Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
As a first team all-state selection in Class 2A last year, Van Buren County’s Chelsea Huff is known to be quite a talent.
Monday in a home Southeast Iowa Super Conference South Division 7-0 softball victory, Huff recorded three straight outs every inning until the seventh when the 21st Holy Trinity batter of the game was walked on four straight pitches. She struck out the 22nd batter — her 16th K of the game — for a no-hitter, just missing the perfect game.
“That’s the most I’ve ever struck out in a single game,” Huff said, unsure if it was a school record. “I just couldn’t get a strike on her though. My hands were sweating something terrible.” After the walk, coach Randy Smith called time out and talked to Huff, telling her, ’just strike this girl out and you will be done.’ So she did. “He said there goes the perfect game, but here’s a no-hitter for you.”
Huff stays “in her own world” when pitching so only she and catcher Brooklynn Cormier knew it was happening until late in the game when a tough catch in the fifth inning alerted many.
A pop fly was hit right over the top of second base. The time the ball was in the air gave Huff plenty of time to worry.
“Our shortstop (eighth-grader Callie Kracht) drop-stepped for it and almost dove for the catch,” Huff said. “Squatting down in the middle of the circle just rooting for her to catch it, I about had a mini heart attack. I thanked her so much that she put the pieces together, and everyone knew.”
Beside a “couple change-ups and a couple drop balls” the rise ball was Huff’s go-to pitch. “It seemed like there were a lot of foul balls.” There were only five balls hit into the field of play. One of those was more nerve-wracking than the others.
Huff gave herself an early cushion with a two-run home run in the first inning. She also had a single and a double and finished with four RBI.
Since Huff was first team all-state, maybe coming that close to a perfect game is no big deal? “It was still a big deal. It was really cool.”