It was an emotional end to the slow-pitch softball season for the Starkville Lady Yellowjackets on Tuesday.
With the 9-5 loss to the Columbus Lady Falcons, the quest of reaching the Class 6A playoffs came up just one game short for Starkville.
The Lady Jackets, who finished the season 7-11, fell behind 9-1 before battling back to put pressure on the Lady Falcons.
"I'm proud that they did not give up," Starkville slow-pitch coach Lisa Spencer said. "They played a little tense at first, but we did a lot of things right and a lot of good things."
Columbus jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, then the Lady Jackets had an opportunity to tie or take the lead in their half of the first, but left the bases loaded.
After the visitors extended the margin to 4-0 in the fourth, Starkville answered with a run in the fourth when Verlyncia Leonard walked and scored.
The Lady Falcons added five runs in the fifth and put the Lady Jackets in a 9-1 hole.
Starkville scratched out a run in the fifth when Reonee Clark doubled and scored, then had its best offensive inning of the game with three runs in the sixth. Shareda Brown doubled and came home when Shannon Lanier reached on an error. Ty'Keyia Davis singled and Shanele Johnson drove in two runs with a single.
Johnson led the 11-hit attack for the Lady Jackets with a triple and two singles, while Clark added a single to her double. Both players are seniors.
"The seniors stepped up and played ball like they were supposed to," Spencer said.
It was the final game for several seniors and Clark seemed to take the loss especially hard, spending some extra time to be consoled by Spencer in the outfield following the game.
Spencer had a difficult time speaking about the seniors and shed a tear or two.
"It's bittersweet," Spencer said. "We've got a good group of seniors and I wish them all the best. I've had five years with them. Some of them started with me."