FORT DODGE — When Carley Robins stepped to the plate here Friday afternoon in the bottom of the seventh inning in the Class 3A state championship game, at least one person believed she would hit a walkoff home run to give Clarke its second state softball championship.
Senior first baseman Devon Carson called the home run from the dugout. Carson’s prophetic words had right fielder McKenzi Otto convinced.
“When Carley got up to bat, I just knew it in my stomach,” Otto said. “Even Devon Carson, she was standing next to me, she was like, ‘It’s time for one of Carley Robins’ home runs.’ I knew we were going to score in that inning. Our lineup is solid all the way through.”
Carson believed in her teammate.
“Right when she got up to bat, I was like, “I feel Carley is going to hit one right now for us,’” Carson said. “And she did. I just started crying. There were no words. I just started crying.”
For seniors Libby Bemis, Kennedy Crees and Brenna Paul, there was no doubt about where the ball would land after it left Robins’ bat.
“I knew it was gone right when she hit it,” Crees said. “I ran out of the dugout. I was just screaming. I think I was in shock a little bit. I’m happy for her.”
“I knew it was gone,” Paul said. “It was gone! I was excited.”
Pitchers don’t typically like to see the ball leave the diamond in a hurry like the Robins home run did, but Bemis enjoyed this home run, which assistant coach Staci Ritchey estimated at 230 feet.
“As soon as she made contact, you knew it was gone,” Bemis said. “She just crushed that ball. We went crazy and it was an amazing feeling.”