Urchins return to action in homecoming date with New Site

Lane Plunk breaks a tackle for a nice gain against Strayhorn. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Lane Plunk breaks a tackle for a nice gain against Strayhorn. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
East Union will return to the gridiron on Friday in their homecoming game with New Site. The game will also kick off division play for both teams.
East Union hopes to be rested and healed to a certain degree following an open date as they played their last game without the services of eight starters. The Urchins should return most of those starters for Friday’s game.
East Union enters the game with a record of 3-2 with wins over Houlka, Middleton, TN and TCPS. The Urchins lost to in overtime to Potts Camp and fell to Strayhorn in their last game.
Leading the Urchins offensively in their run-oriented offense is running back Jamie McCullough with 392 yards and three touchdowns. Lane Plunk has 181 yards with two touchdowns.
Zane Wilkinson and Plunk have split time at the quarterback position for the Urchins. Plunk has completed 14 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns while Wilkinson has five completions for 48 yards and two touchdowns.
Wilkinson leads the Urchins with five receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. East Union has four players with three receptions apiece.
Jesse Keller leads the Urchins in tackles, recording 77 total tackles and two tackles for loss.
New Site is led on offense by dual threat senior quarterback Koie Jackson. Jackson has completed 12 of 33 passes for 213 yards in statistics provided through five games. Jackson has rushed for 202 yards.
J.T. Herring is the leading New Site rusher with 106 carries for 563 yards and Quentin Greiziak has 29 carries for 263 yards.
New Site has wins over Thrasher (16-6), Biggersville (62-28), Immanuel Christian (34-26) and Alcorn Central (38-14). Losses were to Kossuth and Independence.
Homecoming festivities begin at 6:30 with the presentation of the queen and her court. This marks the first time in school history that East Union has celebrated their homecoming during football season.
Kickoff will be at 7:00.

East Union sweeps Strayhorn, clinches division

Tianna Castillo is safe at home on a close play during Tuesday's games against Strayhorn. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Tianna Castillo is safe at home on a close play during Tuesday’s games against Strayhorn. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
ELLISTOWN – East Union swept a doubleheader at home on Tuesday against Strayhorn, winning game one 16-6 and the nightcap 17-0. With the wins, East Union clinched the division slow pitch title for the third consecutive year and will host the opening playoff series in Class 2A on October 14.
The Lady Urchins scored in each of the six innings of the opening game after spotting Strayhorn with the early 4-0 lead before East Union had a chance to swing the bats.
“I really believe that 2A (playoffs) is going to be wide-open,” East Union coach Josh Blythe said. “It’s there for the taking, there’s no juggernaut team, there’s some really good teams, especially when you get over in Division 1-2A with Baldwyn, Hatley and Mantachie. This is our fourth year in a row to make the playoffs and third consecutive year to win the division.”
“I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the play of our young kids,” Blythe said. “Even tonight, we came out and hit the ball very well. I can feel confident with our one through ten batters, knowing that anyone can get a hit at any time and there’s not many years that I’ve had that luxury. It’s a testament to the kids and their work ethic.”
East Union scored two run in the first and three in the second to take the lead at 5-4. The Lady Urchins added another run in the third and three runs in the fourth to take a 9-4 lead.
Strayhorn closed to within 9-6, scoring two in their half of the fifth, but the Lady Urchins blew the game open with a six-run fifth and stretched the lead to 15-6. Eleven batters went to the plate in the Lady Urchin fifth.
East Union pounded out 21 hits, with Kallie Roberts, Rebecca Sheffield and Sallie Pannell collecting four hits apiece. Roberts and Sheffield had three doubles and Pannell had one double to lead the Lady Urchin attack.
East Union took the early lead in the second game of the doubleheader and sprinted to the convincing 17-0 win in four innings. East Union had 17 hits in game two.
Pannell continued her torrid hitting, picking up three more hits in the nightcap. Hannah White also had three hits. Pannell was the winning pitcher in both contests and East Union improved to 14-5 on the season.
Sallie Pannell had seven hits in East Union's doubleheader win over Strayhorn. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Sallie Pannell had seven hits in East Union’s doubleheader win over Strayhorn. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Rebecca Sheffield doubles against Strayhorn and drives in two runs. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Rebecca Sheffield doubles against Strayhorn and drives in two runs. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Kallie Roberts gets a lead-off double for East Union on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Kallie Roberts gets a lead-off double for East Union on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Lady Falcons stay perfect in division with win

Gara Beth Self was 4 for 4 and drove in three runs for Ingomar on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Gara Beth Self was 4 for 4 and drove in three runs for Ingomar on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
HICKORY FLAT – Ingomar took an early lead and scored in four of five innings to post a 13-1 win on Tuesday. The win assured the Lady Falcons sole possession of first in Division 2-1A with a 5-0 record with one game remaining.
“At spurts we hit it well, we just didn’t put a whole lot together,” Ingomar coach Andy Wilbanks said. “A lot of those runs were not earned, but we hit it okay. We played good defense, but we’ll get a big test tomorrow with North Pontotoc coming in. This win puts us at 5-0 and we clinched it (division) tonight.”
Ingomar took an early 3-0 lead after their half of the first as Erin Wall had a RBI single and Morgan Gooch hit a two RBI double for the Lady Falcons.
Gara Beth Self doubled and drove in a run in the second and Maggie Smithey drove in another run on her groundout to put Ingomar up 5-0 in the second inning.
Ingomar batted around in the lineup in the third as they scored four runs and left the bases loaded. Lindsay Hall, Kelly Mayo, Kasey Carson and Self each had a RBI during the inning.
Hickory Flat was able to hold Ingomar scoreless in the fourth while scoring their only run to make it a 9-1 game after four innings of play.
Ingomar sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth and again scored four runs to up the score to the final margin of 13-1.
Leading hitters for Ingomar were Self and Wall with four hits apiece. Both players had a double and three singles. Self had three RBIs and Wall had two. Kasey Carson was 3-3 with a double and two RBIs. Morgan Gooch was 3-4 with a double and two RBIs.
Carson Grisham was the winning pitcher for Ingomar.
Erin Wall was 4 for 4 with a double and two RBIs on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Erin Wall was 4 for 4 with a double and two RBIs on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Morgan Gooch had three hits and two RBIs for the Lady Falcons. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Morgan Gooch had three hits and two RBIs for the Lady Falcons. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Kasey Carson had three hits and drove in two runs on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Kasey Carson had three hits and drove in two runs on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Lady Falcons edge Walnut in low-scoring affair

Lauren Thompson led Ingomar offensively with her two doubles and two RBIs on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Lauren Thompson led Ingomar offensively with her two doubles and two RBIs on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
INGOMAR – Ingomar and Walnut struggled through seven innings of low-offensive productivity on Tuesday, but the Lady Falcons pieced together just enough hits to edge the Lady Wildcats 4-1.
“I think I’ve said this quite a few times this year, but a win is better than a loss,” Ingomar coach Andy Wilbanks said. “It wasn’t very pretty, but we played good defense and that’s a positive that we will take away from it. Offensively, we’ve just got to find some consistency.”
“Last night we go to Pine Grove and we hit it, scoring 16 runs, from top to bottom we hit it,” Wilbanks said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to bring the same effort and intensity day in and day out. If we can do that, things will get better.”
Ingomar got a two-out hit in each of the first three innings, but stranded the runner each time. In the first and third innings, the base runner was in scoring position at second when the third out was recorded.
Ingomar was able to score two runs in the fourth as nine batters went to the plate for the Lady Falcons. Lauren Thompson led off the inning with her second double of the day and Erin Wall drove her in to tie the game. Pitcher Carson Grisham later drove in Wall with her RBI single to put Ingomar in front 2-1.
Ingomar scored another run in the fifth when Maggie Smithey doubled to lead off the inning and was driven in by Thompson. Ingomar left the bases loaded in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Kasey Carson scored the final Ingomar run in the sixth as she came home on the Walnut error to raise the score to 4-1.
Thompson had two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored while Smithey had two doubles and a run scored to lead the Lady Falcons.
Maggie Smithey drives her double into deep left field in the fifth inning. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Maggie Smithey drives her double into deep left field in the fifth inning. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Duo leads East Union to win

Hannah White was unstoppable on Monday with her four hits and four runs scored. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Hannah White was unstoppable on Monday with her four hits and four runs scored. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
WHEELER – The Wheeler Lady Eagles just never had an answer for the East Union duo of Hannah White and Sallie Pannell on Monday as East Union defeated the Lady Eagles 14-2. White went 4-4 and scored four runs while Pannell went 3-4 with a walk, and scored a run. Both players recorded a double on the day.
The Lady Urchins were also aided by numerous Wheeler errors that allowed base runners or gave the team extra bases following hits.
“Anytime you can get a win you’ve got to take it, but it’s not as sharp as I want it,” East Union coach Josh Blythe said. “Starting a week ago, we’ve just not played as sharp as I thought we should have. I’m proud of the kids even though it seems like some days that we’re just going through the motions. We still swung the bats well, getting maybe 16 hits, several doubles and extra-base hits.”
East Union scored a run in the second to take a narrow 1-0 lead. The Lady Urchins sent eight batters to the plate in the third, scoring three and extended the lead to 4-0.
Wheeler was able to manufacture a run in the bottom of the third to close the score at 4-1. East Union came back in the fourth to pick up two more runs and move out to a 6-1 lead.
East Union padded their lead with four runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh while Wheeler scored another run in the sixth.
Tianna Castillo and Callie Frazier scored three runs apiece for East Union. Rebecca Sheffield played a major role in the win with her two hits and four RBIs. Frazier also had two hits.
Pannell was the winning pitcher for East Union.
Kallie Roberts tries to turn the double play as she pivots and fires the throw to first. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Kallie Roberts tries to turn the double play as she pivots and fires the throw to first. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Sallie Pannell played a key role in the Lady Urchin win with her three hits as well as being the winning pitcher. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Sallie Pannell played a key role in the Lady Urchin win with her three hits as well as being the winning pitcher. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

County runners enjoy good results at Saltillo meet

Stephane Floyd helped lead the Myrtle girls to a third place finish at Saltillo. Floyd placed ninth individually with a time of 22:01.09. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Stephane Floyd helped lead the Myrtle girls to a third place finish at Saltillo. Floyd placed ninth individually with a time of 22:01.09. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
SALTILLO – Union County runners squared off against some of the top runners in the state at Saltillo and came away with very competitive team and individual results on Saturday. Over 41 teams competed in the meet on one of the toughest courses in the state.
Myrtle girls had a strong showing in the 1-3A girls, finishing third overall with 104 points. Myrtle was led by Stephanie Floyd’s ninth place time of 22:01.09. Caroline Greer (20), Ivory Montgomery (22), Geniesha Montgomery (31) and Ellie Fitts (34) ran well as a group to secure the third place finish. East Union finished 10th at 244 points.
Sarah Duley of East Union placed tenth with her time of 22:02.80 while Savannah Shirley of West Union (22:33.71) finished 15th and Sydney Roberts of Ingomar (23:03.21) placed 24th. Hannah Courtney of East Union was another top 40 finisher at 24:02.83 for the number 40 spot.
Boys 1-3A individual boys results saw Noah Bryant of Ingomar turn in a fifth place finish with a time of 18:16.48. Hunter Nobles placed eighth at 18:25.39 and Zach Rowan was tenth at 18:36.31. Other top 40 finishers were Jordan Salmon of East Union in 12th place (18:43.33), Alex Sanders of Ingomar in 13th (18:43.73), Randy Long of West Union in 27th place (19:38.10) Joey Pace of East Union in 32nd (19:55.91) and Eli Basil of West Union, 33rd (19:56.35).
East Union placed fourth in the team standings at 98 points. West Union was seventh at 225 and Myrtle placed ninth at 267.
Noah Bryant finished fifth in 1-3A boys with his time of 18:16.48. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Noah Bryant finished fifth in 1-3A boys with his time of 18:16.48. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Sarah Duley of East Union placed 10th in the 1-3A girls with a time of 22:02.80. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Sarah Duley of East Union placed 10th in the 1-3A girls with a time of 22:02.80. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


East Union's Hunter Nobles finished eighth in 1-3A boys with his time of 18:25.39. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

East Union’s Hunter Nobles finished eighth in 1-3A boys with his time of 18:25.39. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Savannah Shirley of West Union finished 15th with her time of 22:33.71. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Savannah Shirley of West Union finished 15th with her time of 22:33.71. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Injury-plagued Urchins fall to Strayhorn

Bailey Spruill #71 and Josh Whitenton #44 move in for the tackle on the Strayhorn runner. Steven Call #82 and Austin Colburn #50 also help in stopping the play. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Bailey Spruill #71 and Josh Whitenton #44 move in for the tackle on the Strayhorn runner. Steven Call #82 and Austin Colburn #50 also help in stopping the play. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
STRAYHORN – East Union has fought the injury bug since game one and Friday night the Urchins played without eight starters as they lost on the road to Strayhorn 20-0. East Union had to again reshuffle their lineup and move players around to new positions, particularly affected was the offensive line which has not seen the same five starters all season.
“We played short-handed, but that doesn’t excuse all the penalties and turnovers,” East Union coach Scott Duley said. “We probably had seven or eight offsides on defense, we’ve got to get more disciplined. I’ve got to do a better job coaching. Hats off to Strayhorn, they played a good game, they had a good game plan. They probably possessed the ball about 75 per cent of the clock time. It’s hard to win when the other team’s got the ball that long.”
Strayhorn took the opening kickoff and methodically moved downfield covering 80 yards. The Mustangs scored with 8:08 left in the opening quarter on Jordan Pinion’s 27 yard touchdown run. The kick failed and Strayhorn led 6-0.
East Union drove inside the Mustang 40 on three occasions, but an interception and costly penalties stopped all of the drives and the Urchins trailed 6-0 after a quarter.
The Urchins marched from their 16 to the Strayhorn 31 late in the first half, but the drive ended on an interception by the Mustangs.
Strayhorn took only two plays to convert the turnover into points as they scored with :1.7 left in the half. Ryan Ross hit Justin Stovall with a 16 yard pass for the score. The pass was incomplete for the two point attempt and the teams went to half with Strayhorn up 12-0.
East Union took the kickoff in the second half and drove to the Strayhorn 25, but a fumble killed the drive on the Urchins’ deepest drive of the night.
Austin Colburn recovered a Strayhorn fumble in the next series, but the Urchins went three and out, resulting in a punt. Neither team was able to score in the third quarter.
Strayhorn scored the game’s final touchdown with 10:20 left in the game as Pinion scored on a four-yard run. He also added the two point conversion with his run and the Mustangs led 20-0.
Jamie McCullough lead East Union in rushing with 10 carries for 88 yards. Lane Plunk had six carries for 60 yards.
Zane Wilkinson was 5-12 passing for 61 yards. Craig Hutchens had two catches for 32 yards and Cody Taylor had two catches for 26 yards.
“We had our opportunities, you’ve got to capitalize when you’ve got them and we certainly had them,” Duley said. “Every time it seemed we had a big play, we had a penalty. The big thing we want to teach these young men is to persevere in difficulties and you certainly can’t teach them that if you don’t have difficulties.”
Duley said he was pleased with the effort by the Urchins, but the execution left a lot to be desired.
East Union has an open date next week and return to action on October 3 against New Site which will be Homecoming for the Urchins.