Starkville Academy's Berkery sees encouraging signs in softball loss

Starkville Academy's Caden Cutshall prepares to throw to first base.

Staff Writer

There were some building points that Starkville Academy softball coach Thomas Berkery took from the first game of the season against the Oak Hill Academy Lady Raiders on Monday.

Even though the Lady Volunteers lost a 13-8 decision on the road, Berkery was encouraged with some aspects of the game.

Just the fact that Starkville Academy was able to score eight runs against a traditionally-strong Oak Hill team opened the eyes of some of the Lady Vols.
"I asked them when was the last time you scored eight runs against Oak Hill and they said never," Berkery said. "They played seven innings. I looked at the scores last year and we never played into the seventh inning.

"I'm proud of them. They came out here and got after it. It was the first game with a new coach and a lot of different elements involved. I think they laid it out there."

Starkville Academy took a 3-0 lead in the third inning when Caden Cutshall, Austin Tucker and Carolyne Montgomery all reached and scored.

The Lady Raiders tied the game with three runs in their half of the third, but the Lady Vols regained the advantage with a pair of runs in the fourth. Cutshall and Bailey Carper walked to begin the frame, then Tucker drove in one run with a ground out and Montgomery added an RBI single.

The rough inning for Starkville Academy came in the bottom of the fourth as Oak Hill scored seven times on five hits to take a 10-5 lead.

The Lady Vols got two runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh, but it was not enough as the Lady Raiders added some insurance with three runs in the seventh.

"There were a couple of times I would have liked to have seen a little more grit and battle with two strikes, but that's stuff we'll pick up and they'll understand what I'm looking for and certainly make improvements in those regards," Berkery said.

Starkville Academy had six hits in the game with all of them being singles. Montgomery and Tucker had two singles each.

Anna Rae Taylor had a single and pitched all seven innings for the Lady Vols.

Berkery believes the Starkville High School transfer has a chance to be a big help to the squad.

"She took a campus tour a couple of weeks back," Berkery said of Taylor. "She told us she played softball and obviously we were happy to have her. She came out and competed well. Anytime you ask a girl to throw seven innings, she is going to wear down a little bit.

"She laid it out there and she's going to be a great bat for us too. She hit a ball on a catcher's interference that went out to left field."

Starkville Academy will be right back on the road Tuesday when they make the trip to Winona Christian.