Mid-season updates for High School Sports
Spring break is a week-off for some of the local teams, but a busy slate of games for others. The EAGLE caught up with a few of the local teams, heading into spring break, to see where they’re at heading into the mid-season break.
Lafayette Baseball (5-3)
John Walker is still working on establishing his culture at Lafayette. In his second year as head coach, things are improving, but there’s still work to be done.
“Last year, it was a massive learning curve with the change of how the program operates and the culture that we’re trying to establish. We still have a ways to go – generally it’s a two year process,” Walker said. “We’ve made some big-time strides. Probably the biggest thing for us has been the off-season, weight room stuff. That’s made probably the biggest difference for us as a team.”
Thursday evening, the team lost 4-2 to Olive Branch, giving up four runs in the bottom of the 6th inning to drop their season record to 5-3. It’s a team that’s played really good competition thus far, including two losses to one of the best schools in 6A with South Panola.
Lafayette is a young team and one dealing with two major injuries to seniors. Five regular players for the Commodores are freshman or sophomores, including three of their starting pitchers. Seniors Foster Westbrook and Will Larson have missed games, dealing with a hamstring injury and dislocated shoulder, respectively. Westbrook has pitched but has been unable to hit.
“When we get those two guys back, we’ll have a much better idea of what our offense is really able to do,” Walker said. “We’ve struggled a bit offensively. That’s usually the case with a young team.”
The Commodores will go on the road for spring break, traveling to South to play in the Battle at the Beach Tournament. They’re scheduled to play four games over the course of three days over break.
Oxford Tennis (4-0)
Louis Nash’ Oxford squad swept Tupelo Christian Prep on Tuesday, winning 7-0 to go into the break undefeated on the year. It’s been a relatively dominant season for the Chargers thus far, winning against Newton County 6-1 to end February before the boys won the Pensacola Tournament 6-3 to start this month.
Nash said earlier this month, leading into the Pensacola Tournament that “I have a good idea of who we are against each other but not a clue who we are against other people.” The team has certainly rounded into shape nicely in the short opening-season month.
Unlike the baseball teams, Oxford will get a little time-off during the spring break stretch. There will be two weeks between Tuesday’s win over Tupelo Christian Prep and their next match against Grenada on Mar. 19.
Lafayette Tennis (4-1)
Lafayette suffered their first loss on the season Thursday, falling to Tupelo 2-5 on the road. Head coach Debbie Swindoll said the team has been very deliberate about scheduling tough, non-conference games, playing up a division often, like the game against Tupelo.
“Oh yea. That’s intentional. It’s all about getting better throughout the year. This year is the first year I’ve played Tupelo in a couple of years,” Swindoll said. “Of course, we play Oxford, Northwest Rankin, Hernando. Really, anything I can to get us better going into playoffs.”
Like Oxford, the Commodores won’t have a match over spring break, but they will practice. Swindoll said having these breaks mid-season isn’t ideal. However, she stressed the importance of getting in those tougher matches right before the break – they played three times this past week.
Lafayette will get into more district matches after the game, not playing another varsity match until Mar. 20.
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