Preparing for another successful season are the above members of the 2013 East Central Community College fast-pitch softball team. Lady Diamond Warriors and their respective high schools include (first row, from left) pitcher Mary Sanders (2), Adams County Christian School; infielder/pitcher Amber McBroom (3), Brandon; outfielder Casey Cherry (5), Union; infielders LaJoya Griffin (6) of Philadelphia, Kaylin Hopkins (7) of Louisville and Dakota Vowell (10) of Neshoba Central; outfielder Kristen Chipley (11), Leake Academy; utility player Laken Fulcher (13), Nanih Waiya; and outfielder Marlee Massey (15), Neshoba Central; (second row, from left) infielder Lindsey Beard (17), Clarkdale; outfielder Morgan Porter (19) and infielder Malauri Robinson (21), both of Enterprise; pitcher Tenna Patterson (22), Lexington (Ala.); infielders Ty Buckley (23) of Neshoba Central and Hayley Stephens (24) of Union; and outfielder AJ Peeler (27), Neshoba Central; and (third row, from left) Courtney Nunn, assistant coach; managers Sam Evans of Union and Jordan Clearman, Katherine Upchurch and Eden McGee, all of Neshoba Central; and Kristin Chaney, head coach.
Several area high school softball standouts signed national letters of intent with East Central Community College during a special ceremony held Jan. 16, 2013, on the Decatur campus. Joining the Lady Diamond Warriors in 2013-14 are (seated from left) second baseman Anna Katherine Nowell of Leake Academy; utility player Mallory Turner of West Lauderdale; short stop Hannah Peoples of Leake Academy and short stop Ananezia Triplett of Forest. Standing from left are ECCC fast-pitch softball coaches Courtney Nunn (left) and Kristin Chaney (head coach).
As is the case each year, East Central Community College head baseball coach Neal Holliman expects his Diamond Warriors to “maximize their potential” as individuals and as a team during the 2013 campaign.
His approach to each season has obviously been successful for the seventh-year head coach, who sports a 168-138 record, which includes a state championship his first year at the helm. The 2012 squad qualified for post-season play and finished with a 25-23 mark.
Although he stopped short of predicting another championship season, Holliman said he is pleased with the talent and attitude of the 2013 version of Diamond Warrior baseball.
“I have consistently been impressed with the type people and talent we have on this year’s squad,’ said Holliman. “We have a lot of positive attributes….and we anticipate another quality season.”
Holliman said his team’s athleticism and depth are among the top “attributes” as the season opener nears with Southwest Tenn. Community College, scheduled Saturday, Feb. 9 on the Decatur campus. The non-division doubleheader gets under way at 2 p.m. at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex.
“As with any team, there is room for improvement in many areas, but our depth should be an asset for us as the season unfolds,” Holliman said. “Our athleticism is a positive as well as our depth on the mound. We have shown the ability to consistently play defense, but there are several areas to improve upon in order to achieve our maximum potential.”
Along with the annual theme (and goal) of “Maximizing Our Potential,” Holliman said the team motto of “Everything Counts” also represents the type team he puts on the field each season.
“The team motto encompasses our whole program in the fact that we desire an athlete who is serious about his character, academics and enhancing his athletic ability,” said Holliman.
Each year’s squad also “adopts” an annual slogan submitted and voted on by the players. Holliman said this year’s winning entry is “If You Want Something You’ve Never Had; You Have To Do Something You’ve Never Done,” from sophomore catcher/infielder/outfielder Kyle Henson of Starkville Academy.
If the fall campaign is an indicator for success, this year’s Diamond Warriors may be poised to reach levels previously not attained…and challenged by Henson’s theme.
“Overall, the fall was productive,” said Holliman. “Success makes you hungry for more….or either you become complacent….obviously we hope our guys are hungry for more….and will become the best they can be this season.”
Expected to lead EC to another successful season are numerous returnees.
At the top of the list is shortstop Tim Anderson, a product of Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa. Anderson was named All-Region 23 and MACJC All-State in 2012 and was also chosen the Diamond Warriors’ most valuable player. He received the same honor following competition last summer in the Kansas Jayhawk League, which also rated him as a top major league baseball prospect. He earlier signed a national letter of intent with the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Fernando Gonzalez is a right-handed hurler from Puerto Rico, who is described by Holliman as one of the leaders on the pitching staff. “Fernando has continually gotten stronger and has improved his off-speed pitches as well as his velocity,” Holliman said.
Xavier Franklin is outfielder and product of Newton County High School, who received most valuable player honors following participation in the Cotton State Wooden Bat League. “Xavier has the ability to play right or left field and provide some ‘pop’ in the middle of the lineup,” said Holliman.
Kalik May is an infielder/outfielder who hails from Tuscaloosa County High School. Holliman said May is “very athletic and versatile as a defender” and is also a switch-hitter “with good strength and speed which allows us great opportunities throughout the line-up.”
Kyle Henson of Starkville Academy plays multiple positions and is a left-handed hitter who is described by Holliman as “another athletic player with tremendous opportunity to be an impact player.”
Rubert Alcantara plays first and third base and is a Dominican Republic native. “Rubert continues to improve as a player….we expect him to hit in the middle of the line-up and provide stability.”
Sevy Signa is a right-handed pitcher from Deer Creek High School. “Sevy has tremendous upside on the mound and continues to grow into his ability,” said Holliman. Signa plans to continue his career at the University of West Alabama.
Jordan Mixon is a catcher/third baseman/right-handed pitcher from East Webster High School. “Jordan is very versatile and a hard competitor who has the ability to help us in many ways,” said Holliman.
Other returnees include right-handed pitchers Robert Greer of Neshoba Central, Blake Dubuisson of Long Beach, Mitchell Wooten of Edinburg and left-handed hurlers Caleb McKee of Neshoba Central and Brady McBride of Northeast Lauderdale.
“All five will be looked upon to provide quality innings,” said Holliman. “Dubuisson has become very consistent, and we are excited to have Wooten and McKee return from injuries and missing the 2012 season.”
Holliman said McBride is a “very valuable transfer who adds depth and pitchability from the left side.” He noted Greer is recovering from an injury and “is progressing well.”
He also mentioned outfielders Ryan Shotts of Louisville and Terrance Steele of Neshoba Central.
“Terrance continues as one of the best base stealers in the conference and Ryan is finally healthy after missing 40-plus games in 2012 and has the ability as a runner and strength with the bat,” Holliman said.
The Diamond Warrior head mentor said the freshmen players are a “very solid group.”
“Maxwell Harmon in an infielder/outfielder from Enterprise who continues to improve and be consistent….he is also a very good defender who is developing as a hitter. Mason Woodrow, Conner West (both of Taylorsville) and Ty Hendrix (of East Webster) are just some of the right-handed pitchers who will be quality assets for us on the mound. John Morgan Berry (of Madison Central) is another quality addition as a first baseman/left fielder and has the ability to hit in the middle of the line-up. He is also a quality defender.”
Holliman also had praise for outfielder/catcher Chase Domino of Fairhope, Ala., whom he described as an “athletic and versatile” player who provides much-needed power in the middle line-up.
Holliman added he could list “positive attributes” about each player…“and that is why we feel depth is a quality of this year’s team.”
As he prepares for the season to get under way, Holliman said fans can expect another competitive brand of community college baseball.
“Not only do I think we have another tough schedule for the upcoming 2013 season, but we feel this will be as well-coached opponents as we have ever played,” he stated. “Our league continues to grow and there are a lot of quality coaches and teams that are working extremely hard, so the differences between each team come down to crucial moments in each game.”
Returning as Holliman’s assistant coaches are Justin Brewer and Jack Edmonson.
Slater Lott of Clarkdale serves as a student assistant. Managers are Corey Jackson and Jeremy Card, both of Nanih Waiya, and Ian Creeman of Enterprise.
Colton Hurst of Newton County is the public address announcer for home games.
For more information on the ECCC Baseball program, contact Coach Neal Holliman, 601-635-6374 or call toll free, 877-462-3222, ext. 374. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
These local musicians received first chair, first band honors during the 35th annual East Central Community College Invitational Band Clinic held January 25-26 on the Decatur campus. The two-day clinic is the largest band clinic in the College’s history with more than 250 musicians participating. The clinic is comprised of first, second and third bands: gold, black and white bands, respectively, which include the top musicians from the ECCC’s five-county district. The clinic concluded with a concert in Huff Auditorium. Students receiving first chair, first band honors and their respective schools include (front row, from left) Cameron Higgason (contrabass clarinet), Philadelphia; Tehearia Campbell (bass clarinet), Morton; Annalea Clarke (percussion), Newton County; Ava Cumberland (flute), Neshoba Central; Cayla Carraway (alto saxophone), Union; and Katlyn Patrick (mallets), Forest; and (back row, from left) Kayla Sudduth (euphonium), Morton; Graham Murphree (tenor saxophone), Newton County; Evan Derrick (trombone), Morton; Dylan Brister (baritone saxophone), Neshoba Central; Dustin Jackson (horn), Louisville; Daniela Vargas (trumpet), Morton; and Kymberly Croft (clarinet) and Charlie Gaddis (tuba), both of Newton County. Clinicians for the event included Dr. Mohamad Schuman, the associate director of bands at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg; Jason Harrell, director of bands at Pearl Junior High in Pearl, and a graduate of Scott Central High School; and DeMario Jefferson, assistant director of bands at Starkville High School in Starkville. Hunter Corhern serves as ECCC Director of Bands. Ed Girling serves as assistant director of ECCC bands.
Beginning their first year leading East Central Community College’s fast-pitch softball program are assistant Courtney Nunn (left) and head coach Kristin Chaney. The Lady Diamond Warriors host Baton Rouge Community College in the season opener scheduled Tuesday, Feb. 5 on the Decatur campus.
After serving four years as an assistant for a championship program and following a playing career as an NJCAA All-American, Kristin Chaney is well-prepared to serve as head coach of East Central Community College’s fast-pitch softball team.
Chaney officially begins her tenure Tuesday, Feb. 5, when the Lady Warriors host Baton Rouge (La.) Community College. Game times for the non-division doubleheader are scheduled at 3 and 5 p.m. on the Decatur campus.
The Little Rock native said she has wanted a career in athletics since she was a young athlete, and being a head coach is a “dream come true.”
“I am excited about being the head coach here at East Central,” Chaney said. “It has always been a goal of mine to become a head coach and the challenge is now here.
“Athletics is something that has always been part of my life since I was born; whether I was at the ball field watching my brothers or playing myself. I guess it was in my blood; my dad was a coach and now both my brothers are coaches. I just love sports and watching sports.”
Chaney said the best part about being head coach “is being able to lead a great group of young ladies that have worked hard day in and day out.”
Chaney takes over a program led since 2003 by Scott Hill who amassed an overall 308-123-1 record. Hill and Chaney took the program to new heights by capturing a first-ever Region 23 Tournament title in 2010 followed by a first MACJC State Championship in 2011.
She was also part of a winning program as a player, as she helped lead the 2004 and 2005 Lady Warrior softball squads to MACJC Central Division titles en route to overall records of 26-14 and 34-5, respectively. She also garnered NJCAA All-American, All-Region 23, and MACJC All-State and All-Division honors in the process.
Despite the success she achieved as a player and coach, Chaney does not feel any added pressure to succeed as head coach.
“Yes, the pressure is there to succeed and win championships, but it is not because I won as a player and assistant coach,” Chaney remarked. “The pressure is there because that is what I put on myself. I want to be the best in everything that I do. The championships that I have won in the past as a player and assistant coach are special in their own way, but to win one as a head coach would be really special for me and for the group of young ladies that worked hard to earn that championship.”
Although she stopped short of predicting a championship for the 2013 Lady Warriors, Chaney said she is “excited” about this year’s squad, especially following a successful fall campaign.
“We went 5-0 in the fall but most importantly I saw us get better from game one to game five,” said Chaney. “We started practice one working on fundamentals and I feel like when week six practice was over, we were not taking baby steps anymore…we were doing what we needed to do and getting our best reps in. Fall was a good evaluation helping me know who needs to be put in certain situations and the adjustments that we need to make during the game. Fall competition was not only for the team but it was for me also being a first-year head coach, as I got to learn some game management that I will use in the spring.”
“This team has worked hard day in and day out,” she said. “They have bought in to my philosophy and what I expect every day. I have told them we might not have the most talented team but nobody will out work us, and ultimately our hard work will catch up with the other team’s talent. We have a lot of depth that we have not had in past years and the players know that the starting roles are wide open and that they have to bring their best every day to get that starting role or keep that starting role.”
Their work ethic and attitude is what Chaney likes best about her first group of Lady Warriors.
“I am most impressed with how hard this team works and the unselfishness of each player,” she said. “This team is a very close-knit group that is like a band of sisters working day in and day out to accomplish one goal, and that is to win a championship.”
She said her team’s major strengths include depth - as previously mentioned- and speed.
“You can’t coach speed and I think we have a lot of overall speed that we will be able to do a lot of things with. Our speed is not only going to help us offensively but defensively as well. We are making plays defensively that we would not be able to do without speed and instincts.”
And what type team can fans expect this season?
“Our fans should expect a team that is scrappy and plays hard game in and game out,” she said. “We will be very aggressive and take chances, but at the same time play the game the way it should be played. We will use ‘small ball’ when needed and use our speed to make things happen.”
Sophomore team members and their respective high schools include pitchers Mary Sanders of Adams Christian Academy and Tenna Patterson of Lexington (Ala.); infielders LaJoya Griffin of Philadelphia and Dakota Vowell of Neshoba Central; and outfielders Marlee Massey and AJ Peeler, both of Neshoba Central
Freshmen players and their respective high schools include infielder/pitcher Amber McBroom, Brandon; infielders Kaylin Hopkins of Louisville, Lindsey Beard of Clarkdale, Malauri Robinson of Enterprise, Ty Buckley of Neshoba Central and Hayley Stevens of Union; utility player Laken Fulcher of Nanih Waiya; and outfielders Casey Cherry of Union, Kristen Chipley of Leake Academy and Morgan Porter of Enterprise.
Student assistants include Jordan Clearman, Eden McGee and Katherine Upchurch, all of Neshoba Central, and Sam Evans of Union.
Serving her first year as assistant coach is Courtney Nunn, a former standout pitcher at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba and Mississippi College.
Nunn’s responsibilities include working with pitchers and outfielders. She will also call pitches during the game and make in-game adjustments when needed.
Chaney said Nunn’s experience and knowledge is a big asset to the Lady Warrior program.
“Coach Nunn’s pitching knowledge has helped me tremendously,” Chaney said. “When I was hired, I wanted to find someone to take over pitching and run with it. I feel like she has done a good job of communicating with these young ladies and helping them understand me and what it takes to get to the next level. I am pleased to have her and know she will do a great job and preparing our pitchers for opening day and throughout the season.”
Chaney said she is also appreciative of the various improvements made to the softball complex.
“I am pleased with facility improvements; however, I feel like we have a lot more that we need to do for recruiting, especially since the state has opened up. But I love our field and its location…and we plan to do more improvements when possible. We have done some fundraising this year and plan to keep doing them to help us with our various projects, which includes a dressing room for our young ladies.”
For more information on ECCC’s fast-pitch softball program, contact Coach Kristin Chaney, 601-635-6301 or call toll free, 877-462-3222, ext. 301. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
East Central Community College’s Jaianah Matthew (24) attempts a difficult shot while pressured by Kaylen Hughes (23) of Jones County Junior College Monday night in the Brackeen-Wood Physical Education Building on the Decatur campus. Matthew tallied 18 points in helping lead EC to a 77-67 win over the Lady Bobcats in a key MACJC South Division battle. Matthew is a 5-8 sophomore guard from Arkansas High School in Texarkana, Ark.
Xzandra Dowd poured in 33 points and led East Central Community College’s Lady Warriors to a 77-67 win over Jones County Junior College Monday night in the Brackeen-Wood Physical Education Building on the Decatur campus.
Dowd, a 5-8 sophomore guard from Neville (La.) High School, also pulled down a team high 10 rebounds and helped East Central snap a four-game skid to improve to 5-12 overall and 2-4 in the MACJC South Division under first-year head coach Crandal Porter.
Also scoring for EC were Jaianah Matthew of Arkansas High School in Texarkana, Ark., 18; Jakela Johnson of West Jones, 12; Tynesia Mickens of Noxubee County, five; Nakia Miller of Louisville and Taylor Brister of Lawrence County, four each; and Ellen Black of Scott Central, one.
Caitlyn Spane poured in 19 points to lead the Lady Bobcats who dropped to 8-6 and 3-3.
EC held a 31-30 advantage at halftime.
In the men’s game, the Warriors were outscored 90-71 and fell to 1-16 and 1-5 under seventh-year head coach Maurice Bowie.
Bobby Wrench, a 6-5 sophomore forward from Columbus led EC with 16 points.
Other point makers were Chris Rhoney of West Lauderdale, 15; Aquill Baynard of Elsik High School in Houston, Tex., nine; Walter Evans of Hattiesburg and Tyler Anderson of Carver Military Academy in Chjcago, seven each; TeJiminon Leatherwood of Northridge (Ala.) High School and Jamere Eichelberger of Louisville, six each; and Ghafton Owens of Harrison Central, two.
Jones was led by Donta Pittman’s 13 points. The Bobcats improved to 13-3 and 5-1.
The Warriors trailed 50-46 at the break.
ECCC squads travel to Pearl River Community College Monday, Feb. 4, Game times are 5 and 7 p.m. on the Poplarville campus.
The Lady Warriors and Warriors host Hinds Community College Thursday, Feb. 6. Women’s action begins at 6 p.m. followed by the men’s contest at 8 p.m. in Brackeen-Wood.
Tryouts for the 2013 East Central Community College men’s soccer team will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13 on the Decatur campus, announced Coach Kenneth Thompson.
Activities begin at 2 p.m. on the Warrior soccer field.
Thompson said participants will need to provide their own equipment, cleats, shin guards, etc.
“Prospective players will also need to sign a waiver before trying out,” Thompson said. “It is also recommended that they visit our Web site (www.eccc.edu) and complete a prospective player questionnaire prior to tryouts, if possible. The questionnaire is located on the front page of the soccer section.”
For more information, contact Coach Kenneth Thompson, 601-635-6370 or call toll free, 877-462-3322, ext. 370. His e-mail address is email@example.com.