Karlie Lockhart swings the bat for Starkville Academy during Saturday's action of the 10th annual College Exposure Tournament. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers are using any type of tournament situation to their advantage this softball season.
With two games played at the 10th annual College Exposure Tournament, Starkville Academy saw it as an opportunity to keep building for the future.
The Lady Vols got a look at possibly what next year will be like as senior Mary Austin Barber was not able to be with the team because of a commitment out of town.
Starkville Academy softball coach Kayla Mosley was able to see some of her younger players get experience.
"I'm glad the rain held off enough to where we could play some people," Mosley said. "Without Mary Austin here, I'm getting a chance to play some girls who haven't gotten to play a lot in the varsity games. Getting playing time is what we play these tournaments for."
Barber is a shortstop and pitcher for the Lady Vols and probably would have gotten some work in the circle on Saturday.
Without Barber, it allowed freshman Karlie Lockhart to work three innings against the Manchester Academy Lady Mavericks to open the tournament.
Even though Starkville Academy lost a 12-0 decision, Mosley saw it as a plus to have Lockhart pitching through some situations.
"It's good when Karlie can get some innings under her belt and not be in a conference game," Mosley said.
Lockhart had moments when her strikeout pitch was working for her as she sent three Lady Mavericks back to the dugout on strike three.
There was adversity that Lockhart had to pitch under as she gave up three runs to Manchester in the first inning, two runs in the second and seven more in the third.
The Lady Vols had their best chance to score in the third inning.
With two runners on and two outs, Lauren Ware reached on an error and the softball got away from the Lady Mavericks on the infield briefly. SA's Adrienne Futral, who had advanced to third base on the error, was delayed in making the decision to go home. Mosley encouraged Futral to go ahead and try to score, but the Manchester defense recovered in the meantime to tag out Futral at the plate.
"In that situation, I'm going to coach aggressively and I'm going to try to put runs across the plate," Mosley said. "If she had gone on her own, then she probably would have made it, but a little bit of hesitation makes it a close play."
Futral had two infield singles for the Lady Vols.
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