The beginning and ending wasn't what the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers were looking for during their softball game against the Magnolia Heights Lady Chiefs Monday afternoon.
From innings two through six, the Lady Vols were pretty good.
Pretty good wasn't enough at the end as Starkville Academy dropped a 6-4 decision to Magnolia Heights at home.
Even though disappointed her Lady Vols weren't on the winning side of things, coach Jessica Dickens was proud that her team competed better than they did in an 8-0 loss to Washington School last week.
"We played a much better game today and I was very proud of them for battling back," Dickens said. "Coming in here against a team like Mag Heights and being down 4-0, it would have been easy to lay down and die. I'm proud of them for not doing that and they hit the ball today. We've been working on it and they came through in the clutch."
The Lady Chiefs scored a pair of runs in the first inning, one in the third and one in the fourth.
Starkville Academy scored its first run at its home field this season when Julianne Jackson came across the plate on a single by Shelby Marsh.
The Lady Vols tied the game with three runs in the sixth. Bailey Wofford and Jackson each singled and scored, then Megan Aucoin reached on a fielder's choice and came home on a single by Megan Jones.
After Magnolia Heights recorded a pair of runs in the seventh, Starkville Academy got back-to-back singles by Megan Picard and Wofford to begin its half of the seventh, but had runners thrown out at third and at the plate to hurt the rally attempt.
"We were trying to get what we could and maybe played too aggressive at times," Dickens said.
Wofford had three singles for the Lady Vols' 10-hit attack, while Jackson added a single and double, and Aucoin, Picard, Marsh, Jones and Mary Austin Barber had one single each.
Jackson struck out four in going the distance pitching-wise for SA.
Dickens was pleased with the pitching of Jackson and seeing her offense do enough to score four runs and tie the game briefly, but said the defense had its lapses.
"We fought back and revealed some character, but we've got to get where we're making the routine plays," Dickens said. "That's got to be a guarantee.
"What's we've done is give (the opponent) something in the first inning or two and we get ourselves in a hole and we're running uphill the rest of the way. We've got to stop doing that."
The Lady Vols (6-7, 0-2) have dug themselves a hole in the Class AAA, Region 1 conference race.
Starkville Academy gets right back on the home field today when it faces non-conference foe, but a rival in Heritage Academy at 4 p.m.
"We're going to keep fighting, keep our heads up and live to play another day," Dickens said.