Starkville loses twinbill in softball to Kosciusko
Two one-run, heart-breaking losses could be enough to crush the spirit of some coaches and players.
Not the case with the Starkville High School Lady Yellowjacket softball team.
Despite dropping 7-6 and 4-3 decisions to Koscuisko at home on Thursday, Starkville coach Lisa Spencer found reasons to be encouraged.
With a few adjustments, Spencer believes things could begin to turn around for her squad this season.
"I saw a lot of positive things and some things to work on," Spencer said. "We've got to keep the bats hot and we need to start at the beginning. That first inning is crucial for us and that's been our story for a while. If we can come out with hot bats, I think we can play a whole game."
After falling behind in both games, the Lady Jackets battled back to tie during the action.
In the second game, Kosciusko took a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning before Starkville scored three runs to even it up.
Jonissa Buchanan reached second base on a throwing error to begin the frame, then scored on a single by Shanell Johnson. Johnson came across the plate on a triple by Ty Ringo, then Ringo came home on an error.
The visiting Lady Whippets did scratch out another run in the fifth inning, while the Lady Jackets left two runners on base in their half of the frame and ran out of time. The second game only lasted five innings.
Even though Starkville couldn't complete the comeback in either game, Spencer credited the players for their fight.
"They didn't give up and I'm proud of them," Spencer said. "I see improvement. The beginning of the game is the only thing."
Shanell Johnson, a ninth grader, had a pair of singles in the second game to go along with two singles in the first game for the Lady Jackets and is one several underclassmen contributing for Spencer.
"Two of my younger kids are stepping up like Iyuana Clark, an eighth grader, and Shanell," Spencer said.
The other base hits in the second game were one single each by Verlyncia Leonard, a sophomore, and Shareda Brown.
Third baseman Nicole Hatchett, an eighth grader, made a nice catch to rob Koscuisko of a base hit in the fourth inning of the second game and had a triple to get the rally started in the first game.
Kosciusko 7, Starkville 6
The Lady Whippets scored the first six runs before the Lady Jackets came back to tie the first game in the fifth inning.
Hatchett's triple drove in Ta'dashea Johnson and Ringo for two of those runs.
Kosciusko ended up scoring the winning run in the seventh to take the win.
Buchanan added a double to the hits by Shanell Johnson and Hatchett, while Reonee Clark had a single and a double, and Ta'dashea Johnson and Ringo had one single each.
Ta'dashea Johnson, a transfer from Columbus, was the pitcher in both games.
"She did a wonderful job for us," Spencer said. "She's an all around good player."
Starkville (0-4) is scheduled to play at the East Webster Tournament on Saturday at the Starkville Sportsplex.