SLATER, Iowa -- For the Central Iowa All-Stars softball team, the Softball Little League World Series was a whirlwind of emotions.
"It was nerve wrecking at some points but really exciting," said right fielder Brynna Huen. "I was a little nervous but once we got there and met the teams and coaches it got easier," said third baseman and pitcher Isabell Hobbs.
"We were just living the dream, it was pretty awesome," Huenn added.
Those nerves never showed on the field and dozens of family and friends gathered in Slater Saturday to welcome them home after their third place victory over Southwest. Many fans back in Iowa were hanging on the edge of their seat as they followed the girls game by game.
"They've brought tears to my eyes of joy, tears to my eyes of sadness and tears to my eyes with excitement and passion," said Central Iowa Little League President Chris Chadd.
The girls went out to Oregon with big hopes and dreams. "Going into the world series we were pretty confident," Huenn said.
But it was almost crushed when the West team from Washington allegedly tanked a quarterfinal game, which would have eliminated central Iowa, creating a firestorm of controversy. "I was heartbroken because when we watched West, I knew they were gonna throw it away," Hobbs said.
The next morning, good news came Iowa's way when they were awarded an extra playoff game against that same West team. "Instantly everybody's mind changed. Their attitude changed and we were ready to go," Hobbs said.
That attitude led to victory. "It was the best feeling because we beat a team that knew they couldn't beat us again," Huenn said.
For these select girls the season may have ended short of the ultimate goal of first place, but their coach Charlie Husak believes they brought home something much more valuable.
"In life they've also shown they can not only dish something out, they can take it and move on and be successful because of it," said Husak. Something Huen says was unforgettable, "It was the best experience. It was once in a lifetime, so it was really great."
The Central Iowa All-Stars were made up of girls from the Ballard, Collins-Maxwell and North Polk County communities.