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By DANNY P. SMITH
Starkville Academy's Megan Picard could choose to feel down about batting sixth in the softball lineup.
Picard considers the opportunity to help the Lady Volunteers in that part of the batting order to be very important.
"When I started batting down in the order, I was kind of disappointed in myself, then I realized that there's a purpose for everything," Picard said. "If everybody in front of me gets on base, I can be there to help get them in as much as I can."
Picard's contribution was valuable on Saturday as Starkville Academy defeated Presbyterian Christian 3-2 in the first game of a doubleheader at the Starkville Sportsplex.
With the Lady Vols already leading 1-0 in the first inning, Picard had a two-run single on a 3-2 count to increase the margin to 3-0.
"We try to bunt her a lot to have some good speed from the right side, but she came through with a big hit and I'm proud of the girls for getting that one," Starkville Academy coach Kayla Mosley said.
Picard points to the work off the pitching machine and the advice taken from her coach as helpful in delivering in the first-inning RBI situation.
"I just choked up on the bat like coach said and I was already ready and prepared for it," Picard said. "I just kept my head in and watched the ball.
"We hit off the pitching machine every single day and it's coming off the pitching machine faster."
After the Lady Vols established the lead, pitcher Julianne Jackson made it stand.
Even though Jackson gave up one run in the sixth and one more in the seventh, she was pretty much in control during the game. Jackson scattered seven hits and recorded five strikeouts.
Mosley continues to be proud of how Jackson competes, but would like to see the offense score more for run support. Starkville Academy left seven runners on base.
"She gets better every inning, but we've got to find a way to score," Mosley said. "We can't leave runners on like that. We hit the ball well, just right at them. As long as we hit the ball hard, we'll be fine."
Picard and Jackson had a pair of singles for the Lady Vols, while April Burney, Adrienne Futral, Nikki Ford and Megan Aucoin had one single each.
With a 13-3 victory in the second game, Starkville Academy improved its overall record to 8-6 and hosts Oak Hill on Monday.
Starkville Academy 13,
Presbyterian Christian 3
The Lady Vols once again jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but were able to add to their advantage unlike in the first game.
Starkville Academy scored five more runs in the second inning, two in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Presbyterian Christian got a two-run home run in the third inning and scored one more time in the fourth.
Mary Austin Barber fell a home run short of hitting for the cycle with a single, double and triple for the Lady Vols, while Jackson had a double and two singles, Ford added a double and single, Lauren Ware and Aucoin had two singles each and Burney chipped in a single.