This is a big time of the year for the Ackerman fastpitch softball team.
The Lady Indians do not have a slowpitch team in the fall, rather they play volleyball so it takes away reps from the fastpitch team.
Ackerman softball coach Mike Brown and his squad compete in the high school summer fastpitch softball league at the Starkville Sportsplex.
The Lady Indians played Tuesday night and beat Noxapater 14-0.
"Getting to play in the summer for us may be a little different than a lot of people," Brown said. "We have volleyball in the fall instead of slowpitch. I think having this experience and our practices in the summer help us offset some of the practice and games we miss when we are in volleyball season. You are getting to work on defense during (the slowpitch season) so that's what we use this for."
Ackerman is coming off an 9-11season and missing the playoffs. Brown makes this a requirement for his team and assumes his girls are eager and happy to play.
"I really don't know," Brown said of his girls liking the summer league. "I don't ask them. It's a requirement. I know some coaches don't require their kids to be here. We only have three at the most who play travel ball so if we are going to compete at all or have any kind of edge we have to do things like this."
For Brown, he really likes this league because he can get some extra work with his pitchers and catchers.
"It helps our pitchers and catchers," Brown said. "We are looking to get sharper in with our battery this year. It helps us get more reps, more live reps and reps with runners on base for our catcher. Pitchers get to pitch and they get to compete with each other in games. They rarely get complete games with a three-lady staff like we have."
Junior Emily Robinson is one of those pitchers he is excited about. She threw a lot last season and got the start on Tuesday. She was throwing hard and had a lot of movement on her pitches.
Brown was impressed with her performance.
"I thought she threw harder than I have ever seen her (Tuesday)," Brown said. "I will say she is throwing the ball three or more miles faster. She has a lot of movement on her ball. I thought she looked really good."
Ackerman has not added any new players but Brown isn't to worried about that. He has a good eye on them.
"I coach our 12 and under team in town in Ackerman," Brown said. "Most of those kids are going to have a chance to make our junior varsity team. I have been coaching them since they were 7-years-old. There are a handful of pretty good athletes in that group that will be able to help us. They won't help us immediately but they will give us some JV depth."
The Lady Indians are scheduled to play more games at the Starkville Sportsplex this summer and also play some games away from the park on their own time.
(Editor's Note: This is a story in a series highlighting high school softball teams participating in the league at the Starkville Sportsplex. Other teams are scheduled to be featured throughout the summer.)