The Southwest Lady Trojans have rallied around Coach Tony Eagleberger and are focused on improving on their 9-10 record from 2011.
Eagleberger suffered serious injuries in a May automobile accident, and has undergone a number of procedures since to speed the healing process. Despite the titanium rods and glue stabilizing his broken neck, and the brace on his surgically repaired knee, Eagleberger hasn't missed a minute in the classroom or on the field since Southwest convened for the new school year.
The Lady Trojans have benefited from the example of their coach, showing more maturity and purposefulness as they prepare for the coming season.
Eagleberger's roster includes 14 players this year. Most of his starting lineup returns from 2011, and he expects the year of experience -- especially for this year's sophomore class -- to show immediately on the diamond.
Key returners for Southwest include: first baseman Hannah Hendrix, a senior; third baseman Courtney Morgan, a senior; second baseman Cady Swindle, a senior; shortstop Coley Ickes, a sophomore; catcher Kenzie Harvey, a sophomore; and utility player Jessica Morgan, a sophomore.
"Coley Ickes is one of the best players in southwest Missouri," said Eagleberger. "I know I am biased because I see her every day. However, if you ask the teams we play, they will probably agree. She is a killer on defense and is a returning all-region shortstop.
"Ickes' freshman year offensive numbers are outstanding," continued Eagleberger." "She only struck out once in 71 at bats. Her sister was an all-state catcher for me two years in a row and plays at Crowder.
"My three seniors -- Hannah Hendrix, Courtney Morgan and Cady Swindle -- provide good leadership and have been three-year varsity starters. They are determined to end their career with a winning record."
Eagleberger expects a lot from newcomers Kayleigh Ennis, Holly Crow, Vanessa Glaze and Shasta Sanders.
"Kayleigh Ennis is a transfer student who has a lot of potential as a pitcher," noted Eagleberger. "She hits the ball well and should fit into the lineup nicely."
Southwest open the season today at Marionville.