Monday was another chance for the Starkville Academy Volunteers to learn without having the pressure of a district game.
Magnolia Heights School came down from Senatobia to give the Vols some competition and the visiting Chiefs broke open a close game in the sixth inning to capture a 9-1 victory at Volunteer Field.
It was an opportunity for Starkville Academy head coach Thomas Berkery and pitching coach Roy Oswald to see several pitchers and they used five in the game.
Mike Winfield started and only gave up two runs in five innings. He was followed to the mound by Garrett Lewis, Nason Heflin, Micah McGee and Adler Morgan.
“With this being a district week for us, we kind of pieced it together,” Berkery said. “Honestly, Mike Winfield did an unbelievable job of keeping us in the game. It was a 2-1 ball game in the fifth, then they scored seven in the sixth and got away from us a little bit right there, but it was an opportunity to see some guys and see how they react to certain situations.
“It was a good feel and good touch up (for Winfield) and Garrett Lewis got back on the mound after shoulder surgery, so it was good to see him out there.”
The Vols (6-9) had a difficult time getting any offense going against Magnolia Heights pitching and they only had five total hits for the game. Starkville Academy scored its only run on a Taylor Arnold solo home run in the third inning.
Berkery said the Chiefs used their No. 2 pitcher in a non-district week, so he knew that his hitters were going to be presented with a challenge.
“We swung it OK and had some good at-bats,” Berkery said. “It was one of those things where we saw a good arm. He was a three-pitch mix guy. We had some good swings on him, but we’re still trying to find ourselves. We’re just trying to have some good innings, not have bad outs and not chasing pitches up in the zone.”
Harris McReynolds and Will Miller had two singles each for the Vols.
The busy week continues for Starkville Academy today as it gets back into District 2-AAA play with a home doubleheader against Winston Academy beginning at 4 p.m.. The Vols return the favor and make the trip to Louisville Thursday.
Berkery said there were some positive things to be taken away from the loss to Magnolia Heights.
“You’ve got to look for a silver lining,” Berkery said. “Hopefully, the younger guys will be ready to go.”