Sometimes, even the sweetest of situations can turn sour in a hurry.
That's exactly what happened April 13 as the Izard County Consolidated Lady Cougars were in position to avenge their lone 2AA-North softball loss of the year to the homestanding Salem Lady Greyhounds.
A battle of the conference's top two teams, featuring two of the most exciting young pitchers around, this contest ended in a most bizarre fashion.
ICC was down just one run, 5-4, in the top of the seventh, when it looked like the visitors had things going their way.
Leathyr Spangler (hit) reached first base on an error, and then Sarah Taylor (single, double) followed with a single to left that gave the Lady Cougs runners at first and second with no outs. Just the kind of seventh-inning start ICC was hoping for.
Salem starter Leslie Taylor recorded the first out of the frame with a strikeout, and that's when things went South in a flash for ICC's rally plans.
With Trace Grinnell in the batters' box, Spangler tried to swipe third base, but was thrown out on the attempt for the Lady Cougs' second out of the frame. At the same time, Taylor broke from first as Spangler was headed for third, but instead of stopping safely on second, she rounded the bag and headed for third, where she too, was caught for ICC's last out of the afternoon, keeping the Lady Hounds' 2AA-North record perfect at 9-0.
The first four innings of the showdown for conference supremacy was a classic pitcher's duel, as ICC's Sarah Taylor went head-to-head with Lady Hound Leslie Taylor.
Leslie Taylor picked up the win for Salem (12-5), giving up six hits while issuing just one free pass to go along with nine strikeouts.
Sarah Taylor was saddled with the loss for the Lady Cougs, as she also gave up six hits while walking four, fanning two and hitting one Salem batter.
The two fireballers also proved they were formidable at the dish.
Leslie Taylor posted a single and triple for Salem, while Sarah Taylor had a single and two-bagger for the Lady Cougars.
The Lady Cougs dented the scoreboard first with a pair of runs in the visitor's half of the fourth.
Taylor blasted a ground-rule double over the fence in left to get ICC (13-4, 9-2) rolling in the stanza.
Next, Grinnell reached first on a throwing error, allowing Taylor to score from second base for ICC's first run.
Grinnell later posted a run of her own in the fourth by stealing home on a ball in the dirt, staking ICC to a 2-0 lead.
This lead was brief, as the home team struck three times in the bottom of the frame.
Chelsea Taylor (hit, RBI) rapped a hit up the middle of the box with two on, bringing Sarah Taylor around to score Salem's first run of the day.
Carrie Johnson (hit, ribbie) recorded the Lady Hounds' second run of the afternoon by swiping home plate on a passed ball.
Lairen Hall wrapped up the Lady Hounds' bid for the lead with a fielder's choice that made the score Salem 3, ICC 2, after four innings of play.
The Lady Cougars locked the game at 3-all thanks to a sacrifice fly from Taylor in the top of the fifth that plated Jenna Irgens.
Salem moved back on top of the see-saw showdown with a run in the bottom of the fifth, on an RBI-single off the bat of Johnson.
Not yet done, ICC tied the game at 4-all in the top of the sixth.
Lane Norvold got on base with a single.
Later, Irgens brought her around to score with a double that reached the fence in center field.
As it turned out, Tori Watkins (two hits, RBI) ended up swinging the big stick for Salem in the sixth.
With one out in the frame, Watkins dropped a short shot into shallow left that brought pinch-runner Jordan Nelson in to score what ended up being the game-winning run.
Things looked briefly promising for ICC in the top of the seventh before Salem got an unusual doubleplay to fend off a stiff challenge from the Lady Cougars.