Hurling from the mound

Hurling from the mound, Izzy Hardin throws the first pitch at the girls varsity softball game on Wednesday night at the Jack Marlowe Athletic Complex with entire softball team standing behind her. Pictured left to right is: Sydney Taylor, Emily Van Zummeren, Jenna Wiebenga, Mikaela Burken, Kasedi Fraizer, Carlene Paul, Clare Hackman, Malisha Robert, Abbi Strathman, Hope Meyer, Tenley Cavanaugh, Izzy Hardin, Sydney Clark, Laney Hafner, Reighan Huffman, and Adeline Bowman.

Izzy Hardin isn’t like any other 11-year-old. She loves to play softball, is very focused on excelling in everything she does, and has a brain tumor. 

But for a few minutes Wednesday night, Izzy forgot the tumor and focused on her passion for softball.

Sarah Nelson, Maquoketa High School varsity softball coach, gave Izzy a certificate to throw the first pitch at a game of her choice. Nelson was Izzy’s P.E. teacher in school this past year. Along with the certificate, Izzy was also given a softball pillow. 

At the girls varsity softball game Wednesday against Marion, Izzy tossed the first pitch of the game, with the entire team standing behind her, cheering her on. They also gifted her a hair ribbon made with hot pink and grey ribbons. Hot pink is Izzy’s favorite color, and grey promotes brain tumor awareness. 

Last March, doctors diagnosed Izzy with a brain tumor after she experienced severe headaches. After having surgery to remove almost all of the tumor, Izzy is back to herself and cleared for normal activities, said her mother, Devin Hardin. 

Devin said a small part of Izzy’s tumor was inoperable and still causes her some headaches, but they are manageable. Izzy also may undergo radiation to treat the rest of her tumor in the future.