With the official end of the 2014-15 athletic year for high schools, it’s time to clear out the prep notebook for a few weeks of down time before we start looking ahead to the 2015 football season, when the cycle starts all over again:
•Left unsaid in the aftermath of Sumrall’s triumph in the Class 3A state championship series is the fact that the Bobcats’ victory was the swan song for their dominance in 3A baseball.
Sumrall moves up to Class 4A this fall, after winning five 3A state baseball championships and seven South State titles in the past eight seasons.
In baseball, moving up to 4A means a place for the Bobcats in Region 7-4A with Columbia, Purvis, Poplarville, Forrest County AHS and Greene County.
The Wildcats and Tornadoes both have won state titles in 4A within the past five seasons, Poplarville has become a tough out in the playoffs the past few years and while FCAHS and Greene County were rebuilding this year, both have been very competitive in the past.
Should be interesting to see these six teams go at it on the diamond next spring.
Meanwhile, Sumrall’s departure from 3A is good news for a number of teams, especially Seminary, which returns virtually everyone from this year’s team that reached the South State semis.
•Oak Grove fans shouldn’t feel too bad about the Warriors’ two-game sweep at the hands of DeSoto Central in the Class 6A state finals.
The Warriors return a strong nucleus of players from this season’s South State champs, led by sophomore pitcher-first baseman Drew Boyd, and they should be among the teams to beat next spring.
Frankly, Oak Grove overachieved just to get to Trustmark Park, then played arguably the best team in Mississippi two tough ball games when it got there.
•Speaking of DeSoto Central, the talk around the ballpark was who would win a mythical clash between the Jaguars and Oxford, which routed George County 4-0 and 9-0 in the Class 5A finals.
Based on what I saw, it would be a toss-up, although I can’t imagine the Chargers have a deeper pitching staff than DeSoto.
The Jaguars sent four pitchers out to face the Warriors and all of them were virtual clones: 6-foot-2 or so, 210-215 pounders who threw gas.
A new start
•Former FCAHS girls basketball coach Michael Thornton has landed on his feet, taking over as the girls coach at Purvis High.
Thornton, whose abrupt dismissal at the end of the past season from his position at FCAHS was well-documented, takes over a program that was 7-21 in 2014-15 under John Ishee.
“They’ve struggled for a few years, but we want to start the rebuilding process there,” said Thornton. “I’m excited about it. After 26 years at one place, it’s a chance to start over again.”
Purvis has been a tough place to win in hoops the past few years, but if anybody can turn the Lady Tornadoes around, it would be Thornton.
•Also on the coaching front, sources close to Oak Grove say the school is close to making a hire for its football coaching position that was vacated when Nevil Barr retired earlier this month.
Internet chatter has thrown out some interesting names, including Marcus Boyles at Petal (which almost certainly won’t happen) and Lance Pogue from South Panola (which might).
The two names I give the most credence to are Scott Pierson of West Jones and Todd Breland from Laurel. Both are from this area, both are used to running spread offenses and both are known to coach their kids up.
Contact Stan Caldwell at (601) 584-3137, on Twitter at StanMan1717 and on e-mail at scaldwell@hattiesburg american.com.