Newell-Fonda, playing against larger, Lakes Conference squads, dropped four games at the Spencer Softball Tourney Friday and Saturday but showed it could compete with big schools at the same time.
The Mustangs of the Northwest Conference, who are ranked fifth in Class 1A, slipped to 16-5 on the season.
On Friday, they fell to Estherville, 5-1, and to Cherokee, 10-8.
The next day they lost to Le Mars, 7-5, and to Spencer, 11-3.
In the Estherville contest, the Mustangs had five base knocks, including two from Val Anderson, who hit an RBI double.
Lauren Devereaux went 2-for-3 with a double, and Becky Seivert added a hit.
Devereaux suffered her second loss of the season, giving up five runs (four earned) on three walks, nine hits and four strikeouts.
"We did not play with the focus and intensity necessary to win a game like this one. Our kids are learning that you have to bring your best effort
every play, and when we become more consistant in that area we will continue to grow and improve," said Newell-Fonda coach Dick Jungers. "We are steadily getting better in some phases of the game, but we just have to keep working on it."
In Game 2 Friday, Cherokee used a five-run sixth to push itself past N-F.
The Braves out-hit N-F 12-10 and had four errors, while the Mustangs made seven.
"We have to make plays to win this type of ballgame. Our kids are working hard but the mental lapses are leading to extra base runners and extended innings where we should be getting people out," said Jungers.
Seivert took the loss, giving up 10 runs (four earned) on 12 hits, three walks and four strikeouts. Devereaux threw the last inning and gave up no hits and struck out one.
Devereaux led the way at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run scored, a double and four RBIs.
Anderson had two hits, while Ellen Gruntorad, Alisa Christensen, Seivert, Susan Kies and Katelyn Laursen all had one.
In Saturday's first game, the Mustangs trailed Le Mars 4-0 before scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth.
But Le Mars answered with three runs over the final two frames.
"We made several mental errors that would be difference makers in a game like this one. Execution of our short game and making plays when they are available are just things that we have to do," said Jungers. "Our youth and focus have really been exposed at this tournament."
Devereaux took the loss, dropping to 13-3 on the season after going seven innings, with six earned runs, three walks, one hit batter and 10 strikeouts.
Devereaux and Anderson both had two hits, while Christensen and Kelly Johnson had one each. Johnson bagged a triple and two RBIs.
In the final game against Spencer, the Tigers jumped ahead 6-0 in the third and didn't look back.
N-F plated its three runs in the fifth. The Mustangs had seven hits and five errors while Spencer finished with 10 hits and one error.
Seivert took the loss, giving up nine runs (none earned) on seven hits, no walks and four strikeouts.
Megan Juilfs threw the last two frames and gave up two runs (one earned) on two walks and two strikeouts.
"This game was just one bad play from turning out like it did. In the six-run third inning we had the side struck out and the runner reached on a dropped third strike and then we had three errors in a row that led to the big inning," Jungers said. "We also ran ourselves out of two innings so when things got bad, they then proceeded to get worse. Our pitching was very solid; we need to give our pitchers the defense behind her, when the plays are there for the picking.
"This was a good tournament for us because we sleepwalk at times, and it also exposed some of our weaknesses that we will need to address and this should help us get better as we hit the busy stretch of our schedule."
Kies and Anderson both went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Johnson, Christensen and Kayla Miller all had a hit, including an RBI double from Christensen.