It was fitting that the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers won in senior Mary Austin Barber's final home softball game.
It was fitting that Barber drove in three runs with a double in her final home at-bat for the Lady Vols.
It was fitting that Barber threw a bullet to first base to record the final out of the game for SA.
Barber was sent out in style Thursday afternoon and had plenty to do with the Lady Vols winning a 17-3 decision over Kemper County to close the regular season.
"She's meant a ton and I don't think there has been a game that's gone by this season that I haven't mentioned her name," Starkville Academy softball coach Kayla Mosley said. "She's been a leader and as a shortstop, you are naturally a leader. She's done so well in fulfilling that role. The girls look up to her and she's made a huge impact on this program. I can't wait to see what she does in the future."
The future will take Barber to Belhaven and she looks forward to turning the chapter in her softball career.
As the only senior, Barber has tried to teach and leave something behind for the younger Lady Vols to follow.
"There's a lot of learning experiences with the team, but I'm ready to move on now," Barber said. "I'm ready to start a new life (at Belhaven)."
It did not look early that the final home game would go SA's way as Kemper Academy scored two runs in the first inning.
The Lady Vols sent 14 batters to the plate in the second and scored nine runs on three hits.
After Kemper Academy got one of the runs back in the third, Starkville Academy put up eight more runs in the same frame. Barber's double accounted for three of those runs.
"I wanted her to get up there and hit the ball," Mosley said of Barber's final home at-bat. "(I told her) if you get one close, take it somewhere and she did. I'm happy for her that this is how she got to end it."
Barber had a double and single for the Lady Vols, while Adrienne Futral, Lauren Ware, Sarah Morgan Pellum and Hailey Nason chipped in one single each.
Mosley hopes a victory like the one over Kemper Academy will give SA momentum going into Saturday's 2-AAA South State Tournament at Parklane Academy. The Lady Vols play Jackson Prep first at 12:45 p.m.
Before traveling to McComb for the double-elimination event, Mosley said it's appropriate to savor Thursday's victory.
"We've struggled, so to go out like this will give the girls something to remember," Mosley said. "I'm glad they will remember this."
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