The enthusiasm and effort was evident.
But a victory wasn't in the offing for third-seeded Huntley.
A one-out RBI single by Sabrina Kileen in the seventh inning gave second-seeded DeKalb a hard fought 3-2 win over the upset-minded Red Raiders in semifinal action of the Class 4A Jacobs softball regional Thursday afternoon.
The Barbs (21-8) will face fifth-seeded and host Jacobs for the regional title Saturday at 10 a.m. Huntley ended an outstanding 2013 season with a 22-12 mark.
"I can't express how proud of this team I am," said Huntley coach Mark Petryniec. "They gave great effort against a very good team and a very good pitcher. "Haley (Spannraft) pitched a great game and we never quit. We had a great year and with seven starters back next year looks good."
In the pivotal seventh for DeKalb, Jessica Townsend led off with a single and the next hitter, Rachel Johnson, was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. One out later, Kileen delivered the game-winner.
"I had a misplay in center field which costs us a couple of runs and I wanted a chance to help us win," said Kileen. I got a good pitch to hit and it feels good."
The Barbs struck first with a 2-runsingle by Sarah Friedlund in the bottom of the first. Huntley sophomore Spannraft then held the Barbs scoreless for the next 5 innings on 2 singles.
The Red Raiders, who could only manage a third-inning single by Spannraft off DeKalb pitcher Katie Kowalski during the first 5 innings, tied the score in the sixth.
With two outs, senior Randi Peterson singled and scored on a long 2-run homer over the left field fence by Mackenzie Brown.
In 7 innings of work, Kowalski allowed 2 runs on 3 hits. The DeKalb junior struck out 11 Red Raiders while walking 2.
"Katie pitched a great game against a very good team," said DeKalb coach Jeff Davis. "She had great control of all her pitches and had the strikeout pitch working. We have had a lot of close games this season. Out of our eight losses, sox were by one run. These girls know how to play in close games. It was good to see Sabrina come through after she misplayed a ball."