The Southwest Lady Trojans dropped a 12-2 season opener to Marionville last Wednesday, but recovered to take two of their next three games to post a 2-2 record for their first week of work.
"We didn't play poorly," said Southwest's Tony Eagleburger. "That was an offensive and defensive clinic by a Class 2 quarterfinal team from a year ago. Marionville scored 10 runs and sent 14 people to the plate in just the second inning."
But the Lady Trojans hit their stride the next time out, beating East Newton, and Cassville in succession at the Crowder Tournament.
The Lady Patriots forged a 5-0 lead, but Southwest rallied with five runs in the bottom of the third, and then took a 7-6 lead in the fifth inning.
With two outs and the tying run at second base, Southwest's Nicole Ickes tracked down a fly ball in short centerfield and made an over-the-shoulder grab to deny East Newton's comeback bid.
"The tying run scores if that ball drops," said Eagleburger. "It was a great play."
Kaleigh Ennis pitched all six innings for the Lady Trojans, scattering five hits while allowing no walks.
Ickes, Ennis and Hanna Hendrix all had three hits for Southwest.
Southwest defeated Cassville 6-3 with outstanding defense. The Lady Trojans turned two double plays and made no errors. Ickes again accounted for the final out with a spectacular diving stop and a throw from her knees to get a force at third.
But against Reeds Spring, Southwest played a sloppy game in the field and lost to the defending district champs, 12-5.
"Our kids made five errors plus some mental mistakes," Eagleburger reported. "We are doing a great job hitting the ball. We just need to get tougher, and we need to get some timely hits."