Lady Vols begin season at event
Senior pitcher Julianne Jackson returns to fill the circle for Starkville Academy's softball team this season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Starkville Academy softball coach Kayla Mosley knows the importance of having a solid battery in terms of leadership and experience.
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In the fastpitch game, Mosley said a pitcher and catcher shoulders a great deal of the load.
The Lady Volunteers have their starting pitcher back from last season in Julianne Jackson, but are missing a catcher after the departure of Bailey Wofford, last year's only senior.
Finding a replacement for Wofford has been the priority for Mosley in her first season as coach at SA.
"That's going to be a very tough spot to fill," Mosley said. "We've got some young girls stepping up to take that spot. Adrienne Futral is only going to be in the 8th grade and we've been working with her at catcher. She's looking pretty good back there.
"Megan Aucoin (senior), who played third base for us last year has been looking pretty good behind the plate and Shelby Marsh too. We have a lot of people working to fill that spot that Bailey left and hopefully we'll find the right fit."
Even though the search continues for the right catcher, there's no such mystery with Jackson in the circle.
Jackson had most of the work load as a junior and Mosley doesn't see any reason why that won't continue to be the case.
"She can handle it," Mosley said. "Julianne is the kind of pitcher who gets stronger as the day goes on. She likes the work load and the pressure. It's not a big deal in her mind at all. She feeds off that and pitches better as the day goes on so I'm definitely going to put the work load on her."
The load will be great as the Lady Vols begin their season today at the Bayou Academy Tournament in Cleveland.
Starkville Academy has games scheduled against host Bayou Academy at 9 a.m., Deer Creek at 11:20 a.m. and Madison-Ridgeland Academy at 2:50 p.m. in Pool A.
If the Lady Vols can win their pool, they will play the winner of Pool B for the championship at 6:30 p.m.
Mosley expects her SA squad to be tested by the opening-season event.
"Bayou has a good group of girls and MRA is always competitive," Mosley said. "I don't know much about Deer Creek, but from what I've heard talking to some other coaches, they are going to be scrappy and good too. We're not playing a bad team at all (today)."
The Lady Vols have already seen competition in practice, which Mosley believes is a healthy situation.
"Everyone is doing great," Mosley said. "We have girls back from last year and have some young girls coming in giving them a run for their money. It's good to give everyone a run for their money.
"I'm looking forward to (the season starting) and ready to play. It's been a long summer and we're ready to get some games under our belt."