By JOEL COLEMAN
Most Senior Nights are composed of a ceremony and one final game in front of the home crowd.
For the eight Starkville High School senior fastpitch softball players, their special evening was instead given a literal red-carpet treatment.
After rains washed away the Lady Jackets' final contest scheduled for Thursday, Starkville moved its senior celebration into the school gymnasium where Jonissa Buchanan, Reonee' Clark, Tierra Tillman, Shanice Campbell, Ty Ringo, T'Keyia Davis, Shareda Brown and Kernisha Shelton were honored.
"All this is amazing," said Tillman of the ceremony. "Just to see everyone supporting us and coming out, it's just so emotional."
Tillman and her teammates weren't the only ones touched by the event. SHS head coach Mimi Milling also had mixed feelings about seeing her players move on.
"Most of these girls started with me," said Milling. "Out of the eight, four started with me, one joined last year and three were here before me.
"But this is hard on me. It's not only hard on me as a person, but it's hard as a coach. This is going to kill me losing this senior class."
Milling's emotions were widely replicated on Thursday. Virtually every SHS senior said they'd miss their time as a Lady Jacket.
"I'm really going to miss Starkville High and my girls I've been playing with for years," said Ringo.
Buchanan echoed pretty much the same words.
"Since I've been playing, I've really enjoyed playing with the younger girls and trying to help them get better," said Buchanan. "I'll miss everybody."
Davis felt the same way as her classmates.
"We've come such a long way and we're all like sisters," said Davis. "I'll miss everyone a lot."
Other seniors indicated they'd now begin focusing on the next step of their softball careers.
"I've been playing softball for the school since the 7th grade," said Campbell. "I plan to keep playing in the summertime."
Brown hopes her high school career leads her to more softball as well.
"I hope to use everything I've learned here and take it with me as I try to play college ball," said Brown.
One SHS senior, Shelton, didn't get the chance to play this season due to injury. That didn't stop her from playing her part as a Lady Jacket however.
"I cheered my ladies on and enjoyed playing the years I did play," said Shelton. "We all had our ups and downs but we stayed together as a team."
With their time as Lady Jackets now up, at least one senior will be keeping an eye on the state of the SHS program going forward.
"Now it's time for the younger ones to step up and take responsibility as we go on with our lives," said Clark.