Though the result might not have gone in their favor on Monday, one is hard-pressed to watch the Southwestern Lady Trojans softball team this season and not think that they have turned the corner.
Given the difficulties the squad has experienced over the past two seasons, it's a welcome sight.
After going winless last season - 0-18 overall and 0-14 in league - the Lady Trojans this year, in just three games, have already matched their win total (one game) from the previous two seasons combined.
Prior to its victory over the Division 1 opponent Olean, 9-3, on April 13, the Lady Trojans hadn't earned a victory since May 12, 2011.
The improvement has been impressive enough that Falconer coach Paul Lombardo, whose squad got by Southwestern on Monday, 7-3, sees them as possible contenders for a league title.
"I think that they could be right in the mix," he said. "They've got some very good hitters, a few good pitchers and I really like the job that Jen (Anderson, Southwestern's head coach) and her assistants are doing."
In other words, no longer can Division 1 teams overlook Southwestern, for if they do the consequences might not be to their liking.
Along with a good mix of both the young (among them, eighth-grade starting pitcher Sydney Burk, about whom Anderson says she is "excited") and the experienced players (like catcher Summer Borysoff, pitcher Britta Johnson or centerfielder Jenna Yuchnitz, who went 2-for-3 in Monday's loss), the biggest reason for the turnaround, Anderson notes, is the squad's positive attitude.
"That's the one thing I've noticed this year," she said. "They haven't gotten down on themselves like they normally would have done over the last few years. They've really picked it up a lot mentally."
That upbeat mentality showed itself on Monday.
In finding themselves trailing, 5-0, with just two innings to go, previous Southwestern teams might have let the game get away, but this year's group did just the opposite, battling back and scoring a pair of runs in the sixth to cut the deficit to three.
Even as Falconer tacked on two more scores an inning later, still Southwestern would not go down quietly as they loaded the bases and scored once more before the game was finally brought to a close.
And though the schedule isn't about to get any easier for the Lady Trojans - they've got Allegany-Limestone, Dunkirk and Fredonia coming up - there's now no telling how the division will shake out by season's end.
"It's such a balanced league," Lombardo said. "It could be anyone (who wins it)."