MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Category: Mississippi Baseball

  • Baseball teams start working on trick plays on the first day of practice, never knowing when — if ever — they're going to get to use them.

    But the Southaven (Miss.) coaches and players knew exactly when to break out their secret.

    With the game tied 3-3 with one out in the top of the seventh inning of Game 1 of the Mississippi Class 6A championship series, Harrison Central had the go-ahead run on second base.

    Fortunately for Southaven, the runner didn't say on base very long.

    On a 1-0 count, pitcher Wyatt Short spun for a pickoff throw to second base. The shortstop and second baseman dove after the ball and the center fielder turned to run the ball down in the outfield, so the runner turned and started to head for third base.

    One problem. The pitcher never actually threw the ball.

    Short, still holding the baseball, began to chase the runner before delivering the ball to the shortstop who made the tag for the out. The Chargers celebrated on the field and took their momentum into the bottom of the seventh, when, according to SunHerald.com, they promptly loaded the bases with no outs.

    Southaven won when Harrison Central was unable to field a ground ball, allowing the winning run to score.

    The winning run was scored by none other than Short, who also picked up the complete game victory after allowing just two earned runs and striking out five.

    Southaven went on to win Game 2 by a score of 8-2 to wrap up the state championship.

    Watch the video of the amazing trick play below.

  • Photo courtesy of Jackson Clarion Ledger

    Silento Sayles, Port Gibson

    As a youngster, Silento Sayles used to take part in family races, even chasing horses when he ran out of relatives.

    The 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior from Port Gibson (Miss.) put his speed to great use this spring by stealing a national-record 103 bases - including 12 in a single game. The previous season record was 96 by Vicente Rosario of George Washington (New York, N.Y.) in 1996. The one-game mark was 11 by Eddie Martinez of Calvary Baptist (La Verne, Calif.) in 1977.

    The talented shortstop/center fielder told Rod Walker of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, "I really didn't set any goals. I just wanted to go out there and get as many as I could get. I am from the country, so when I was younger I would always run a lot. I didn't really work on being fast. It just happened. We would have races at family reunions. And I would chase horses all the time."

    Asked about his base-stealing technique, he explained, "I would say the main thing is just timing the pitcher. I don't just go on the first pitch. I try to get the pitcher's timing down and take off."

    Sayles averaged 3.5 steals per game this year, including seven in his career finale. He stole home six times and - probably the most incredible statistic of all - he was thrown out just once.

    If there are any doubters, coach Dan Smith says simply, "The only thing I can think to tell them is to come watch him play. Get a clock because the stopwatch doesn't lie."

    That stopwatch says Sayles can get from home plate to first base in a blazing 3.8 seconds.

    However, he can do a lot more than run. Being called a five-tool player by one coach, Sayles batted a lofty .543 this spring with three doubles, two triples and an inside-the-park home run.

    He also played football and basketball for the Blue Waves.

    Though he has signed with Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, Sayles could be chosen in the Major League Draft. Cleveland and Kansas City had scouts at his final game.

    The confident speedster told Walker that he already has an eye on the professional record of 155 stolen bases by Billy Hamilton.
  • Getty Images

    Billy Hamilton, who we recognized as one of the nation's top prep players, set the professional baseball record for stolen bases in a season.

    Back when he was a standout shortstop at Taylorsville (Miss.) in 2009, Billy Hamilton was known more for his glove work than his now obvious ability to swipe bases.

    A minor league prospect for the Cincinnati Reds, Hamilton set a baseball record for stolen bases in a season when he swiped his 146th bag of the season during his team's 4-2 loss to Pensacola in a Double-A contest. Hamilton, who plays for the Montgomery Biscuits, had 104 steals while a member of the Class-A Bakersfield Blaze before moving up to the next level.

    The previous record for stolen bases was 145, set by Vince Coleman in 1983 when he played for Macon in the Class A South Atlantic League.

    As a high school senior at Taylorsville, Hamilton stole 26 bases while batting .448 with 13 doubles, four home runs and 28 RBIs. An all-around athlete, Hamilton earned All-State honors in football, basketball and baseball and also earned a spot on the MaxPreps Small Schools All-American baseball team.

    Hamilton was the first overall pick from the state of Mississippi in 2009, going in the second round to the Reds.
  • As the weather heats up around the country, so too do the baseball pitching performances. Here are a few noteworthy efforts from earlier this week.

    * No-hitters captured the headlines in West Virginia and Florida, as Caleb Fridley and Bryan Sanchez blanked opponents Tuesday.

    Fridley, a junior at Nitro (W. Va.), shut down Roane County (Spencer, W. Va.) in a 7-0 victory. He struck out 10 and didn't walk a batter in notching his no-hitter. Meanwhile, Sanchez and Hialeah-Miami Lakes (Hialeah, Fla.) needed only four innings to get past Central (Miami) in a 14-0 game shortened by the 10-run mercy rule. Sanchez fanned eight.

    * Madison Central (Miss.) ace Zach Irwin didn't fare as well despite striking out as many as Fridley and Sanchez combined. Irwin, who has committed to the University of Mississippi, amassed 18 strikeouts, but it wasn't enough as Northwest Rankin (Brandon, Miss.) rallied for a 5-4 victory in nine innings Tuesday.

    As reported by the Clarion Ledger, Reid Humphreys delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth to allow the Cougars to walk off with the win. Humphreys had struck out three times against Irwin, who allowed only five hits in the complete-game loss.

    "I don't even know how I had confidence to even step back in the box," Humphreys told the newspaper. "Zach was on point all night. But somehow we just scrapped and found a win. "

    * Bryant (Irvington, Ala.) senior Garrett Kirkland expected to be generating similar headlines this season, but Tommy John surgery curtailed those plans. Instead, Kirkland has helped the program's junior varsity pitchers while getting ready to pitch in college next season. Check out AL.com for its feature on Kirkland and how he continues to be involved with the game he loves.
  • University of Mississippi baseball fans received a glimpse at the future Tuesday, as two key recruits went head-to-head at one of the state's top early season tournaments.

    Madison Central (Miss.) ace Zach Irwin bested his future roommate, Matt Denny of Jackson Academy (Miss.), in a 5-0 victory. As reported by the Clarion Ledger, Irwin fired the second no-hitter of his career and struck out 16 while walking only one.

    Denny countered with 11 strikeouts, but four walks helped the Jaguars break through.

    "I haven't been able to pitch much this season, so I wanted to give my best tonight," Irwin told the newspaper. "The fastball was really my main pitch and it paid off when I got behind in the count."