HUXLEY, Iowa — When the softball season started, Ballard High School’s team was unsure whether head coach Chris Husak would have the chance to return to the diamond. Husak not only returned, he led the Bombers back to the state tournament for the first time since 2017.

“To go through a season like this and have it all come together when it needs to…it’s taught me a lot and I think it’s taught these players a lot as well,” Husak said.

Husak missed the first few weeks of the season as the Ballard Community School District investigated him for unknown reasons. He returned in mid-May after the investigation found he did nothing wrong, but Ballard still sputtered to a losing record after starting without their leader.

“It was very difficult,” Husak said. “Those first three weeks are very important, and for the first two weeks, I couldn’t be there.”

However, the Bombers found their stride as their season was on the line. They won their regional tournament, despite their losing record, to punch their ticket to Fort Dodge.

“After our last regular season game, we decided that we really wanted to step it up,” said sophomore Kasey Larson.

“We just got tough really quickly and we hit our peak at the right time,” said junior Ella Husak.

Ballard is the 7-seed in the Class 3A tournament and will take on Davenport Assumption Tuesday morning.

Whether or not this year’s Ballard team comes home with a championship, Husak said he is already proud of his squad.

“You’re allowed to go through some trials and some suffering, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to stay,” Husak said. There’s always greener grass and sunshine at the end of it.”