ON THE PROWL
No. 2 Wildcats impressive in 12-0 victory over Gaels
Doug VanPelt knows he will see Ashlyn Clark back in the Humboldt softball dugout before the season is over.
And when Clark does return, the second-ranked (Class 3A) Wildcats want to be hitting on all cylinders in their quest for another state tournament appearance.
Humboldt posted its fourth game of at least 10 runs scored in as many tries on Wednesday night at Rogers Park, besting No. 11 (1A) St. Edmond in five innings, 12-0.
Ellie Jacobson, an all-state junior pitcher, tossed a one-hitter with eight strikeouts, Jori Hajek blasted a two-run homer and Kendal Clark — the sophomore sister of Ashlyn — drove in three runs.
Ashlyn Clark was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma earlier this month. The Iowa Central volleyball recruit was a starter for the Wildcats (4-0 overall, 1-0 in the North Central Conference) last year on the diamond, helping them to a school-best third place finish.
“We have been touched by all of the outpouring of support,” VanPelt said. “These girls are mentally tough, but they are also teenagers and are going through different emotions each and every single day and night.
“A simple prayer before the game can be emotional, but that is part of growing up. Nobody is as tough as Ashlyn, and she would give anything to be in the dugout with us. She’s going to be.”
Humboldt struck first on the Gaels (1-2, 0-1) as Jacobson drove in Carlie Thompson. They broke open the gates in the third with four runs on three hits before plating five more in the fourth and the final two in the fifth.
“We had too many errors and too many mental mistakes,” SEHS head coach Nick Clark said. “But that is all stuff we can clean up and we will clean up. We’ve just got to keep getting better and better each day and we will.”
Hajek finished with three hits, while Carlie Thompson, Jacobson, Clark and eighth-grader Addie Thompson each had two. Addie Thompson added a pair of steals and also drove in two runs.
“I thought we did a good job of situational hitting with two strikes and with runners on,” VanPelt said. “I’m happy with where we are. We’ve got things we can still improve, but the girls have a confidence about themselves at the plate.
“We just continue to preach and embrace doing what is asked.”
Humboldt recorded eight hits and stole five bases, sending 17 batters to the plate in the third and fourth innings combined.
Jacobson, meanwhile, retired the first 12 batters she faced before fellow all-stater Jocy Timmerman recorded the lone St. Edmond hit in the top of the fifth. The junior Wildcats struck out the final three batters she faced, improving to 79-11 in her career.
Up next for Humboldt will be Garner-Hayfield/Ventura on Thursday night at home. The Gaels host Iowa Falls-Alden on Friday.
HUMBOLDT 12, ST. EDMOND 0 (5 inn.)
Humboldt 104 52 — 12 13 0
St. Edmond 000 00 — 0 1 4
WP–Ellie Jacobson (4-0, 5 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 8 K, 0 BB). LP–Ella Vratny (1-2, 5 IP, 7 ER, 13 H, 5 K, 2 BB).
HR–H: Jori Hajek. 2B–H: Jori Hajek. RBI–H: Jori Hajek (2), Mady Lange, Ellie Jacobson (2), Kendal Clark (3), Addie Thompson (2). SB–H: Alexis Hansen (2), Kendal Clark, Addie Thompson (2).