The Starkville High School softball team battled all night, but could not get over the hump.
The Lady Yellowjackets fell to the Oxford Lady Chargers 6-5 in the first round of the Class 5A State Playoffs Friday night at the SHS softball field.
Entering the bottom of the seventh inning down 6-5, SHS's Sasha Shurden led off the inning with a single to left field. Nicole Hackett hit a rocket, but right at the shortstop who caught it in the air and doubled off Shurden at first.
"That was tough," Lady Jacket head coach Wendy Jolly said. "Those things happen. She got caught up on first; it could have been a run for us. We just have to overcome it and come back (today)."
With two outs Joeitta Buchanan walked and found her way to third by stealing two bases. Dkyia Robinson failed to drive her in and struck out.
The Lady Chargers jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after a big first inning. Nikki Grilliette's highlighted the top of the first with a two-run single.
"We keep battling, but that first inning," Jolly said. "We have battled all year, but it's still here. One thing we have tried to overcome and hopefully we will get there."
Oxford added one more in the top of the second to take a 5-0 lead. That score stood until the bottom of the third inning.
With one out, Iyana Clark got a single and was followed by Shanele Johnson who bunted for a single. Shurden stepped up to the plate and ripped it in to right field scoring Clark and Johnson. She later scored on Buchanan's RBI single to make it 5-3.
"It got us back in the ballgame for sure and got their confidence back up," Jolly said. "They battled all ballgame. They stayed in there and fought."
The Lady Jackets added a run in the fifth when Hackett hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Johnson who walked earlier to make it 5-4 in favor of Oxford.
Starkville tied it up in the bottom of the sixth at 5-5. Oxford answered with a run in the top of the seventh on a passed ball to take the lead for good.
"It's part of the game," Jolly said. "We didn't have many (passed balls) this game, but the one that we did hurt us."
The Lady Chargers take a 1-0 lead in the best of three series. Game two will be today at Oxford at noon. If necessary, another game will follow.
"We are sure going to go down there with the same intensity and the same plan," Jolly said. "Now we have to win two instead of one. Now they know what they are facing and I think their confidence will be up and they will be ready to go."