Starkville Academy shortstop Mary Austin Barber, left, waits for a throw at second base against Central Academy Thursday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Starkville Academy entered Thursday afternoon with a lot of confidence and a chance to grab the first win of the season.
The Lady Volunteers came unraveled in the latter innings and fell to Central Academy 12-1 in five innings at Lady Volunteer Field.
The Lady Vikings scored two in the top of the first aided by Sadie Lindsey's infield RBI single.
They added four more in the second inning to make it 6-0, highlighted by Paige Buchanan's two-run triple.
Freshman Karlie Lockhart got the start in the circle for SA (0-3), just as she did in the first game. She was pulled after 1.1 innings. She gave way to senior Mary Austin Barber.
"(Karlie) just didn't have it (Thursday) so I brought in Mary Austin and she did a good job for the first few innings," SA head coach Kayla Mosley said. "She wore down and that's going to happen. She kept us in the game."
Barber stopped the bleeding and gave her team a chance. With two outs in the bottom of the third with runners on first and second, Barber delivered a double to right field to score freshman Adrienne Futral to make the score 6-1.
Sophomore Lauren Ware was cut down at the plate trying to score from first base.
"It's a rare day when Mary Austin doesn't have a good day at the plate," Mosley said. "She is just a natural hitter. She has a great eye for the ball and just a natural swing. She has come through for us in a lot of situations in the past."
The Lady Vols stranded three runners and only sent three batters to the plate in two innings against CA pitcher Courtney Gaylord who went all five innings.
"We put the bat on the ball a lot more (Thursday) than we did Monday or (Wednesday) so that's encouraging," Mosley said. "We are not sitting up there looking at strike three, we are putting the bat on the ball.
"Anytime you are fortunate enough to have runners on base, you can't leave them sitting out there. Somebody has to make up their mind to be the person to get that job done and come through with a clutch hit."
The Lady Vikings scored one in the fourth on a safety squeeze by Lindsey and scored five in the fifth inning to force the run rule.
Barber did well in the circle until the fifth inning when she showed signs of fatigue. She went 3.2 innings giving up six runs, six walks, one hit and striking out four. Barber may be seeing more time in the circle.
"Her and Karlie both are working hard now," Mosley said. "Mary Austin knows that she is going to probably have to pitch some, and she wants to get the job done. She has started working hard and throwing more."
SA was led by two hits from Barber and two infield singles by Futral.
In the junior varsity game, Central Academy won a 9-8 decision.
The Lady Vols are back at it on Saturday when they host the SA Invitational at the Starkville Sportsplex. They open the event at 9:20 a.m. against East Rankin Academy, which will also be played as a conference game. The tournament is double elimination.
"We are going to have to throw strikes, not put runners on base, limit the number of batters we walk and limit the throwing errors," Mosley said. "We are going to have to score some runs and get a few key hits here and there."
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