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Series resumes: Starkville Academy ready to host Magnolia Heights

May 16, 2012

Starkville Academy baseball coach Neal Henry, left, visits with Ryan McKell during a game this season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

It has been over a week since Starkville Academy started its MAIS Class AAA, Division II State championship baseball series with Magnolia Heights.

Without any further weather delays, the series will be decided today.
The Chiefs took game one with a 1-0 win in Senatobia last Tuesday night. Game two and three were scheduled for Saturday at Volunteer Field, but rains washed the day forcing the two teams to postpone action.

Today's game two will be at 3:30 p.m. at Volunteer Field with a third game to follow if necessary.

"We are just trying to get to game three," SA head coach Neal Henry said. "You can't get to game three without winning game two so that has really been our motive all week, even through this week."

On Saturday, Henry was indifferent about the delay and said he didn't think it helped or hurt his team.

Since then, he has changed his mind.

"These past two days have been an opportunity for us to come out here and get better," Henry said whose club is 23-10 this season. "I think these last couple of days have been good for our team. They have come out here and worked these past two days. They haven't come out here and complained and moaned. They have done a good job and they are just ready to play."

The Chiefs come in with a 1-0 lead in the series. They have posted a record of 31-5-1 this season.

“They are a very good team,” Henry said last week. “They are very good defensively and they are not going to make mistakes. There is a reason they won 31 games. They are definitely beatable. Anybody is beatable on any given day, especially in this game."

Henry was set to throw junior Drew Pellum in game two and he plans to stick with that strategy. Game three will be treated as a "pitch by committee" type game.

One thing on the Volunteers side is rest. Junior Hunter Bolin pitched in game one and since has had eight days of rest for his arm.

That gives Henry one more weapon on the mound.

The Chiefs also got to rest so they will more than likely use the same philosophy.

Starkville Academy has already seen three State titles this year from the Lady Volunteer basketball team. Also the football team was the State runner-up after losing to Washington School 20-0.

"I don’t think we have ever won (a state title) at Starkville Academy,” Henry said last week. “It would be big for the boys. They deserve one because they have worked their tail off this year. It would be huge for this school to bring a state championship to Starkville Academy.”

Admission is $7 and only MAIS Coaches Association passes will be honored.

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