Humboldt’s state title dreams dashed

A bid for a state championship turned to heartbreak Friday. The Cubs erased an 8-0 deficit with an eighth-run fifth, but Humboldt fell in extra innings, 9-8, to Wichita Collegiate in the Class 3A state playoffs.

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Sports

May 25, 2023 - 8:33 PM

Mason Sterling bats against Hoisington Thursday in the Class 3A state playoffs. Sterling had a two-run single for the night. Photo by Quinn Burkitt / Iola Register

MANHATTAN — Desperation turned into exhilaration and then frustration Friday for Humboldt High’s baseball team.

The Cubs, in a bid for the school’s first-ever state baseball championship, staged a jaw-dropping eight-run comeback to erase an 8-0 deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning against Wichita Collegiate.

But the magic ended there as Collegiate regained its composure, and then put across a run in the top of the eighth inning to secure a 9-8 win in the Class 3A state semifinals.

The loss dropped Humboldt into Friday’s third-place game against Santa Fe Trail. 

Collegiate was slated to play Columbus later Friday for the state crown.

Due to the Register’s press deadline, results from the final round were unavailable. 

FRIDAY’S roller coaster came one day after a sterling tournament opener one day earlier, when the Cubs dodged raindrops and rode the right arm of senior Trey Sommer to a 4-1 win over Hoisington.

Humboldt’s lone senior, Trey Sommer, rocketed a two-run homer to left field in the first inning in addition to tossing a complete game two-hitter.

Mason Sterling also delivered a two-run single into left field in the bottom of the third for the Cubs to take a 4-1 lead and the eventual win.

“That’s how we play. We’re not going to put up a ton of runs but we came up with some timely hits. Trey filled up the strike zone and we played good defense behind him,” Humboldt head coach Mike Miller said. “We couldn’t have drawn it up any better the way he (Sommer) pitched today.”

Hoisington (15-8) took a one-run lead in the top of the first inning, scored on a Sommer wild pitch that allowed Antonio Gonzalez-Moore to cross home plate.

Humboldt High’s players are introduced before their state playoff game against Hoisington Thursday.Photo by Quinn Burkitt / Iola Register

The game began in a heavy rain and Sommer walked a couple of batters. After settling in, Sommer sat down three batters in a row in the second, third and fourth innings.

At bat, Sommer unloaded a two-run blast over the left field fence that also scored Sam Hull for the early 2-1 lead.

“The home run just kind of set the mood for everybody and I think we all had that sudden burst of energy and we all played well after that,” said Sommer. “I feel like that’s one of my biggest jobs as the only senior — being able to set that energy.”

Trey Sommer pitches against Hoisington in the Class 3A State playoffs Thursday.Photo by Quinn Burkitt / Iola Register

Sterling’s two-run single in the third inning plated Blake Ellis and Colden Cook for the 4-1 advantage.

“He’s (Sterling) been doing it for the past couple weeks now,” said Miller. “In regionals he came up with some big hits and for him to come up in that key spot with two outs in a 2-1 game, that’s huge for a freshman to do that. I’m really proud of him.”

Sommer allowed only two hits and one run, struck out seven and walked two.

“Timely hitting, strong pitching and strong defense behind him (Sommer) won the game,” said Miller. “There’s four teams going home and we’re the last four standing so we just want to go compete and see what happens.”

Blake Ellis stays sharp

Sommer and Sterling’s two RBI’s apiece paced Humboldt at the plate while Cole Mathes and Cook went for one hit apiece. The Cubs totaled four hits and one walk and were able to knock out Hoisington starter Leyton Haxton after scoring their fourth run in the third.

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