Starkville Academy was hoping for a good start to the season to give its young players a confidence boost.
The Lady Volunteers schedule didn't help and SA fell to the Oak Hill Lady Raiders 18-0 Monday afternoon at Lady Volunteer Field in the first fastpitch softball game of the season.
SA came back to win the junior varsity game 8-4 in the nightcap.
The Lady Raiders (1-0) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after the top of the first. Three walks and passed balls helped in the scoring.
A lineout caught by second baseman Sarah Morgan Pellum, and a 5-3-2 double play ended the half inning for the Lady Vols (0-1).
Oak Hill's Mamie Allen cruised and gave up her first baserunner in the bottom of the third when she walked Pellum.
"We have seen her before, and we knew coming in she was going to throw the ball great," SA head coach Kayla Mosley said. "She did and that's what it takes to win – solid pitcher, solid catcher. We couldn't seem to catch up with her. To win the ballgame, you have to hit the ball and you have to put people on base to score runs."
SA's Mary Austin Barber broke up Allen's no-hitter with an infield single in the fourth inning.
"Mary Austin's game has always been strong," Mosley said. "She continues to improve on that. She gets two steals. She makes things happen and that's the kind of players you need. I am proud of her performance (Monday), and I hope she continues to improve the way she has."
The Lady Raiders blew it open with seven runs in the second inning, highlighted by a RBI single by Meg McBrayer and a two RBI single by Kim Kelly.
Karlie Lockhart went all four innings for SA. She is replacing Julianne Jackson who pitched almost every inning last season for the Lady Vols.
Four walks in the second and poor decisions defensively with runners on did not help SA's cause.
"I have talked to them a lot about that already, keeping the lead runners where they are," Mosley said. "Not giving up a force, stuff like that. You start letting people move on the base paths, that turns into runs. We just have to be more mentally aware. That will come with experience. The more games we play the better I will expect that to get."
SA held Oak Hill scoreless in the third, but a eight-run fourth inning ended the Lady Raiders' scoring.
SA has a long way to go, but that is something Mosley plans on working on in practice.
"First game, we have a lot to learn," she said. "I hope they use these experiences and do learn from them. Don't waste it. We go to practice. You have to break it down to every single situation that could happen and go over it until it's second nature to them. That is not going to happen except in practice and in game experience."
SA is back in action on Wednesday when it hosts Pillow Academy. Varsity is scheduled for 2 p.m. with junior varsity to follow at 3:30 p.m.