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Talking baseball warms up winter

Huddling around the fireplace and talking baseball in the depthsof winter. Ahhh, it gives us optimism and enthusiasm for the ritesof spring. After all, this is the Deep South. Folks shiver and somego into hibernation when the temperature hits 40 degrees.

West Lincoln baseball coach Steve Barrington wants to heat upJanuary with a coaching clinic for youth baseball leagues coaches.They’re also known as volunteer coaches and many of them areparents who just love the game of baseball.

Barrington’s brainchild will feature high school and juniorcollege baseball coaches from Brookhaven, Bogue Chitto, BrookhavenAcademy, Loyd Star, Enterprise, Wesson, Parklane Academy, McComband Franklin County plus coaches from Co-Lin and Southwest. That’sa lot of baseball knowledge in one large package.

Barrington said the clinic would be held at West Lincoln, Jan.18, 19 and 21, starting at 6 p.m. each day. Youth baseball coacheswill learn a lot of drills and practice routines from the bestbaseball minds in the area.

The bottom line is helping youngsters enjoy the game of baseballand improve their individual skills in the process. Youth baseballleagues crank up in late April and run deep into the month of July,complete with tournaments and all-star team action that extends theseason.

It’s hard for some folks to think baseball in the middle ofDecember but the 2010 diamond campaign is just around thecorner.

Co-Lin, coached by Keith Case, makes its 2010 baseball debutFeb. 12, visiting East Mississippi Community College in Scooba.

Co-Lin softball, under the direction of Coach Allen Kent, debutstwo days earlier, Feb. 10, hosting East Mississippi. The LadyWolves finally have a lighted field and plan to play more lateafternoon doubleheaders.

Meanwhile, basketball season is heating up. State, Ole Miss andSouthern Miss roundball fans are excited by their respective teams.Of course, it’s early and the rugged conference menus start inJanuary. That’s a whole new ballgame, too.

On the local scene, Copiah-Lincoln Community College boasts anationally-ranked and unbeaten team in the Lady Wolves who are No.6 in the latest NJCAA poll. A 12-0 start is impressive and Co-Linis 2-0 in the South Division race.

Coach Gwyn Young has a talented group of players and, barringunforeseen injuries, his Lady Wolves should make another strong runat state and regional tournament titles.

Young, 58, is in his 33rd season at the helm. He has compiled animpressive record of 729 wins and 220 losses. That mark ranks himas the second most winningest active coach in the NJCAA.

The Co-Lin men’s team is in a rebuilding process and assistantcoach Cliff Furr has been in charge since head coach Dennis Simswas hospitalized last week. Sims was scheduled for colon surgerytoday at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson. Keep him in yourprayers.

High school basketball has improved a lot since last year. Amongthe boys teams, Loyd Star (10-0) is undefeated and Coach Gene”Moochie” Britt’s Hornets are aiming for a long-anticipated statetournament appearance.

Brookhaven Academy’s Cougars are seeking an unprecedented sixthstraight Class AA state tournament championship. Coached by DaleWatts, the Cougars have hit a few bumps in the road in the earlyseason. There have been a few late arrivals from BA’s statechampionship football team and the chemistry isn’t quite thereyet.

At West Lincoln, Coach Lane Young’s Bears are lighting it upwith 3-point shots. They could be a state playoff contender iftheir rebounding and defense improve.

At Brookhaven, Coach Preston Wilson’s return to SinclairGymnasium has brought with it a new attitude and discipline. HisPanthers (8-1) could become a force in Class 5A before the stateplayoffs begin in February.

On the female side, Wesson’s Lady Cobras avenged their only lossof the season Tuesday night, beating the Brookhaven Lady Panthers.Wesson is looking for another run in the Class 2A state playoffs.They are under the direction of Ron Kessler and Rusti Magee as theypinch-hit for Coach Hugh Webb who under went quadruple heart bypasssurgery last week.

Bogue Chitto’s Lady ‘Cats have asserted themselves as the queensof Lincoln County, winning last week’s county round-robin. Theyalso have an early-season win over Brookhaven. Coach ChristiTerrell’s ‘Cats are 12-1 on the season and face an important Class1A region battle with Sebastopol Friday night.

At Brookhaven Academy, Coach Barry Gray’s Lady Cougars areanticipating a state title run in February. Off to an 11-2 startthis season, their state championship dream will carry them all theway to Indianola Academy where the MAIS Class AA State Tournamentwill be held.

Lawrence County, coached by Vicki Rutland, appears to be muchimproved. Rutland’s team should be favored in the Region 6-4Arace.

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