple there from moving from third. He competes and he will compete at the plate - he wasn't the most athletically sound person in the world and that is what makes this guy a great team member. He is not the best batter in the world but he will do his darn-est to do what he can at the plate this year.
Batting 9th: Aundrel Turner (Center Field) - An excellent Center Fielder for the team and is arguably the fastest on the team which is why he is in the lineup and playing the position he does. However, the reason he is last in the lineup is - well he doesn't get on base often. If he can get on base regularly, he can very well bat first instead of this spot - he knows it, he just needs to earn Baughman's trust to put him there.
Other players to watch: Matthew Guyton (Infield) - a solid infielder on defense and batted second and played shortstop in place of Bianco in the jamboree. It wouldn't surprise me if either him or Bianco went to first and Drew Phillips come out there and have Guyton take a spot in the lineup. Bianco has played first base before when Oxford got hit with the injury bug before region play started. It wouldn't surprise me if he found a way to put Guyton in the lineup - like McClure. The problem is there could be too many infielders to put him in the lineup.
Chadwick Lamar (Right Field) - the only position not marked out in the lineup is Right Field. He will start defensively for the Chargers but is the one likely not to bat. Really to bat in the lineup, he needs to out perform the others in batting practice off the field unless one just falls off the map at the plate and Lamar gets his chance.
Brooks Krouse (Outfield) - He is likely to be in Left Field when Whitfield is pitching. He was the hardest worker in the weight room during the offseason. Krouse just needs to translate that onto the Baseball Field and at the plate where Baughman would love a consistant batter in the lineup.
With all that said, I could be dead wrong about 2 & 5. Barber could bat 5th or even 6th. McClure could not bat at all. There is literally 8-9 players battling for the last 5 spots of the order and a couple battling for better spots in the order. I could have struckout on the lineup.
While the order could change from game to game, here is something stable: Defense.
Oxford has the two staple starters in Whitfield and Roth. After them, there is Walker Abel, Tyler Hallam, Pittman Phillips who has had experience playing Varsity in the past on the mound. Will Christian, Houston Roth (Hunter's brother), are among some that will likely pitch JV a lot this year. Jason Barber Saturday look like he could be the team's 3 pitcher and be the first man up if Whitfield or Roth get into trouble or run out of gas. One way or another though, they will have to step up this season and make an impact to make it far in 5A.
The infield is full of capable players: Bianco, P. Phillips, D. Phillips, Barber, Roth, Guyton make up the infield and I could easily be leaving a few out. Webb and McClure behind the plate (Webb mostly). If one of them starts to drift off, there would be no problem with them being replaced by someone else. The outfield has experienced players out there in Lamar and Turner. Whitfield has experience out there before, Krouse will be playing some. If Elliott gets healthy, he's out there too.
I have a hunch Oxford will lean on its defense a lot this year (I say that every year ever since the offensive explosion of 2005 and leaned on that to Baseball's only title) - but for some reason, a surprise seems to come out every year. Last year when the pitching was very bare, Luke Gibbs came from nowhere and pitched lights out and found a relief role for the remainder of the year. Who will surprise the team this year? You are going to have to wait, watch and find out.
If you will notice, it is The Oxford Eagle - The PHYSICAL-edition of it (not the online version). Somebody used a copying machine to copy it off but that is beside the point. Obviously the highlighted part is being used as motivation to the impending Girls matchup between Oxford and New Hope for the third time this year.
The point being is HOW did New Hope get their hands on a newspaper - the physical newspaper this was taken from - that is published 115 miles away?
The furthest this paper goes in being delivered is to Water Valley, 20 miles southwest of Oxford that would otherwise service the entire county of Lafayette.
That would bring up this question: Does Oxford have a 'Mole' in them?
That would be really the only explanation save for someone coming up to Oxford for some other event and by coincidence find this story in the paper and bringing it back to New Hope.
If not, this mole has been found out. It is just a matter of who it is.
No matter who this mole is, Oxford coaches in all sports that have New Hope in their division needs to start watching what they are saying, or it could end up on another Locker Room door at New Hope - or any other door at a rival school. The last thing any coach wants is material for their players to get motivated by. Pascagoula's Boys Soccer Coach learned that the hard way when Oxford went on their run to the title a couple weeks ago.
(Lafayette doesn't count since both OHS and LHS knows they are both covered by the Eagle.)
Oxford to Participate in Slow-Pitch Softball starting in 2013.
The MHSAA has released all of the regions for the upcoming sports year in all sports. I will review what has been announced prior to yesterday as well.
All of the following has Oxford in the Region:
In Football (1-5A): Saltillo, West Point, New Hope, Clarksdale, Lewisburg, Center Hill, Lake Cormorant
In Volleyball (Class II - Region 1): Clarksdale, Lake Cormorant, Lewisburg, Center Hill
In Slow-Pitch Softball** (1-5/6A): Saltillo, South Panola, Tupelo
In Swimming: Oxford will be in the Class II division with a bunch of other teams.
In Cross Country (Boys & Girls - 1-5A): Center Hill, Saltillo, New Hope, Neshoba Central
In Soccer (Boys & Girls - 2-5A): Saltillo, West Point
In Fast-Pitch Softball, Tennis, Baseball, Boys & Girls Basketball, Boys & Girls Track & Field (2-5A): Saltillo, New Hope, West Point
In Golf (1-5A): Center Hill, Lewisburg, Lake Cormorant, Saltillo, West Point, New Hope
In Powerlifting (Boys & Girls - 1-5A): Lewisburg, Lake Cormorant, Saltillo, West Point, New Hope
** - indicates a new sport Oxford has previously not been involved in.
Some notes I noticed is that Pearl is in the South side in Soccer - they are in the North in nearly every other sport the next two years. Pearl is in the North in Track & Field. Oxford will participate in Slow-Pitch Softball for the first time in recent memory.
I'm sure you were watching the Super Bowl last Sunday and near the end of the game, a "Fair Catch Kick" was brought up as a possibility of tying the game in the Super Bowl after the Baltimore Ravens had purposely taken a Safety with 4 seconds left in an effort to run the clock to all zeros. It brought the game to a score of 34-31 which would eventually be the final score but that is beside the point.
There is a rule deep in the NFL rulebook - and in the High School rulebook - that on a free kick, which is either on a punt or a kickoff or any kick that would result in a change of possession, the receiving team can "fair catch" the ball. We know that a fair catch means that the receiver is allowed to catch the ball without interference of being touched or tackled in exchange of not being able to advance the ball. It's worth noting that this "Fair Catch Kick" is not allowed in the NCAA.
Here is where the catch is - The receiving team actually has two options when taking the ball after a fair catch is made successfully (or awarded a fair catch via a Kick-Catch Interference penalty after signaling for a fair catch): take the ball on offense and start a drive to the end zone OR a kicker from the receiving team can take a Free Kick in an attempt to score three points from the Fair Catch spot. Usually this is never asked by the officials as it is ideal to take the ball instead of taking a long free kick in an attempt to score 3 points where the percentages are really low for success for that kick. (Only 5 of 21 kicks in the NFL have been successful when attempted - the last one was made in 1976 - 37 years ago).
If the team chooses the latter, then the kicker can attempt a Field Goal via a Drop Kick or a normal Field Goal kick from a hold at the line of scrimmage (how it is done traditionally) but here is another catch - no one can rush the kicker if these conditions are met. The opposing team must be 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage (from where the catch was made) - similar to a kickoff. If the kick falls short and lands in the field of play, the opposing team has the chance to return it. In high school, if it crosses the plane of the goalline, it is a touchback and the ball returns to the 20. If the kick is successful, the kicking team is awarded 3 points - like in any other normal field goal situation.
Now obviously this would not be advantageous to the receiving team - as a fair catch from a kick normally is made on the receivers end of the field and almost never close enough to make such a kick - the longest traditional Field Goal kick in the NFL is 63 yards and the longest in high school is 65 yards - made from the team's own 47 and 45 yard line respectively. If one should miss this kick, the opposing team would take over from that spot (or from the 20 in high school) making such an attempt rather foolish to make during normal play. The only times it would be attempted is if time is extremely close to expiring in the half thus the opposing team would not gain possession if the kicker should miss or if the kicking team is tied or trailing by 3 or fewer points in the 2nd half and there is not time on the clock to run more than a single play and this would be the best chance to tie or win.
Lots of conditions have to be met - I may be redundant here but to be in an advantageous position to try a "Fair Catch Kick":
It is rare that these conditions are met (although they can be met) and thus I'm sure hardly anyone has ever seen one happen. You can go back to the 2008 NFL season - maybe search it on Youtube - as two were attempted that season (both missed). Or go to this link on Wikipedia here.
I found that out a few years ago but had forgotten all about it until Phil Simms of CBS brought it up near the end of the Super Bowl - luckily the free kick was punted all the way back beyond the team's own 20, so there was almost no chance to see it happen as the attempt would be 90 yards away (80 yards + the 10 yards the end zone covers before reaching the uprights).
Henry Webb, Noland Parham, Ty Barber - and you can probably add Wes Snellgrove in there too. They have done and seen what it takes to beat the strong opponents. Baxter Elliott was already a multiple champion Tennis player prior to this season.
These guys save for Baxter was on the baseball teams the last two years as well. The same baseball teams that fell a game short of the State Championship series to Ridgeland that went on to win it all. Snellgrove was a witness - but did not play like Barber, Parham and Webb - to all the baseball highs and lows. Those other three has experienced them. They have been in and seen those clutch situations. Webb and Parham was directly related as to why Oxford was able to come back and beat Ridgeland in Game 2 last year in the 2nd Round series. Webb hit a 2-run HR to cut the lead in half from 7-3 to 7-5, Parham pitched 3 scoreless innings when Oxford needed them the most.
All four of them saw what happened and felt the pain from losing in the North Half series against Ridgeland two years ago, and felt it further when the Titans won the Championship.
Snellgrove and Barber let that experience soak in, and along with Elliott and his Tennis experience all five brought it to the soccer team this season and this playoff run.
For them to have that experience is a big reason why Oxford was able to calm the nerves down pretty quickly in the State Title game - big games are nothing new to them. Half of the starting line-up have been in these situations way too often in their high school careers.
The remainder of the team experienced their pain when Oxford last year lost to a team in Starkville that they had defeated earlier in the regular season - and that team went on to win it all. Much of the school believed that while they earned the State Championship that year, they did not deserve it. Those words "earned" and "deserved" are not the same. Starkville could say the same thing this year, but they will not be able - for the next two years anyway - to play them in the playoffs and give payback - they are moving to the always tough 6A classification next year and unless they schedule themselves to play in the regular season, won't play them again.
Most of this team that won the State Championship Saturday has experienced almost every high and low in every sport during their years in high school. They have experienced the tough losses, they have fought for the hard wins, they have been in those pressured packed situations. Those things prepared these players for this Championship run they went on. These players have had success but have no rings to show for it. Those players finally have earned that ring, several of which waited a long time to get. Success in the other sports bred onto this one. There is that saying that success breeds success. It bred to the Stewarts, Eddy Terry and the remainder of the Defensive Line that was stout job they did in the playoffs.
Maybe it will breed into the Baseball season for those players coming from the pitch to the diamond.
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