As Starkville High honored its 2010 slow pitch softball seniors Tuesday, Lady Yellowjackets head coach Lisa Spencer couldn't help but see the moment as bittersweet.
For Spencer, the last few years with Reonee Clark, Chanel Williams, Shanice Campbell, Tiyuanna Ringo, Ty'keyia Davis, and Shareda Brown had developed a family-like relationship that was now closing a chapter and moving on.
"I've gone to church with many of them, I've known their parents, I've known them since they were real little," said Spencer. "But this relationship goes beyond the fences here, it's about life."
As the six Lady Jackets seniors bid farewell to their SHS softball careers, they can do so with the remembrance of successful times between the lines in Starkville.
Four of them, Clark, Campbell, Ringo, and Brown, were a key part of the Lady Jackets 2007 district championship run.
All six are a part of the team that Spencer has said in the past "is one of the most talented groups" she has ever coached.
"I still stand by that," said Spencer. "We've had some ups and downs, but all of them have played a significant role on this team. We've had some knock-down, drag-outs, but it has all been in love. They are just a great group of student-athletes."
To back that claim, Spencer also cited her seniors' schoolwork.
"They are all superstars in the classroom," said Spencer. "I'm real proud of that, and I have no doubt that they will all continue to go on and be successful."
Aside from the seriousness of high school softball and academic success, Spencer says there is much more that she'll miss from her times with Clark, Williams, Campbell, Ringo, Davis, and Brown.
"There are plenty of inside jokes," said Spencer with a laugh. "We call them 'Hanna Montana' moments."
As part of Tuesday's senior festivities, the Lady Jackets also hosted Noxapater for a pair of varsity games. The Lady Tigers defeated Starkville 21-6 just prior to the
recognition of the SHS seniors, but the loss didn't discourage Spencer or the Lady Jackets who look to finish out the year strong.
"We've still got a couple of games left," said Spencer. "I still believe in them and I still think it's in them. I'm going to pull until the last game."