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It would have been easy for Starkville Academy pitcher Julianne Jackson to sit out the rest of Monday's softball game after suffering a lower leg injury in the fourth inning.
When it came to playing against rival Oak Hill, Jackson was determined not to let her teammates or coaches down.
Jackson was effective down the stretch by throwing three shutout innings and only gave up two more hits in those frames as the Lady Vols defeated the Lady Raiders 10-6.
"We all knew that Oak Hill is a pretty big rival for us and we had the mindset that we were going to beat them," Jackson said.
It wasn't clear between the fourth and fifth innings if Jackson was going to be able to return after getting hurt in a rundown play between third base and home plate.
Jackson got taped up and went back out to finish the outing.
"When she hurt her ankle, I thought I hate the young lady is hurt and I hope she's not hurt bad, but this would be a big win if we could get it," Oak Hill coach Marion Bratton said. "But I'll be if she didn't come back out tougher than ever. She's tough and threw a lot of ballgames last year. She's seasoned and she can play for me."
Starkville Academy coach Kayla Mosley has only coached Jackson for 15 games, but has been around long enough to know how special she is.
It didn't surprise Mosley to see Jackson go back to the circle for the fifth inning.
"She's a competitor," Mosley said. "She's not going to let something like that bother her or get to her. She's going to come back and compete inning after inning and we count on her to that."
Jackson retired the Lady Raiders in order three innings and only had one bad frame, giving up six runs on four hits in the third.
Although she hated to give up the runs and the lead, Jackson was confident the Lady Vols could come back from the 6-4 deficit.
"I'm pretty much comfortable and know we are going to come back," Jackson said. "Our team realizes we need to come back. I have confidence in my team. They are backing me up and I have to trust them to know we need to clean this up and do better. They know what to do."
Starkville Academy scored three runs in the third to regain the advantage at 7-6. The big blow was a two-run single by Mary Austin Barber.
The Lady Vols added one run in the fourth and two more in the fifth while Jackson was shutting down the Lady Raiders.
Starkville Academy jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and Mosley could tell her squad wasn't treating it as just another game. Oak Hill won a 4-1 decision in West Point earlier this season.
"In the first game, we made a lot of errors," Mosley said. "We came back out here and played solid against them (Monday).
"Our girls were pumped up for this one, I could tell. They came out hitting. We didn't make any mistakes in the field. Julianne got hit a little bit, but I think we bounced back good. They are a good hitting team, but we came back and hit good too."
Barber had three singles to lead the 10-hit attack for the Lady Vols, who improved to 9-6 overall. Megan Picard added a pair of singles, Nikki Ford had a double, while Jackson, Adrienne Futral, Lauren Ware and Megan Aucoin chipped in one single each.
Starkville Academy, which stands 2-1 in Class AAA-District 2, travels to Parklane Academy today, then returns home to play East Rankin Thursday.