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Baseball can warm your heart

Looking for a glimpse of spring on these cold winter days? Takeheart, there is baseball on the horizon. Grab your jacket, hat andgloves and head for the diamond.

Better yet, get ready for Brookhaven High’s annual Diamond Dayand meet the Panthers. It arrives Saturday, Feb. 14 on MoyerField.

Activities begin a day earlier with a youth baseball clinic forgrades 1-6, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., on Moyer Field. BHS headbaseball coach Randy Spring and his assistantcoaches, Jaymie Palmer, Eric Stokes andDwayne Oberschmidt, plus Panther players, willconduct the clinic.

The clinic registration fee is $15 on or before Feb. 6. Itclimbs to $20 the next day, Feb. 7. The fee includes a Poweradesports drink and a t-shirt.

On Saturday, Feb. 14, starting at 10 a.m., there will be a BHSHit-a-Thon at Moyer Field. Contact any Panther baseball team memberfor details.

Also on that day, an Old Timers Game will be held from 11 a.m.until 1 p.m. A donation is required to enter the game.

In the meantime, The Brookhaven Diamond Club will be selling redbeans and rice lunches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $5 anddinners can be picked up at Lipsey Middle School.

Spring is definitely looking forward to the season. His Panthersare defending division champions. They plan on making the Class 4Astate playoffs again.

Yes, baseball is fast approaching. The Co-Lin Wolves, under thedirection of head coach Keith Case, make theirlong-awaited debut Feb. 13, hosting Bossier City (La.) on SullivanField. It will be a 1 p.m., 9-inning game. On Feb. 14, take yoursweetheart to the diamond for Co-Lin’s game with East Mississippi,also a 9-inning special starting at 1 p.m. Then treat them to aValentine’s Day dinner.

Case, in his 12th year at the helm, is excited about the seasonahead. He has a talented group of pitchers and a solid group ofveterans to compliment an outstanding freshman class.

Another great spring sport in Mississippi is girls fastpitchsoftball. The BHS Lady Panthers, coached by LisaCovington, debut Feb. 21 in a Classic Game. North Pike andLoyd Star also will participate.

Also right around the corner is the Co-Lin fastpitch campaign.Coach Allen Kent will debut his Lady Wolves onMonday, Feb. 23, hosting East Central. Kent has a good nucleusreturning. Right now they are battling the injury bug.

Crunch time has arrived for high school basketball teams acrossthe Magnolia State. Brookhaven Academy is hosting the District 4-AATournament this week in John R. Gray Gymnasium. The top four teamsout of Saturday’s consolation and championship games advance tonext week’s South State AA Tournament at Simpson County Academy inMendenhall. From there, the top four finishers advance to the AAState Tournament at Canton Academy, Feb. 16-20.

The Brookhaven Academy boys and girls are defending statechampions and they appear capable of repeating if the shots fallright. After state, it’s another adventure for BA’s faithful fans,the journey taking them to the MPSA Overall State Tournament atMississippi College in Clinton.

In the public school ranks, the division basketball tournamentstip off Monday, Feb. 16 and run through Feb. 20. In a change offormat, the top four teams will advance to the opening rounds ofthe South Mississippi Tournaments, Feb. 16-17. A South win in theopener will send them to the location of South tourneys, startingon Thursday, Feb. 19.

South Mississippi Tournaments can be profitable if your teammakes it. The Mississippi High School Activities Association hasaccepted bids for the South tourneys and several schools have maderequests. The first school gets priority. The others can crosstheir fingers and hope for an upset.

Here’s a list of proposed sites for South tourneys.

South Mississippi 5A Boys, Gulfport; 5A Girls, Hancock, Gulfportsecond. 4A Boys: Brookhaven first, Forrest County AHS second,George County third, Pass Christian fourth and Northeast Lauderdalefifth. 4A Girls: Petal first, Northeast Jones second; McComb third,George County fourth and Brookhaven fifth.

3A Boys: Franklin County first, Crystal Springs second,Hazlehurst third. 3A Girls: Choctaw Central first, Franklin Countysecond, Southeast Lauderdale third, Hazlehurst fourth and NorthPike fifth.

2A Boys: Heidelberg first, Kemper County second, Philadelphiathird, Newton fourth, Perry Central fifth. 2A Girls: Perry Centralfirst, Newton second, Heidelberg third.

1A BOYS: McAdams. 1A Girls: Scott Central first, McAdams second,Dexter (at Tylertown) third.

Obviously, consolation games take on much more importance thisyear. By comparison, 5A only sends the top two teams to theregionals.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz at The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com