The Starkville Academy softball team had seen its share of losses this season, but Saturday they finally had something to celebrate.
The Lady Volunteers beat Washington School 5-4 in four innings in the 10th annual College Exposure Tournament at the Starkville Sportsplex for their first win.
"It is so big for them, especially those younger girls, especially the 7th graders," SA head coach Kayla Mosley said. "I want them to have something to be excited about more than me. This is all for them and for them to get that win and see how excited they are, it makes it all worth it. I'm really excited for them."
The Lady Vols were even missing a player.
Senior starting shortstop Mary Austin Barber was at an exposure combine on the coast.
"She will be upset that she is not here, and I know I'm upset that she is not here to share this with us," Mosley said. "She is a great ball player, but this is a great chance for her to get some exposure."
The Lady Generals took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. SA pitcher Lauren Ware started out a little shaky, but settled down to deliver a good performance.
"Lauren did a great job for us," Mosley said. "Just putting it over the plate and letting us back her up. We didn't put as many runners on base."
The Lady Vols gave Ware some breathing room in the bottom of the first.
Adrienne Futral saw double digit pitches to lead off the half inning and finally walked.
"The leadoff batter in the game or any inning, but especially in the game, really sets the tone," Mosley said. "When you have that kind of at-bat, normally it goes the batter's way. You get in a pitcher's head. The more pitches you see the better chance you have."
Hailey Nason followed her with a walk and Ware reached on an infield single to load the bases.
Karlie Lockhart drove in the first SA run with an infield single and Alex McCafferty also delivered a RBI infield single.
Sarah Morgan Pellum doubled up the middle to drive in two more runs for the Lady Vols.
"Sarah Morgan's hit couldn't have come at a better time," Mosley said. "That is probably her best hit ball all year. I know she was excited and I was excited for her. She hit that ball hard."
Ware continued her good day in the circle and kept the Lady Generals off the scoreboard in the second inning.
Lockhart tripled in SA's final run in the second inning.
"Karlie has been hitting the ball hard," Mosley said. "She has kind of got that inside out swing from the right side and likes to go opposite field with it. She has just been hitting it right at them. I'm glad it finally got in a gap."
Washington scored one in the third and one in the fourth, but Futral recorded the last out when she ran down a fly ball in center field.
"They are getting better and better," Mosley said. "They made fewer mental mistakes in that game than they have all year long."
The Lady Vols will travel to Jackson Prep on Monday for a possible doubleheader and return home Tuesday for a makeup game against Heritage Academy at 5 p.m.