Young is the one word that comes to mind for coach Kayla Mosley when the Starkville Academy softball team is mentioned.
The Lady Volunteers lost five seniors from last year's squad and have five 7th graders, two 8th graders and three freshman on the squad.
Starkville Academy has been participating in the Starkville Parks and Recreation high school summer softball league. Private schools play fastpitch softball in the fall so there has been some time since the Lady Vols finished their 2011 season.
"We do have a long layover, but we start practicing during school in March," Mosley said after an 8-2 loss to Russell Christian Academy on Thursday. "This (league) and this game experience helps us so much. We get to play games before they matter. I think it's great that Starkville Parks and Rec has got this up again this year. We really missed it last year."
Mosley's approach to the summer is real simple and something she hopes pays off in the long run.
"Our focus is to get these young girls into some games," Mosley said. "I have five 7th graders that have never played in this league before and trying to get some experience under their belt. They are still learning a lot. (We've) got a young team all together. (We're) working on the little things – the fundamentals."
The biggest hole to fill for SA will actually be in the circle as pitcher Julianne Jackson who graduated this spring.
Freshman Karlie Lockhart has been getting the majority of the time in the circle this summer and is someone Mosley is excited about.
"(Lockhart is) throwing strikes and giving us a chance," Mosley said. "I don't need her to throw a hundred miles an hour or throw six different pitches. I just want her to put it over the plate and give our defense a chance to back her up. She has been working hard and she has gotten better already this summer. She wants that job and she wants to get better at it."
Some of the 7th graders may have to start right away. Mosley is really excited about the potential they have and singled out shortstop Milla Davis and Mattie Peterson as two of the ones she has an eye on.
"Those 7th graders are a feisty bunch; they are go getters and they really want to learn to play this sport," Mosley said. "I'm excited about all of them all around. We are going to take our licks here and there, but they are learning with every game and every pitch."
SA opens up its season on July 30.