The fourth-ranked Humboldt softball team did exactly what they wanted here Wednesday at Rogers Park.
They played Humboldt softball.
The Wildcats doubled up No. 10 West Marshall, 6-3, in the consolation semifinals, then routed third-ranked Sioux Center in the consolation final, 10-0 in five innings, to end on a high note.
Humboldt (33-5 overall) set a new school record for single-season wins and claimed the highest finish at state in five appearances.
Freshman Ellie Jacobson tossed the 54th no-hitter at state and the first of this season, striking out eight Warriors (24-8). Jacobson walked three and one other batter reached on an error.
“We just had the perfect mindset after Monday,” Humboldt head coach Doug Van Pelt said. “We knew we couldn’t change anything (from a loss to Center Point-Urbana), so we flushed it out. These kids wanted to get the highest finish in school history, and set the record for most wins.
“We had a lot to play for, and we wanted to play Humboldt softball and show people what that is. This is a special group — especially the seniors — and we played two great games.”
Jacobson finished her first state tournament with 22 strikeouts and two wins. She’ll be counted on in the years to come, as the Wildcats must replace seven seniors who have had one of the more memorable athletic seasons in school history.
“We really wanted to win,” Jacobson said. “The team played great defense and went all-out to make plays like when Olivia (Birdsell) made that awesome catch in right.”
One of those seniors, Kelsey Peters, belted a home run in the win over Sioux Center, driving in three. Another, Avery Terwilliger, finished her week with six hits, four runs, two steals and an RBI.
“We wanted to end like this,” said Terwilliger, who is headed to Wartburg College to play basketball in the fall. “We were lucky to do that. Not many teams get to. We knew we had two games left with the younger girls, and all seven of us seniors wanted to end on a win.
“To go 2-1 at state is just awesome. There is no better feeling than getting fifth place after (a quarterfinal loss).”
Peters, Terwilliger, Birdsell, Beth Duffield, Kaylee Sawyer, Taylor Gidel and Halie George all played their final contest at Rogers Park on the championship diamond. Gidel had a double, Birdsell had a hit and Duffield scored a run.
Both Birdsell in right field and George at first base made plays in the field that helped preserve the no-hitter.
“It was tough knowing that was the final time I was throwing down with my teammates,” Terwilliger said. “That was the last handshake I would have with my friends. Over these last five years, I’ve seen some really awesome seniors be done, and I never imagined it would be me.
“It’s starting to sink in and it’s really hard, but everything has to end sometime.”
Mady Lange, a freshman, connected on a fifth-inning three-run homer for her fifth hit of the tourney. She had five in all and drove in seven runs over the three-game series.
Gidel had three hits this week, as did ninth-grader Carlie Thompson, while Duffield scored three runs.
Along with recording a no-hitter, Jacobson was 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI.
“When you look at the record boards in all sports, this senior class is all over them,” Van Pelt said. “But it goes beyond sports. They are role models in the community. We’d get home at 11 p.m. after a game and every single one of them would be out the next morning with the little kids. Those little kids idolize them.
“This was their dream all those years ago and you hate to see them go but what a way to go out.”
VanPelt, who now owns 524 coaching victories in his career at Humboldt, was also impressed by the number of Wildcat fans who came to what the consolation games after packing Rogers Park on Monday.
“What an unbelievable crowd we had, especially considering the heat index,” Van Pelt said. “High school sports mean so much to this community and that’s why it’s great to be living in a small Iowa community.
“These people came out to send the girls off on the right foot and that brings a tear to the eye.”
HUMBOLDT 6, WEST MARSHALL 3
Humboldt 311 000 10 – 6 10 3
West Marshall 012 000 0 – 3 5 3
Ellie Jacobson (W, 27-3, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 0 BB) and Kelsey Peters; Loran Nicholson (L, 3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 K, 1 BB), Grace Porter (4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 K, 0 BB) and Georgia Porter. HR–H: Mady Lange. RBI–H: Avery Terwilliger, Ellie Jacobson, Mady Lange, Olivia Birdsell; WM: Renae Schaper, Kylie Cripps. SB–H: Beth Duffield, Carlie Thompson; WM: Katie Price. LOB–H: 7; WM: 4.
HUMBOLDT 10, SIOUX CENTER 0 (5 inn.)
Humboldt 105 04 – 10 11 1
Sioux Center 000 00 – 0 0 1
Ellie Jacobson (W, 28-3, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 8 K, 3 BB) and Kelsey Peters; Hannah Dykshorn (L, 3 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 1 K, 0 BB), Camryn Cleveringa (2 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 3 K, 2 BB) and Kaylea Van Regenmorter. HR–H: Kelsey Peters, Mady Lange. 2B–H: Taylor Gidel. RBI–H: Ellie Jacobson (2), Mady Lange (4), Kelsey Peters (3), Carlie Thompson. SB–H: Avery Terwilliger (2), Jori Hajek; SC: Camryn Cleveringa. LOB–H: 4; SC: 4.