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Wheatley works well with Loyd Star

Loyd Star is an annual contender for the division baseballchampionship and the Hornets usually appear in the state playoffs.First-year head coach Sidney Wheatley directed the Hornets to theClass 2A South State semifinals this season and they finished witha 21-10 record.

For his team’s accomplishments, Wheatley has been named TheDaily Leader’s Lincoln County Baseball Coach of the Year.

Wheatley, 34, inherited a solid program from Anthony Hart. Theteam came together and produced one of the most successful seasonsin the school’s history.

Recalling the campaign, Wheatley said, “I was extremely proud ofour kids. We got off to a great start and we were undefeated in thedistrict. Then we lost our last two district games and our firstplayoff game.”

In recent years Loyd Star had struggled in the first round ofthe state playoffs. This time the Hornets regrouped and came backstrong. After losing to Clarkdale in Game One of a best-of-threeseries, Loyd Star overcame a nagging jinx and won two straightgames.

“Our kids showed alot of character bouncing back,” saidWheatley. “We competed well against a strong, senior-led Lumbertonteam.”

In the second round of the state playoffs, Loyd Star beatLumberton in Game Two of the best-of-three series before thePanthers, eventual, state runners-up prevailed in the South Statesemifinals.

“Our kids gave a great effort,” said Wheatley. “I was happy withwhat they were able to achieve.”

Loyd Star graduated three standout seniors inpitchers/shortstops Cass Brister and Seth Britt and leftfielderLogan Portrey. A solid group of starters return for the 2003season.

“I’m excited about the group coming back next year,” saidWheatley. “Overall, we are relatively young.

“We are raising the program to the next level. We want tocompete for a state championship. Our kids are getting that ideainstilled in them.”

When he isn’t coaching and teaching, Wheatley enjoys the outdoorlife. He spends his spare time fishing, hunting and playinggolf.

A Union native, Wheatley graduated from McLaurin AttendanceCenter in 1986. A standout in football and baseball, he playedquarterback at Mississippi College. He later transferred toArkansas-Monticello where he played baseball and football. He was acatcher for the Bollwevils.

Wheatley majored in coaching and sports administration. He beganhis career at Demopolis, Ala., coaching football and baseball fortwo years. He was head baseball coach and assistant football coachat Union for two years before moving to Loyd Star last year.