NOTEBOOK: Turf at Smith-Wills plays tricks on Falkner

JACKSON – Wesley Murphy’s first game on artificial turf had its ups and downs.
Falkner’s freshman centerfielder ran down two fly balls on the fast surface at Smith-Wills Stadium in the first inning of Tuesday’s MHSAA Class 1A state championship series game against Nanih Waiya.
Murphy thought he was a step faster. “I guess it was the turf,” he said. “You get a better grip on it.”
In the third inning, the fake turf wasn’t so kind to Murphy. A line drive took a giant hop, sailed over his head and rolled to the fence. The batter, Jeffrey Hemphill, rounded the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
On the play, Murphy slipped on the gravel warning track in an attempt to field the ball. His leg slid under the fence.
“I was watching from the dugout and lost sight of him,” Falkner coach Chip Johnson said. “I thought he was hurt.”
Murphy wasn’t injured.
“I was stuck,” he said, then grinned. “I’ve never had that happen.”
The Eagles, who qualified for the state finals with a Monday win against Greenville St. Joseph, practiced Tuesday morning on Jackson Prep’s artificial turf football field.
“It doesn’t look like it helped us,” said Johnson, whose team lost 15-4 to Nanih Waiya. “It was just a bad day for us.”
Falkner sophomore shortstop Trevor Wilson thought the fake surface was “pretty neat” even though he missed a turf hop in the second inning.
“It was like a trampoline, it had a good bounce,” he said. “Coach hit us some hops (at Prep), but it was nothing like that one.”
Run, stop, run
– Mooreville’s Drew Wheeler hit a home run in the fourth inning of the Troopers’ 6-2 loss to Sumrall. Problem is, nobody knew for sure if it was a homer.
The ball dropped over the lower portion of the two-piece outfield fence.
“The umpire never said anything,” Wheeler said. “I saw everybody had stopped running.”
Everybody but base runner Tyler Moore, who passed teammate Cody Cryder, who had stopped rounding third.
“I didn’t realize I had run by (Cryder),” Moore said. “I thought the ball hadn’t been caught.”
“I thought the outfielder caught it, so I stopped,” Cryder said.
Moore was eventually called out for passing Cryder, giving Wheeler a two-run homer.
“We shouldn’t have passed,” said Mooreville coach Jamie Russell, who argued the call. “Nobody made a call. We didn’t know what to do.”
On the air
– MHSAA officials announced Tuesday that Thursday and Friday’s second-round games at Trustmark Park in Pearl would be available on live stream at
Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593

Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

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