Title dreams vanquished



May 24, 2019 - 5:19 PM

GREAT BEND — The Humboldt High Cubs saw their state title dreams unravel on the field of the Great Bend Sports Complex Friday afternoon in the 2-1A State Baseball semifinals.

Fourth-seed Humboldt fell 14-3 in five innings to the top seed and undefeated Elkhart Wildcats thanks in part to one very bad inning.

After three innings, the Cubs were sitting pretty, down two with the majority of the game still ahead. 

But the fourth frame left the Cubs in a dusty fog filled with mental errors and regret for what could’ve been.

“That was tough,” head coach Mike Miller said. “The wheels fell off and we just didn’t have anyone who could step up and stop the bleeding. Then we made some errors and walked some guys and at this level, you don’t stand a chance.”

Starter Xavier Bauer got dinged early with two runs scored in the first but bounced back in the second inning allowing just one walk.

Things started to turn south in the third with two more runs crossing for the Wildcats but with the Cub offense tying things up at two in the previous inning, things felt OK.

Bauer came out in the fourth and after walking his first two batters, Miller pulled him from the game in favor of junior Cooper Jaro who, after hitting the next two batters and walking the one after that, was replaced by junior Jackson Aikins.

Aikins eventually managed to get all three outs in the game but it wasn’t until 10 runs crossed in the inning, pushing Elkhart’s lead to 14-2.

“It just snowballed,” Miller said. “Don’t get me wrong, (Elkhart’s) a good team that has good speed and can put some pressure on you. But when you make mistakes, it makes competing very difficult. In the end, I think it was just a cumulative effect of a few uncharacteristic things for us.”

Offensively, the Cubs’ scoring was limited throughout the day despite outhitting Elkhart 10 to 9.

In the top of the second, Gavin Page grounded out for the first out of the inning which led to an error that allowed Josh Hull to steal home for the Cubs’ first run.

Two batters later, Gunner Elder flew into fielder’s choice that scored Aikins from second for run number two.

Then, after the Wildcat onslaught, Humboldt managed to score its final run in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly from senior Joe Murrow to drive in junior Kyle Kobold.

Juniors Taylor Lassman, Conor Haviland and Joe Murrow each had two hits.

The Cubs end their season at 21-4. The tournament marks the final appearance of seniors Kyler Allen, Bo Bigelow, Bauer, Dagen Goodner, Murrow and Kyle O’Neal-Wilks.