WEST BURLINGTON — What everybody at Barb Carter Field saw on Friday was a big tiebreaking home run that helped make the difference in a classic postseason softball game.
What did Sydney Huddleston see. Nothing. Her eyes were closed as she made the biggest play of the night. The West Burlington-Notre Dame eighth-grader connected on a tiebreaking two-run home run that proved to be the game winner in a 6-4 win for the 13th-ranked Falcons against No. 15 Albia in the Class 3A, Region 7 semifinals.
“I just felt it come off the bat,” Huddleston said. “It felt good, so I knew I did something good.”
Huddleston’s head coach, Dave Oleson, wasn’t so convinced.
“There’s no way her eyes were closed,” Oleson said. “You can’t hit the ball with that kind of power without looking at it.”
Huddleston, however, was probably the only person in the vicinity of West Burlington High School that didn’t know her go-ahead home ball had landed over the fence.
“I just ran down to first and I saw our first-base coach screaming,” Huddleston said. “That’s when I looked out and saw it went out. It’s a pretty good memory. I’m probably going to remember it forever.”
It was one of many classic moments on a night that was filled with drama as Albia and WBND battled to move within one win of the Class 3A State Softball Tournament. The Falcons had the very early advantage thanks to the ace pitcher, Kori Mesecher, who drilled a towering three-run homer to right center in the very first inning.
“It was a good game. Fortunately, we got of enough jams,” Oleson said.
Albia head coach Mitch Chance, however, was proud of the effort that his kids continued to play with even after WBND’s early blow. The Lady Dees fought back with 3-2 in the third inning, narrowly missing out on potential game-tying home runs three times after falling behind 3-0 after one.