Sports column: Random thoughts and some praise for local athletes
Published 4:05 am Sunday, March 26, 2023
This has been a strange few days from a sports standpoint. After a nice, relaxing lull for spring break, Warren County’s high school teams returned to town and mashed on the gas this week.
By my count we’ve had two golf tournaments, two tennis matches, three softball games, a half-dozen baseball games and a track meet in the span of four days, along with a weather-related schedule reshuffle.
The world has felt like a blur at times. So for this week’s column I’m going to quick-hit a few topics that caught my eye as we’re zipping down the expressway of life:
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• The spring sports schedule has a weird structure. Baseball, softball and golf have a month to go in their regular seasons after spring break, but tennis and track are almost to their respective postseasons. It’s odd that spring break marks the halfway point for some sports, and the beginning of the end for others.
• Late March and early April is golf season in Warren County. Besides the weekly tournaments at Clear Creek every Wednesday, fundraiser events become a local pasttime.
Warren Central’s Vikings Golf 4-Man Scramble begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Vicksburg Country Club. The entry fee is $400 per team or $100 for individuals. Email coach Matt Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org for information or to register.
Next weekend, on March 31, the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary’s Birdie and Bogey For Kids Golf Tournament is at Clear Creek. The event helps the organization raise funds for a half-dozen service projects throughout the year.
The entry fee for the Birdie and Bogey tournament is also is $400 for each four-man team. There is also a 50-50 ball drop, for which balls can purchased for $10 apiece, or three for $25.
For more information on the tournament or to register, visit JAVicksburg.org.
• One of the fun little features on Facebook is the “Memories” tab that pops up every few days. For the past couple of weeks, my Memories have been filled with posts and memes from March 2020, when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the country.
It’s insane to think that in three years we went from normal, to feeling like we were on the brink of the apocalypse, to back to normal. Now, 2020 seems like some sort of bad dream.
• As we noted last week, Warren Central alums Davon Mims and Shane Lewis are among the national leaders in several offensive categories.
Mims, who plays for Mississippi Valley State, will enter this weekend as the NCAA Division I leader in stolen bases, with 25. Lewis, an outfielder for Troy, ranks seventh with 35 RBIs, and is tied for third with 11 home runs.
Another notable player is Alcorn State first baseman Jamaal Green. The Louisiana native is the national leader in batting average, with a .529 mark, and is one of only four Division I players with an average of. 500 or better.
• Warren Central alum Amber Gaston recently concluded her college basketball career at Florida Atlantic University. She is an excellent example of what college sports should be about.
The 6-foot-3 center averaged a modest 6.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in her college career, but played in 121 games over five seasons. Her on-court numbers are only part of what makes her special, though.
The biology pre-med major was named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll — an honor that goes to athletes with a GPA of 3.0 or better — three years in a row, and it’ll likely be four when the 2023 list is announced next month. She graduated in December.
Gaston started her high school career at Warren Central as a role player. She worked hard to improve and became a two-time Vicksburg Post Player of the Year as a junior and senior, and then a five-year contributor on a Division I team. Her athletic ability created an opportunity to further her education, which she took full advantage of.
Amber Gaston is a player and person we can all applaud and be proud of. Her story is a great one, and one that is surely just beginning.
Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at email@example.com