It was a historical moment for Starkville sports on Tuesday afternoon.
For the first time during a school season, Starkville High School and Starkville Christian School met in athletic competition.
The Lady Cougars hosted the Lady Yellow Jackets in a fast pitch softball game at the Starkville Sportsplex.
Even though SHS won a 25-8 decision, the score was not the most significant thing coming from the event.
It was the spirit of unity between the two teams with players that knew each other.
“I think it did definitely for us just to be able to face their friends,” Starkville Christian coach Rachel Witbeck said about how playing the Lady Jackets helped her program. “It’s a little bit different when you know everyone on the team. It was a cool moment for us and I know the girls were excited to play their friends, be able to have a little competition and be able to encourage each other on the field.”
The two schools have met on the basketball court at the Sportsplex during summer league, but never officially during the school year.
After Witbeck contacted SHS softball coach Ronald Campbell about possibly of scheduling a game, he was happy to make it happen.
“I checked with the athletic director (Cheyenne Trussell) and he didn’t mind so it worked out,” Campbell said. “They said they needed some games and needed to get some work in so I didn’t mind helping them out.”
The Lady Jackets took control of the game early by scoring the first 14 runs over a three-inning span. The Lady Cougars scored a pair of runs in the third inning, fourth inning and fifth inning, then had three runs in the sixth.
SHS added three runs in the fourth inning and put the game out of reach with an eight-run fifth frame.
A.P. Brooks and Brianne Locke led a 15-hit attack for SHS with three hits each. One of the hits for Brooks was a double. Kimberlyn Livingston and JacQuasha Brown had two singles each. Karlie Brooks clubbed a home run for the other extra base hit.
Kyler Reeves started in the circle and worked three innings for the Lady Jackets, while Locke and Olivia Mattison pitched in relief.
“We put the ball in play and our pitcher that we started threw strikes,” Campbell said. “I was pleased with that.
“Anytime you get outside for just a little bit, it’s always good. We had a chance to get some work in and get some live pitching. It’s kind of tough with the way the weather has been just to get outside and see some live pitching if you don’t have a lot of pitching.”
Tanner Smith pitched all six innings and had eight strikeouts for Starkville Christian, while Val Eaves and Holly Burkis had one hit each.
Witbeck is already looking forward to the next opportunity to see SHS.
“They have been great and hope to get another game scheduled too at their place,” Witbeck said.