They may have played their games at Disney World over spring break, but the Wildcats are looking less and less like the Mickey Mouse team from last season.
In fact, after going 4-2 – effectively boosting its win total to more than it had in all of 2008 – it's safe to say Orlando, Fla., really was "The Happiest Place On Earth" for head coach Jennifer Rigdon's squad.
Strong defense was the primary factor in the team's victories in the Disney Tournament.
"We played really solid defense and pitched well," sophomore Annie Hannon said. "One of those games, we didn't have any errors."
With some wins in their back pockets, the Wildcats earned the right to enjoy themselves on the rest of their vacation.
"It was a lot of fun," sophomore Kayla Brown said. "We went to the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Cocoa Beach."
While at the time it seemed a disappointment the women only saw a glimmer of sunshine for the duration of their trip, it allowed the team to avoid sun-derived fatigue that it desperately would need to avoid for the rest of the break.
The Wildcats played five more games in the Avila Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., seemingly immediately after they got off the plane.
The team went 2-3 against some difficult competition including a St. Gregory's University team that fielded a pitcher who one Wildcat said was the best player she has ever seen take the mound.
"(Sharon Bell) was amazing," Brown said. "She threw a perfect game against us. I've never seen any pitcher like her."
The team lost to St. Gregory's 5-0, but rebounded to beat Peru State College in the following game, 6-3.
A close 7-6 win against Harris-Stowe State University and losses to Southwestern College and Hannibal-LaGrange University, 5-0 and 9-4, respectively, rounded out the team's tournament.
"Overall, we played pretty well over break," sophomore Kim Gilges said. "We just need to get our bats going consistently and play a little more as a team in the coming games."
The Wildcats played 11 games in five days, registering a total of six wins.
The momentum couldn't have come at a better time as the squad starts conference play this week.
"The conference season is important because it will determine our seed going into regionals," Gilges said. "It would help us out tremendously to win a lot of games in the conference and not have to play one of the top teams early in the tournament."