It was a nice, crisp April afternoon at the Starkville Sportsplex Monday.
It was also a nice day for April Burkis of Starkville Christian School's softball team.
Burkis nearly hit the for the cycle, getting two singles, a double and an inside the park home run, and led the Lady Cougars to a 24-9 victory over the Grace Christian Lady Eagles at Kayln F. Kurtz Memorial Field.
In the leadoff position, Burkis reached base in all five of her at-bats and scored four times.
"That's why we have her at the top of the order because she does a great job," Starkville Christian assistant coach Cathy Bowles said.
The Lady Cougars evened their record at 3-3-1 with their third-straight victory.
It didn't take long for Starkville Christian to establish the lead in the game with three runs in the first inning. Rikki Williams hit the first of three inside the park home runs.
The Lady Cougars exploded for 12 more runs in the second frame on five hits to take a 15-0 advantage. Jill Jackson had a two-run single, while Burkis, Toni Williams and Christina Gilliland had one RBI single each.
After Grace Christian got three runs in the third to cut into the margin a bit, Starkville Christian added six more runs in its half of the inning to increase the lead to 21-3. Burkis and Kera Young had inside the park home runs for the big blows.
The Lady Eagles matched the six runs of the Lady Cougars in the fourth, but the home team got three runs to end the game with the 15-run rule.
Along with Burkis, Young had a home run and double, Rikki Williams had a home run and single, Gilliland had a double and single, and Beka Bisson and Toni Williams added two singles each for Starkville Christian.
"All of the girls did a wonderful job and we had some outstanding hits," Bowles said. "Beka Bisson did a wonderful job. The other team came back a little bit, but we were hitting and stayed strong offensively and defensively."
The Lady Cougars travel to Louisville to play the Lady Eagles again on Thursday.