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Meridian area home to great youth sports

By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
July 20, 2003
Surfing the Sunday Sports world while wondering whatever happened to Andre Keene, the first Meridian Brakeman …
It is obvious that youth baseball and softball is alive and well in East Mississippi.
We have had several teams win state championships over the last couple of weeks, some totally dominating the competition on the way to winning those titles.
The next step is either Regional play, or the World Series, according to what league you are referring to.
The Meridian Star is pleased to print results from the games of all of the teams competing in these prestigious events.
Coaches or scorekeepers can report the highlights of the games in one of three ways. Game report sheets are available in the sports office of The Meridian Star. These can be filled out and sent by fax to the sports department at 485-1275.
Results can also be sent by e-mail to sports@themeridianstar.com or the results of the games can be called in at 1-800-232-2525, ext. 3235.
If you have any questions about these procedures don't hesitate to give me a call at 938-2471.
Also we are more then happy to run team photos of any youth league softball or baseball teams. Just e-mail them to sports@themeridianstar.com as a jpeg. They must be sent as a jpeg for us to be able to use them. Also, the photo must be identified with first and last names.
The photos can also be brought by The Meridian Star at 814 22nd Ave. or mailed to P.O. Box 1591, Meridian, MS, 39302.
We are certainly interested in your youth league teams, but we can't report the scores and highlights or run the team photos if we don't receive them.
Send us your
sports schedules
The Prep football and softball seasons are upon us.
While many realize that high school football will be kicking off on Aug. 22 with MPSA games, most don't know that almost two weeks earlier MHSAA slow-pitch softball will begin.
We have some schedules of the area teams already collected, but not nearly enough. I ask all coaches and athletic directors to please send us all of their available fall and winter schedules. If they are tentative, then just indicate that at the top.
Junior college soccer is also on the horizon and we need those schedules as well.
Also, the local youth soccer leagues will be kicking off soon. We would love to run your schedules as well. This goes for area golf courses, running clubs, tennis leagues, etc.
Just send them by fax to 485-1275, e-mail them to sports@themeridianstar.com or mail them to P.O. Box 1591, Meridian, MS, 39302.
The SEC West
tough place to play
It doesn't matter whether its football, baseball, men's basketball or women's basketball, the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference is not for the faint of heart.
Tony Krausz, the assistant sports editor for The Meridian Star, took part in the summer SEC basketball teleconference on Friday, and thus far has done a fine job reporting all of the tidbits he picked up.
There is one thing that I noticed for sure, nobody has any real idea who the best team is going to be in the SEC West next season.
Sure, Auburn will be the early favorite, but early is the operative word here.
Had Mario Austin not bolted for the NBA along with high school signee Travis Outlaw, then Mississippi State would have been the likely preseason pick in the West. But they did, so the Bulldogs won't.
While Outlaw is truly a talent, and Austin was a force to reckon with down low, the player the Bulldogs may miss the most is graduated senior point guard Derrick Zimmerman.
Z' could get the ball to the hole as quickly as anyone and he had an uncanny ability to find the open man with the basketball.
State still has plenty of talent returning, but a lot of it is untested, as least when it comes to playing 30-plus minutes.
Ole Miss is also going to be an interesting team to watch. Coach Rod Barnes has been one of my favorites since I first saw him play basketball at Bentonia High School just outside of Yazoo City.
The fact that Aaron Harper and Justin Reed return for the Rebels make them a force to reckon with, but there are three other spots to fill on the floor.
Ole Miss could finish last in the West. But then again, the Rebs could win it. Really, they could. It's just going to be that wild.
Football is also going to be interesting to watch.
Auburn may be the team to beat in football as well this year, but LSU should be tough, and Ole Miss has a shot to cause some trouble. But you can't leave out Alabama, Arkansas or even MSU, which is coming off another horrible season.
I'm not going to say the SEC west has the best women's basketball, baseball, football and men's basketball in the country, but I will guarantee you there is no more competitive six-team league or division around anywhere when it comes to those four major sports.
All six baseball teams made the NCAA Tournament and Mississippi State and LSU were outstanding in women's basketball.

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