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AN EMOTIONAL GOODBYE

Humboldt bows out in 3A state quarterfinal round vs. Mount Vernon, 7-4

Messenger photos by Britt Kudla Humboldt’s Addie Birdsell (left) comforts teammate Emily Knight after their game against Mount Vernon on Monday night at Rogers Park.

For every hard hit ball by Humboldt Monday night, a Mount Vernon defender was there to cleanly field it.

The Mustangs used that near-flawless defense, along with timely hitting and a late grand slam by Nicole Sullivan, to stun the Wildcats and their large contingent inside Rogers Park, 7-4.

Mount Vernon (21-4 overall) advances to the Class 3A semifinals on Wednesday, where it will face No. 1 seed Albia (20-1) at 4:30 p.m. on Dodger Diamond.

For Humboldt (20-3), it marked the crushing end to the careers of eight seniors who were part of five consecutive North Central Conference titles and three state tournament berths.

“This group, they never gave up and they never stopped fighting,” Humboldt head coach Doug Van Pelt said. “Even there in the seventh after giving up those runs, they battled until the very end. That’s because of the incredible senior leadership we have. Those girls have given so much to this program over the years.”

The Mustangs struck first with a pair of runs in the opening inning, rattling three hits off Ellie Jacobson — including a two-RBI double by Mandy Morrical. In the third, the Wildcats answered as Jacobson drove in Carlie Thompson.

Jacobson, who is headed to Des Moines Area Community College in the fall, went the distance, striking out eight without a walked batter. During her Humboldt career, she surpassed the 100-win and 1,000-strikeout marks.

Holding a slim 2-1 lead in the seventh, Mount Vernon plated five runs, with four of them coming on the Sullivan slam. The DePaul commit has three homers this season, and driven in 33 runs.

“Even after that happened, these girls never gave up or hung their heads,” Van Pelt said. “They went out there in the seventh and scratched and clawed to get back in it.”

Humboldt did just that, as Alexis Hansen worked a walk and eventually came around to score after hits by Thompson and Jori Hajek. Kendal Clark, who won a state wrestling championship this past winter, connected on a two-RBI single, but again, the Mount Vernon defense made a key play.

The Mustangs relayed the throw from the outfield perfectly to second, getting the third and final out.

Thompson — who is headed to Iowa Central — and Jacobson each had three hits in their final games at HHS, while Hajek, a junior, also recorded three. Clark finished 2-for-4 with two RBI.

MOUNT VERNON 7, HUMBOLDT 4

Mount Vernon 200 000 5 — 7 10 0

Humboldt 001 000 3 — 4 11 2

WP–Jenna Sprague (15-2, 7 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 2 K, 1 BB); LP–Ellie Jacobson (18-2, 7 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 8 K, 0 BB). HR–MV: Nicole Sullivan. 2B–MV: Mandy Morrical (2); H: Kendal Clark. RBI–MV: Nicole Sullivan (4), Mandy Morrical (2), Lauren Ryan; H: Jori Hajek, Ellie Jacobson, Kendal Clark (2). SB–MV: Lilly See. LOB–MV: 6; H: 6.

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