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"But there's coming a day very soon when we'll play a team that will make us pay for making those errors."
That was the message that Starkville Academy softball coach Jessica Dickens had for her team Monday afternoon after the Lady Volunteers rallied for a 7-5 victory against Oak Hill.
Little did the Starkville Academy players know that 24 hours later the words of their coach would come back to haunt them.
The Lady Vols fell into another hole against Pillow Academy on Tuesday, but this time were not able to come back and suffered an 11-6 loss at home.
Pillow Academy came out to score three runs in the top of the first inning and that put Starkville Academy in an immediate position of having to battle from behind.
"That's what we talked about after we came back against Oak Hill and won," Dickens said. "I told them it was a great job of coming back, but once again you put yourself in a position to begin with and there will come a day very soon when we will play a team that will make us pay for doing that and today was that day.
"When you play a team like Pillow, you've got to be ready to go on every pitch, pay attention and know what's going on. Our thing is we've got to be mentally focused and expect the ball to come to us every pitch. We didn't do that (against Pillow)."
The Lady Vols cut the margin to 3-2 by scoring a pair of runs in their half of the first.
After Megan Picard and Bailey Wofford walked, Julianne Jackson singled to load the bases. Picard and Wofford scored on bases-loaded walks to Megan Aucoin and Megan Jones.
The visiting Lady Mustangs used a run of five-straight hits, including a three-run home run, to push their advantage out to 8-2.
Starkville Academy chipped away with two runs in the third and two more in the fourth. Wofford and Jackson had back-to-back doubles in the third, then Jackson scored on a ground out by Lauren Ware. In the fourth, Wofford drove in Mary Austin Barber with a single, while Picard came home on a bases-loaded walk to Aucoin.
That was all of the scoring for the Lady Vols, but Pillow put the game essentially out of reach with one more run in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
"We would chip away at the lead and make a little run at it, then go right back out there and give them some stuff," Dickens said.
Jackson had a double and two singles of the seven hits by SA, while Wofford added a double and a single. Barber and Adrienne Futral had one single each.
The Lady Vols finished up the regular season with records of 18-10 overall and 4-3 in conference play.
Dickens said the team must now look ahead to the playoffs and a fresh start.
"The bottom line is it's a new season now," Dickens said. "The next game we play will be very important and I told the girls, you've got another chance to go out and make some noise and that's what we've been working on all spring, all summer and all fall for.
"I believe we are capable of beating any team in this league. It's a toss up in my opinion of who is the best team."
The bracket for the playoff competition is expected to be learn during a coaches meeting on Friday.