STATE HALL OF FAME RECIPIENT John Benge (left) is pictured here as he receives his gold medal and crystal plaque
from Mississippi Delta Community College President Dr. Larry Nabors during induction ceremonies Tuesday night.
Greenville native John Benge was inducted into the 2014 Mississippi Community & Junior College Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday night at Hinds Community College's Clyde Muse Center in Pearl. A crowd of several hundred family, friends, and fellow athletes were on hand as the 14 inductees were honored with a banquet and watched them receive gold medals and crystal plaques.
John Benge came to Sunflower Junior College from Greenville High School where he played football, basketball, and ran track.
The 6-foot, two-inch, 190-pound Benge, under the tutelage of Coaches Jim Randall, Jimmy Bellipanni and J.D. Stonestreet, played on two of the better football teams to play back-to-back at SJC.
In his freshman year, the Trojans went 7-3 losing 34-25 to Jones in the Lions Bowl. His sophomore year SJC went 8-1 overall losing only to Southwest Junior College 13-0. That season the Trojans outscored their opponents 215-51 and were selected to play in the first-ever Mississippi Hospitality Bowl in Biloxi. SJC was edged 13-12 by San Angelo Junior College in that game.
For his efforts, Benge was selected as a First Team All-American both his freshman and sophomore years. In 1955 the LA. Times also named him a First Team All-American. He was also a member of the “S” Club both years.
Benge ran track for the Trojans his sophomore year and in the 1955 State Track Meet he took first place in the 440 yard dash and fourth place in the discus. He also anchored the mile relay team that won first place in that meet.
The tall, good looking guy from Greenville was also well liked by his fellow students. He was selected as President of the Freshman Class and was voted Most Handsome both his freshman and sophomore years.
Benge went on to play football for the Mississippi State University Bulldogs during the 1957 and ‘58 seasons and was named an All-Southeastern Conference end his junior year.
After graduating from Mississippi State, Benge coached four years at Tupelo and then returned to his alma mater to coach one year at Greenville. He left coaching to go into the boat business where he sailed and manufactured boats for the next 31 years.
He left the water for dry land in 1993 and went into the trucking business for the next 10 years.He retired in 2003, following the death of his wife, and now lives in Winnsboro, LA.
Four Mississippi Delta Community College athletes were honored Wednesday during Awards Day ceremonies at the college. They are (l. to r.) India Overstreet – Lady Trojan Award, Danny Springer – Male Scholar Athlete Award, Bill McRight – Stonestreet Award, and Kelli Stevens – Female Scholar Athlete Award.
BILL MCRIGHT of Vicksburg, sophomore defensive back for the Mississippi Delta Community College Trojans football team, was presented with the J.D. Stonestreet Award. The Stonestreet Award goes to the male athlete who best exemplifies the qualities of the student athletic at MDCC. These include leadership both on and off the field as well as success in the classroom and on the playing field. This award is the highest honor given to a male athlete by the college.
INDIA OVERSTREET of Hernando, a sophomore guard for the Mississippi Delta Community College Lady Trojans basketball team, was honored with the Lady Trojan Award. This award is the highest presented to a female athlete at MDCC. The award is given based on leadership qualities, work ethic, student performance and citizenship. She is headed to the University of West Georgia where she will major in Marine Biology and play for the Lady Wolves basketball team.
DANNY SPRINGER of Houston, a sophomore first baseman for the Mississippi Delta Community College Trojans baseball team, was presented with the Male Scholar Athlete Award. This award goes to the male athlete with the highest GPA.
KELLI STEVENS of Rolling Fork was honored by being named the Female Scholar Athlete at Mississippi Delta Community College during Awards Day. This award goes to the female athlete with the highest GPA for the year. She is a sophomore member of the Lady Trojans softball team.
The Mississippi Delta Community College Trojans hopes of post-season play were dashed Wednesday as they dropped both games of a double header to Holmes Community College losing game one 9-5 and game two 1-0 in eight innings.
The Trojans fell behind by nine runs in game one as the Bulldogs scored three runs in the first, five runs in the second, and one run in the fourth inning. Delta finally got on the board with two runs in the sixth and two in the seventh (leaving a total of five runners stranded) before adding a single run in the eighth.
Holmes’ nine runs came off seven hits (and seven Trojans’ errors) while MDCC’s five runs came off nine hits. The Bulldogs left seven runners on base while the Trojans stranded 12 runners.
Game two was a pitching duel that saw MDCC sophomore lefthander Devontae Wilson go 6.2 innings without giving up a run. He gave up just two hits while striking out four and walking five before being relieved by Matt Ray who took the game into extra innings before Holmes scored on a fielder’s choice to win the game.
The Bulldogs one run came off just three hits. They had five errors and left five runners on base. The Trojans had six hits with one error and left five runners on the base paths.
The Trojans are now 23-19 overall and 12-12 in the North Division. The two losses drop MDCC from fourth place in the division and ends their chance for post-season play. MDCC has a double header scheduled with South Division foe Southwest Community College Saturday in Summit. Games are at 2:00 and 4:30.
The Mississippi Delta Community College Trojans split a pair of baseball games with the Itawamba Community College Indians at Moorhead Wednesday losing game one 10-7 and winning game two 7-1.
Itawamba scored first in game one with a run in the third inning but the Trojans answered with two runs in the third and took a 4-1 lead with two runs in the fourth inning. The Indians regained the lead in the fifth with five runs off three walks and a grand slam.
Delta regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning scoring two runs to make it a 7-6 affair, but Itawamba exploded for another four runs off six hits in the seventh to take the win. The Trojans used six pitchers in the game and Lane Williams earned the loss going two thirds of an inning and giving up four earned runs on six hits. Tre Hobbs started the game for Delta going four complete and giving up four earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts.
Catcher Chase Palasini led the Trojans at the plate with three hits and an RBI while Carson Crites, Jacob Shempert, and Conner Osborne all had two hits and an RBI apiece. Tyler Mize and Brandon Cummins had RBI hits while Danny Springer added two hits and Jason Berry added one.
The Trojans turned things around in game two with one run in the third, two in the fourth, one in the fifth and three in the sixth inning while holding the Indians to just one run, this coming in the fourth inning.
Paul Carpenter took the win on the mound for Mississippi Delta going 5.2 innings and giving up just one run on four hits while striking out four and walking three batters. The Trojans’ seven runs came off six hits with no errors while the Indians’ one run came off five hits with six errors.
Brandon Cummins, Tyler Mize, Jacob Shempert, and Conner Osborne all had RBI hits while Carson Crites and Jason Berry had a hit each.
The split brings the Trojans’ record to 23-15 overall and their North Division record to 12-8 which leaves them in third place in the division race with division games remaining against Northeast CC on Friday, April 18th, at Booneville and Holmes CC on Wednesday, April 23 at home.
Mississippi Delta Community College sophomore forward Ashanti Spencer of Bentonia was named MVP of the women’s MACJC All-Star basketball game held last Friday at East Central Community College in Decatur.
Spencer poured in a game-high 13 points to lead the North All-Star team to an 81-69 victory over the South All-Stars. Mississippi Delta sophomore guard Krystal Nailer of Shaw was the North’s second high scorer with 11 points.
On the men’s side, MDCC sophomore guard Johnny Rucker of Yazoo City was the second highest scorer for the North team which lost 121-117 in a shootout to the South. Trojan sophomore guard Marquarius Boddie of Memphis scored three points for the North.
MDCC SPORTS HALL OF FAME members for 2014 were inducted during a banquet Saturday night at the J.T. Hall Coliseum. They are (l. to r.) Dr. Reagan Ford (football, baseball 1966-68) of Starkville, Kevin Rogers (baseball 1986-88) of Cleveland, Michel DeJean (baseball 1988-90) of Monroe, LA, Pat Hare (basketball, tennis, track 1979-81) of Aiken, NC, and Bethe Williams Becker (Jimmy Bellipanni Distinguished Trojan Award) of Greenwood.
Dr. Ford is originally from Drew.
Pat Hare is originally from Greenwood and worked for a number of years in Greenville.