FINAL FOUR

Humboldt advances to semis with shutout win

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Humboldt celebrates after defeating Atlantic in a 3A state quarterfinal on Monday at Rogers Park. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

The scenario was similar to last season for the Humboldt softball team.

But the end result was much different.

The No. 4 Wildcats scored a 3-0 victory over seventh-ranked Atlantic here Monday night in the final game on Diamond 2, advancing to the Class 3A semifinals for the first time in school history.

Humboldt (31-3 overall) will now face No. 1 and defending state champion Davenport Assumption (37-3) on Wednesday back here at 11:30 a.m.

A year ago, the Wildcats placed a school-best fifth, winning the consolation bracket after falling to Center Point-Urbana in the opener. With seven seniors gone from that team, the task to improve fell on the broad shoulders of Carlie Thompson, Mady Lange and Ellie Jacobson.

All three delivered in their typical fashion against the Trojans (30-6). Thompson had two hits from her leadoff spot, Lange drove in two runs and Jacobson controlled the circle.

“We had a lot of nerves playing last year, but this time, that was all gone,” Lange said. “We knew what we needed to do and it feels great. We’ve been working all offseason for this, and everybody played their role.”

Thompson finished 2-for-4 with a steal, Lange was 2-for-3 with a double and Jacobson helped her own cause by driving in a run.

“We had unbelievable catches in the outfield, our catcher (Lange) was jumping up and making plays,” Humboldt head coach Doug Van Pelt said. “It was a game like we’ve played all year. I’ve got a bunch of gritty kids that come to play softball and expect to win every single night.

“It was huge winning the consolation games last year because it gave us experience and allowed us to know we could win games at state.”

Humboldt got on the board in the third when Lange drove in Jori Hajek with the third straight single of the inning.

“It was really important to score first, but we knew anything could happen even with a 1-0 lead,” Lange said. “I just thought our defense took a lot of pressure off of Ellie by making plays all over the field and that really set the tone.

In the fifth, Lange clubbed a big double to the fence that scored Hajek and Jacobson followed with an RBI-single of her own. Lange, a sophomore, also fielded two Atlantic bunt attempts in the seventh and gunned down runners at first.

Jacobson retired nine in a row early on and escaped a bases loaded jam in the first and another potential scoring opportunity for Atlantic in the fifth. The sophomore improved to 74-10 in her career by allowing just two base hits and striking out two.

In the fourth, Thompson nearly collided with the fence in center but made a leaping catch to rob Ally Anderson of likely extra bases. Rachel Darling, one of just two seniors on the roster, hauled in a deep shot by Anderson to begin the sixth.

Jacobson was able to get the dangerous Alexis Handel out in the third after intentionally walking her in the first. Handel, who has hit 46 career home runs and is headed to Div. I Missouri-Kansas City in the fall, reached on a fielder’s choice but did no damage in the game.

Atlantic will now face Benton in the consolation round on Tuesday at 3 p.m. on Dodger Diamond.

HUMBOLDT 3, ATLANTIC 0

Atlantic 000 000 0 – 0 2 3

Humboldt 001 020 x – 3 8 1

WP-Ellie Jacobson (29-2, 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 K, 3 BB); LP-Ally Anderson (25-5, 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 K, 0 BB).

COMMENTS