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By DANNY P. SMITH
The softball season didn't end the way coach Kayla Mosley and the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers wanted it to last Saturday, but the season was considered to be a success.
Despite finishing with a 16-19 record, Mosley liked the progress made by SA during the season and that's the message she had for the team.
"We did everything we could and I'm proud of them," Mosley said. "I think we all grew, me as a coach and them as players, throughout the season. I couldn't have asked for a better group of girls to be my first team."
The Lady Vols were led by five seniors and had a very solid pitcher in the circle in Julianne Jackson.
Mosley was confident in giving the softball to Jackson every game.
"Julianne was a very special player," Mosley said. "I'm proud of the way she pitched and the way all of the team played. I do wish we could have gone a little farther, but I'm proud of the progress we did make."
Despite battling tendinitis on Saturday, Jackson worked all three of the games for Starkville Academy at the Class AAA-District II Tournament at Jackson Prep.
The Lady Vols defeated defeated Prep in the first game 3-2, but lost an 11-1 decision to Copiah Academy and a 19-3 game to Presbyterian Christian.
Against Prep, Starkville Academy scored one run in the first, one in the fourth and one in the seventh.
The offense was led by Adrienne Futral, who had five hits for the day.
"She has done well in the past couple of games," Mosley said of Futral. "She's been getting some slaps and bunts down. She is so quick and is figuring out how to run them out."
Futral had two singles against Prep with an RBI, while Megan Picard and April Burney had three singles each, Lauren Ware clubbed a pair of doubles with one RBI, and Emily Gregory had a single and a double. Burney also drove in a run.
In the loss to Copiah, Futral had two more singles, while Jackson and Ware had one single each.
Picard had two singles with an RBI, while Futral and Jackson had one single each against Presbyterian Christian.
Futral, who was only an 8th grader last season, is one of five Lady Vol starters returning in 2012 and Mosley is anxious to get to work with those players.
"We have some talented players returning," Mosley said. "Some of the other junior varsity players can really be softball players and I'm excited to really get in here early next year and work with them on the fundamentals that I really didn't get a chance to do with these girls."
The biggest hole to fill will be in the circle with the departure of Jackson, but Mosley has identified a potential hurler in 8th grader Karlie Lockhart.
"We're going to miss Julianne, but Kylie Lockhart has the tools and athletic ability to be a pitcher one day," Mosley said.