Lady Urchins defeat playoff powerhouse East Webster in three

Callie Frazier limited East Webster to six runs in 12 innings of work on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


ELLISTOWN – Year after year, the East Webster Lady Wolverines have had East Union’s number in softball playoffs. The Lady Urchins would inch closer and closer to the perennial softball powerhouse, but just couldn’t quite pull off the series win until Monday and Tuesday as the Lady Urchins won the 2A softball series 2-1.
East Union won Monday’s game one in a late-inning comeback, 7-5. In game two on Tuesday, the Lady Urchins fell 3-1 on a seventh inning comeback by East Webster to force a deciding game three immediately following.
The Lady Urchins blew game three open with a six-run second inning and went on to run-rule the Lady Wolverines 13-3 in five innings.
“Callie Frazier threw 12 innings, never asked for a break, did not walk a person, did not hit anyone” East Union head coach Josh Blythe said. “She held a pretty dead gum good offensive ball club to six runs in over 12 innings. Everybody knows East Webster and knows what Coach Berryhill has done with this program is the pinnacle, he’s a fantastic man. Just to come out here and compete against him is awesome, I wish there were more guys like him in the profession.”
Frazier also had a huge game three at the plate, collecting three hits and driving in four runs, including the walk-off two RBI double that drove in Kaitie Boatner and Raelee Bell to end the contest in five innings.
The second inning was the key to the Lady Urchins win as 11 batters went to the plate, pounding out five hits, plus utilizing two walks a hit batter to score six runs. Those players collecting RBIs were Emily Coggin with two, Rebecca Sheffield, Frazier, Boatner and Bell which gave East Union a big 7-1 advantage.
“I’ve got to give a shoutout to Mr. Jimmy Wigginton,” Blythe said. “He came to me and said Coach I think we need to choke up on the bats and I told him that I’m fixing to tell them (team). Mr. Wig was right so I want to give him credit so that he can hang that up in his room because he did it.”
This all came after Frazier had put East Union on the scoreboard in the first with her RBI driving in Bell to tie the game at 1-1.
East Union scored again in the fourth as Frazier walked and Jessie Roberts came on to pinch run and later score. Sallie Pannell followed Frazier with a single and was driven in by Sheffield.
East Union entered the bottom of the fifth with a 9-3 lead, needing four runs to end the contest by run-rule. Bell delivered a two-RBI single to put the Lady Urchins up 11-3 and Frazier followed two batters later with the walk-off two RBI double.
“How about our crowd and our community coming together?” Blythe said. “They are just itching for something to cheer about and how about our kids? We led the whole game in the earlier game and just didn’t get it done. We could have laid over after they scored and went up 1-0 (game three), but boom we came back and answered to tie it at 1-1, then put up a six-spot and got some breathing room.”
East Webster 3, East Union 1 (game two)
East Webster scored three runs with two outs in the top of the seventh to sneak by the Lady Urchins for the win in game two of the 2A series. The Lady Wolverines had three consecutive RBI by Jennah Pate, Jessica Davis and Emily Nason during the frame.
The Lady Urchins had a runner in scoring position in the seventh as Pannell led off with a double, East Webster was able to retire the next three batters to preserve the win.
East Union’s only run came in the fourth as Bell singled, stole second and scored on an error in the outfield on a ball hit by Frazier.
East Union 7, East Webster 5 (game one)
East Union had never beaten East Webster at the Lady Wolverines home venue, but the Lady Urchins came from behind to take the 7-5 game one win.
East Union took their first lead and held it, in the sixth inning as Colby Stafford led off with a double. Jessie Roberts came in to pinch run and moved to third as Hannah White reached on an error.
Kallie Roberts drove in Jessie with her fielders choice RBI groundout to tie the game at 5-5. White later scored on a wild pitch to put the Lady Urchins up a run at 6-5.
East Webster threatened in the bottom of the sixth as Jessica Aron singled, but Rebecca Sheffield caught the hard liner to second and doubled up the runner at first to end the inning.
East Union added an insurance run in the seventh as Emily Coggin singled and was followed by Callie Frazier’s single. Sallie Pannell drove in Coggin with her RBI single to give East Union the 7-5 lead.

Eagles float past Urchins in game one

Jacob Raines rounds third and heads for home after his leadoff homer in the fourth inning. Photos by Dennis Clayton.


ELLISTOWN – Eupora overcame cold, soggy weather conditions to take game one of the 2A series with East Union of Thursday. Eupora used a three-run fifth to overcome a 3-1 Urchin lead to win 4-3.
Eupora used two hits, two walks and an error to gain the advantage after the Urchins had led the contest through the first four innings of play.
Joel Wilkinson gave East Union the early lead, drawing a walk then stealing second. Wilkinson came home on an error at short off the bat of Ty McDonald to give the Urchins the 1-0 lead after an inning.
The Urchins added a run in the second as Ethan Hitt walked and later scored on Zane Wilkinson’s double to extend the Urchin lead to 2-0 after two.

Ethan Hitt rounds third and later scores on Zane Wilkinson’s RBI double.


Eupora scored a run in the third inning off a bases-loaded walk to cut the East Union advantage to 2-1.
Jacob Raines drilled a leadoff home run over the fence in left to raise the Urchin lead back to two runs at 3-1.
Joel went the distance on the mound for the Urchins, allowing four runs on eight hits with three walks while striking out eight.
Raines and Zane had the only extra-base hits and RBI for the Urchins with the home run and double.

Zane Wilkinson watches his double to left that would drive in Ethan Hits for the second East Union run against Eupora.

Graduation 2016 marks end of era

My graduation speech to my seniors of 2016
Graduation is upon us again even though it seems like only yesterday that we were just getting the 2015-16 school year started. With this graduation comes the realization that some of my kids that I have followed since junior high will no longer roam the courts and fields of prep sports and that makes me a bit sad.
You see, I got back into the high school sports scene full-time back during the 2010-11 season with newly added responsibilities of covering area prep sports for the News Exchange and this senior class were essentially babes for lack of a better term. They’re my first team to graduate I guess you might say.
I have had the honor and joy of getting to know these athletes, their parents, siblings and even grandparents and I am truly blessed beyond measure on all accounts. However, that makes it harder to let go and watch these young men and women move on to the next step in life.
Some will continue on to play sports at the next level, but most will just say goodbye to coaches and teammates who will forever hold a special place in their hearts and minds.
They will remember all the fun times on the team bus trips, the camaraderie that only can be experienced with others who have the same goals and desires for success of team and love of school, the game and each other.
There will be games and plays that will be forever etched in their minds from their “glory days” that they will reflect upon in the days to come.
I too will remember these athletes, things they said, things they did. I will remember some pretty amazing feats they accomplished on the field of play, some of the games they won and how they won them.
Most of all though, I will just remember each and every person and what a great guy or girl they were on and off the field. I will remember a kind act or a word of encouragement that I experienced or saw someone else experience.
I trust that sports has taught all my “kids” about life because some days you win and some days you lose, but you must never give up, you just keep grinding. You must get up, knock the dust off and go again and again.
And yes, these are my kids because many years ago my family passed through these same situations and circumstances with high school sports and sadly, we one day had to bid all our sports farewell.
Maybe I’m reliving my past through someone else’s child or maybe your child, but one of my main objectives in covering sports is getting to know the players and their families just to let them know that I genuinely care about them, their team, their school and their family.
So it’s a little bittersweet as I watch my former babies walk the aisle to become the graduates of 2016 since I will never again have the opportunity to share the sideline or dugout with them, but I know that they are ready to face tomorrow because they have proven themselves time and again in the face of adversity and opportunity with a winning attitude.
To my Seniors of 2016 I ask you to remember the words of Chuck Swindoll “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Thanks for your friendship, thanks for your allowing me to follow your exploits on the field of play, but most of all thanks for allowing me to be a small part of your busy life. May God richly bless you all.

East Union’s Sheffield is Division 1-2A Slowpitch Player of the Year

Rebecca Sheffield of East Union was named the Division 1-2A Player of the Year in slowpitch softball.

Rebecca Sheffield of East Union was named the Division 1-2A Player of the Year in slowpitch softball.

Player of the Year Division 1-2A
*Rebecca Sheffield
*CO-MVP McKinley Montgomery
First Team All-Division
East Union
1- Sallie Pannell
2- Kaitie Boatner
3- Tianna Castillo
4- Raelee Bell
Mantachie
1- Holly Maxcy
2- Anna Wagster
3- Emilee Clouse
Baldwyn
1- Jeni Kate Scott
2- Hannah Durham
3- Emily Jenkins
Okolona Honorable Mention
1- Chanda Owens
Second Team All Division
East Union
1- Claudia Hill
2- Hannah White
3- Callie Frazier
4- Kallie Roberts
Mantachie
1- Lynsey Barber
2- Kennedy Jones
Baldwyn
1- Kala King
2- Katie Stevens
3- Corley Hogue

Union County cross country results

East Union boys took first place in the 2015 Union County XC Meet on Thursday at East Union. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

East Union boys took first place in the 2015 Union County XC Meet on Thursday at East Union. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


East Union girls won the 2015 Union County XC title on Thursday. Photo by Dennis Clayton. East Union girls won the 2015 Union County XC title on Thursday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.
BY DENNIS CLAYTON
ELLISTOWN – East Union won first in the Union County Cross Country Meet in boys and girls varsity at East Union on Thursday, edging Myrtle girls and Ingomar boys to take the county title.
Savannah Shirley of West Union won the individual girls varsity race in 22:13 and Jordon Salmon of East Union won the boys individual with his time of 17:51.
Jessica Pickens of Myrtle won the junior high girls race with a time of 25:57 and Micah Fulgham of East Union won the junior high boys in 20:49.
Savannah Shirley of West Union is the 2015 Union County XC Individual Champion. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Savannah Shirley of West Union is the 2015 Union County XC Individual Champion. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Jordon Salmon of East Union is the 2015 Union County Boys Individual Champion. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Jordon Salmon of East Union is the 2015 Union County Boys Individual Champion. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Jessica Pickens of Myrtle is the 2015 Union County Junior High Girls Champion.

Jessica Pickens of Myrtle is the 2015 Union County Junior High Girls Champion.


Micah Fulgham of East Union is the 2015 Union County Junior High Boys Champion.

Micah Fulgham of East Union is the 2015 Union County Junior High Boys Champion.


Top finishers in the 2015 Union County Cross Country Meet.

Top finishers in the 2015 Union County Cross Country Meet.

Lady Urchins drop Mooreville from unbeaten ranks

Sallie Pannell hit three home runs including a grand slam against Mooreville. File photo.

Sallie Pannell hit three home runs including a grand slam against Mooreville. File photo.

BY DENNIS CLAYTON
East Union got a bit of redemption on Saturday as the Lady Unchins defeated Mooreville 21-10, handing the Lady Troopers their only defeat of the season. Mooreville had beaten the Lady Urchins 19-9 earlier in the week at East Union.
Sallie Pannell put the Lady Urchins in the lead with her grand slam homer in the first inning. Mooreville came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning to close to 4-3.
The Lady Urchins added two runs in the second inning as Jaley White and Raelee Bell hit RBI doubles to up the lead to 6-3. Mooreville added a run in their at-bat to make the score 6-4.
East Union expanded their lead to 11-4 in the third as Pannell hit her second homer of the day and Kallie Roberts hit her first home run of the season.
The Lady Urchins tacked on three more runs in the fourth inning off Tianna Castillo’s two-run homer and Kaitie Boatner’s RBI sacrifice fly to expand the lead to 14-4. Mooreville scored one run in the bottom of the inning and East Union led 14-5 after four.
The Lady Urchins went to the long ball again in their half of the fifth as Rebecca Sheffield, Callie Frazier and Pannell homered. Pannell’s shot gave her three home runs on the day. Hannah White also hit a two-RBI double to give East Union a commanding 21-5 lead.
Mooreville came back with five runs in their half of the fifth, but East Union took the game in five innings by a 21-10 margin.
East Union had seven home runs on the day led by Pannell’s three while Roberts, Castillo, Sheffield and Frazier had one homer apiece.

East Union 21, Mooreville 10
East Union 425 37 – 21 19 0

Mooreville  310 15 – 10 14 4

   WP: Sallie Pannell. LP: McDonald.   Multiple hits: (EU) Pannell 3, Raelee Bell, Rebecca Sheffield, Tianna Castillo, Callie Frazier, Claudia Hill, Kaitie Boatner, Hannah White; (M) M. Edmonds 3, Cryder, Long, Filgo, Walton. 2B: (EU) Hill, White; (M) Sullivan. HR: (EU) Pannell 3, Sheffield, Castillo, Frazier, Kallie Roberts; (M) Cryder 2, Long 2, Edmonds, McDonald.

SouthernTee’s meet to feature competitive field

Jordon Salmon and his East Union teammates hope to build on last week's successful first place finish at Saltillo as they host the SouthernTee's Challenge. File photo.

Jordon Salmon and his East Union teammates hope to build on last week’s successful first place finish at Saltillo as they host the SouthernTee’s Challenge. File photo.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
Saturday’s SouthernTee’s Challenge will host a field of 24 teams and should again prove to be extremely competitive in all four varsity races.
East Union is fresh off a big day at the Saltillo Invitational in the 1A-3A boys as they took first with 43 points easily out-distancing second place Potts Camp’s 128 points. Both teams will compete on Saturday and will be joined by three other teams that placed in the top ten at Saltillo, Hickory Flat, Mooreville and Myrtle.
Jarvis Harris of Hickory Flat was first in 1A-3A with East Union’s Jordon Salmon placing second and fellow Urchin Clayton Fulgham finished fourth. Austin King of Water Valley and Zach Rowan of East Union placed in the top nine at Saltillo and will compete on Saturday.
In 1A-3A girls, Mooreville, Myrtle, Hickory Flat, East Union and South Pontotoc finished in the top ten teams at Saltillo and should provide a very competitive field. West Union will be the remaining Union County team to compete on Saturday.
Kendra Sanders and Mycah Sanders of Mooreville finished second and seventh respectively for the Lady Troopers at Saltillo. Gracie Pipkin of Hickory Flat placed eighth and teammate R’Daztiny Harris was tenth. All four should race on Saturday.
Sarah Duley of Easst Union was the top Union County runner on Saturday with her 11th place finish.
Top teams in boys and girls 4A-6A will be perennial powers Saltillo, Oxford, Tupelo, Corinth and Senatobia as all five schools placed in the top ten in both boys and girls competition at Saltillo. Pontotoc from 4A is always a threat in the larger schools as well.
Race schedule for SouthernTee’s Challenge is as follows:
9:00 – 1A-3A Varsity Girls (5K)
9:45 – 4A-6A Varsity Girls (5K)
10:30 – 1A-3A Varsity Boys (5K)
11:15 – 4A-6A Varsity Boys (5K)
12:00 – Junior High Girls (5K)
12:45 – Junior High Boys (5K)
1:30 – Award presentation