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Bowman jets to Cleveland for mini-camp

Jessie Bowman hopes to make a favorable impression with theCleveland Browns this weekend. He departed today for a rookiemini-camp in Cleveland where he will match wits and physicaltalents with several free agents and recently drafted rookies.

Bowman (6-0, 335), a popular Brookhaven native, hopes to land ajob as a defensive lineman with the Browns. He was a starter atMississippi State until midway through this past season. His seniorcampaign was cut short by a leg injury in the Alabama game.

The injury, a torn quadriceps tendon in his left thigh, requiredsurgery. He has been on the rehab trail since then, anticipating achance to play pro football.

“My leg is doing good,” said Bowman, during a Wednesdaytelephone call to his Starkville dormitory room. “I have heard fromsome NFL teams. I got invited to the New York Giants camp and theCleveland camp.”

The Cleveland camp is this weekend and the Giants camp is nextweek. Bowman elected to catch the plane to Cleveland.

Asked about his conversation with the Cleveland coaching staff,Bowman answered, “They said they might use me at nose or zerotechnique. They have a 3-4 defense.”

There are nine defensive linemen listed on the Cleveland roster.Kenyon Coleman (UCLA) and Shawn Roberts (Texas) are both 8-yearveterans with the Browns.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” said Bowman.Cleveland, once known for its “Dog Pound” defense, struggledthrough a long season in the AFC North Division. The Brownsfinished 4-12 overall and 3-9 in the conference. The AFC North foesare Baltimore, Cincinnati and the reigning Super Bowl championPittsburgh Steelers.

Bus Cook of Hattiesburg is Bowman’s agent.

Due to the lengthy rehab on his leg, Bowman didn’t participatein the April 1 Pro Day at Starkville.

If Bowman isn’t invited back to Cleveland, he has severaloptions, among them the Canadian Football League, and the new USALeague. We wish him the best.

Loyd Star’s Lady Hornets (29-1-1) hope to make history thisweekend by winning the MHSAA Class 2A State Fastpitch SoftballChampionship. They’ll play Hamilton in a best-of-three series,starting Friday night at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland.

Coach Jan Delaughter’s Lady Hornets already have made history bywinning the South State 2A title and reaching the championshipfinals. They’ve enjoyed a great season and lots of fan support.

An enthusiastic crowd, estimated at 500, witnessed lastSaturday’s South title game at Loyd Star when the Lady Hornetseliminated Enterprise-Clarke 1-0. They had shut outEnterprise-Clarke 4-0 last Thursday.

Loyd Star has been playing great defense late in the season.Brooke Delaughter, an outstanding junior right-hander, has pitchedmost of Loyd Star’s victories this season.

At neighboring North Pike, Bogue Chitto native Sonya Wallace hascoached her Lady Jaguars to the Class 3A South State title and aberth in the finals. The Lady Jaguars (24-7) play Nettleton Fridayat 6 p.m.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association elected toplace all of the state title championships at one location and theRidgeland city officials were anxious to host the event. Thereshould be some overflow crowds gathering for the 5 statechampionships.

In Class 5A, Northwest Rankin faces Gulfport. In Class 4A, it’sCleveland versus East Central. In Class 1A, East Webster meetsSmithville.

While in the neighborhood, softball fans can catch some of theNJCAA Region 23 Tournament action at Traceway Park in Clinton. TheCo-Lin Lady Wolves are seeded No. 1 and meet the winner of thePearl River-Northwest game today at 5 p.m. The double-eliminationtournament runs through Saturday, with the finals set for 1p.m.

Followers of high school baseball are in for a treat thisweekend as the MHSAA’s third round of the state playoffs gets underway. Coach Jonathan Breakfield’s Loyd Star Hornets are atTaylorsville Friday night before returning home to host the TartarsSaturday at 6 p.m. on Smith Field.

Taylorsville is led by multitalented senior shortstop BillyHamilton who is projected to be a Top 10 selection in June’s MajorLeague Baseball Draft. He has signed a football scholarship withMississippi State but the swift 6-foot, 170-pound Hamilton is knownbest for his diamond skills, either at bat, on the mound or runningthe bases where he was 25-for-25 as a junior.

Lawrence County, coached by Cory Keyes, has a big weekend serieswith Picayune in Class 4A action. The Cougars are at PicayuneFriday at 6 p.m., and return home to host the Maroon Tide Saturdayat 3 p.m., in Monticello’s Jimmie Davis Park.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS 39602, or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com