Archive - Aug 2011 - Sports Article
COLUMBUS - Oak Hill finally hit the grid-iron Thursday night, their first taste of action at the Heritage Academy jamboree.
"We did about as expected," first year head coach Benjie Merchant said.
The Raiders lost to Bessemer Academy (Ala.) 14-0 in the first game and then lost 13-0 against Tuscaloosa Christian, both among the best in the Alabama Independent Schools Association.
"We played a real good team in Bessemer," Merchant said."We were playing out of our league. They had athletes everywhere. I think once we get back in our own league we'll be okay."
In their first game in nearly a week, the Oak Hill Lady Raiders softball team held on for as long as they could Thursday night before finally breaking in the fifth inning and falling to Canton 5-0 in district play.
Oak Hill falls to 5-4 on the year.
The first five innings lasted nearly an hour and both teams had failed to score a run.
Canton finally broke the deadlock in the home half of the fifth inning scoring four unearned runs on two hits and three Oak Hill defensive errors. They added another unearned run in the sixth inning.
West Point will be one of 10 teams on hand Saturday at Mississippi Stateâ€™s Davis Wade Stadium to provide a little preview of whatâ€™s to come for the 2011 football season.
Hosted by New Hope High School, the jamboree kicks off at 11 a.m. when the two-time defending 5A state champions Green Wave take on Louisville. The two teams, once long time rivals on the field, havenâ€™t met since 2006.
Head coach Chris Chambless said it gives the team a chance to get accustomed to the game-day operations throughout the season.
The season doesn't officially get under way for another week, but Oak Hill Academy will get their first taste of competition Thursday afternoon when they play in the Heritage Academy Jamboree in Columbus.
The Raiders have been working tirelessly under new head coach Benjie Merchant for the last two weeks, getting in shape while understanding the playbook. Merchant says the boys are ready to hit somebody else instead of themselves.
"Yea, I think we're ready to go," he said. "I just don't know how much will power we have, but we'll find out after Thursday."
Hebron Christian School moved back to the win column on Monday after a 4-1 victorty over Central Academy to start district play.
Holly Hudson and Beverly Blake each had a pair of hits and a run to lead the Lady Eagles who are coming off a tough loss to Heritage Academy last Thursday.
Hudson singled in the first inning and would later score on a single by Chloe Tapley following a throwing error. The Lady Eagles doubled their lead in the second after Brooke Griffin walked and later scored.
There is no question this has been a hot summer.
With football practice is in full swing for area teams, both players and coaches are doing their best to try and beat the heat.
So far this preseason, three players have died from heat related illnesses in the southeast, two in Georgia and one in South Carolina, where temperatures and heat index have risen to triple figures.
Local high schools that are preparing for the upcoming season have dealt with these issues in a different ways.
Oak Hill 11-0 Central Academy
Maime Allen (4-2) threw a no-hitter and struck out eight in the opener Saturday morning. Nine Lady Raiders finished with a hit in the game.
Oak Hill 3-1 East Rankin
OH used the small ball tactic effectively in the win. Maegen Ellis and Anna Lummus had the only hits for the Lady Raiders.
Leake Academy 10-1 Oak Hill
RBI singles by Anna Lummus and Kim Kelly weren't enough to keep Winston from handing Oak Hill their first loss of the year Thursday, 3-2 to open district play.
The loss snaps a three game winning streak for the Lady Raiders to start the season.
Winston opened up the scoring early, scoring three runs, two unearned on starting Oak Hill pitcher Maime Allen. Allen gave up just two hits and struck out four batters in her first loss of the season. She also walked four.
The Lady Raiders responded with a a pair of RBI singles by Lummus and Kelly in the third and fourth inning.
Oak Hill has been in fall practice a little over a week and head coach Benjie Merchant has already seen some growth with his new team.
"We're progressing, it's slow but we're getting there," he said. "We're having to change the mentality a little bit and get them used to the heat and get them used to hitting and tackling. That would be our short fall right now, so we've been hitting that hard in practice."
West Point knows coming into the 2011 season they are the best in 5A.
After all, theyâ€™ve won the last two state championships. So how do they stay motivated to win another?
Head coach Chris Chambless says his guys knows what is expected of them.
â€śItâ€™s one thing I can never complain about them and thatâ€™s their work ethic,â€ť he said. â€śThey know there is no room for laziness and know that itâ€™s a privilege to play. They work hard everyday and know there is a sacrifice to it. If theyâ€™re going to step on the field, theyâ€™re going to give it 100 percent.â€ť