The Humboldt Cubs punched their way to the Class 3A state tournament with a 4-3 win Tuesday night over the Riverton Rams at the PSU Softball Complex.
“Pitching and defense were really good both games,” Humboldt head coach Brad Piley said. “Our bats came alive in the first game (12-2 win over Southeast) and we hit the ball well. Courtney (Richey) threw the ball well both games. Give them credit, they got a lot of good hits off Courtney, which teams haven’t done all year. They were a good team and it was one hell of a game.”
Riverton started out fast with two runs in the first. Richey hit Addison Berry with a pitch and Alex Green singled over the infield into right. With two on and no outs, up came senior pitcher Shelby Mitchell. No. 35 connected with a two-run double, easily scoring Berry and Green.
Richey struck out Madison Hull swinging and Skyler Henderson swinging, surrounding a Macy Williams groundout.
Humboldt tied it up with one in the first and one in the second. Richey plated Brenna Kline with a RBI double off the bottom of the center field wall. Kline hit the game-tying single.
Riverton went back ahead with a RBI double by Mitchell, her fifth double of the night (see Jayhawk-Linn story). Mitchell finished her night 6-8 with five doubles and nine RBI; she drove in all three Riverton runs in the regional final.
Humboldt closed out the scoring with two runs in the fourth, finally taking enough advantage of its scoring opportunities for the lead. Kayle Riebel hit the game-tying double and Richey the game-winning single.
“We had the bases loaded twice and we just couldn’t get quite another hit,” Piley said. “It happens.”
Richey finished with 20 strikeouts on the night, 11 in the final. Members of the Humboldt baseball team kept a running K tally at the top of the left field wall and hopefully, the baseball players maintained a division-of-labor with this being postseason. She held Riverton scoreless the last four innings.
“That was huge,” Piley said. “The girls are excited. It’s been a couple years. We’ve been out there quite a bit and we’re ready to get back.”
In recent years, Humboldt qualified for state in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 with a second place in 2009 and a third place in 2006.
Humboldt 12, Southeast 2
The No. 2-seeded Cubs simply overpowered their semifinal opponent.
Freshman pitcher Courtney Richey, fresh off a gem Monday night against St. Mary's Colgan, gave up two runs on four hits — both runs and three hits coming in the third inning as Southeast managed a tie score with three straight singles by Tori Colvin, Tessa Robin and Kalee Ewbank. Ewbank collected a RBI single plating Colvin and Robin scored off a wild pitch.
Page 2 of 3 - Otherwise, the Lancers were dominated by Richey, who struck out four consecutive batters in the first and second innings, Olivia Powell to end the first and Amy Martin, Rylie Dainty and Zoey Ball in the second.
The Cubs answered the Lancers' offensive surge with a monster third inning.
With one down, Kayle Riebel sparked an eight-run, eight-hit frame with a double, then came a RBI triple by Brook Turner, a RBI single by Richey, a RBI single by Megan Herder and a two-run single by Riebel. The Cubs seemed to find any way to score in the seemingly never-ending inning for the Lancers.
Richey settled down and gave up no more runs in the third, the fourth and the fifth. She finished with nine strikeouts and the Cub defense behind her made no errors.
Kline and Riebel delivered back-to-back RBI hits to force the run-rule in the fifth.
Southeast ends its season 13-7.
Riverton 15, Jayhawk-Linn 3
The Rams overwhelmed the top-seeded Jayhawks in the first semifinal of the day, particularly on the strength of the offensive contributions of senior battery mates, pitcher Shelby Mitchell and catcher Madison Hull.
Mitchell drove in six runs, all on two-run hits — a two-run double in the first, a two-run single in the fourth and a two-run double in the seventh.
Hull drove in four, two on a two-run shot to center in the third and two on a RBI double in the fourth and a RBI double in the seventh.
Riverton scored five in the fourth and six in the seventh, breaking open what had been a 4-3 game at one point as the Rams hurt themselves with four errors.
Addison Berry hit a RBI triple and Macy Williams a RBI single in the seventh.
Mitchell earned the win in the circle and Katie Gibson came on in the seventh to retire the side and end the game.
Class 3A Softball Regional
at the PSU Softball Complex, Pittsburg
Humboldt 4, Riverton 3
RIV 201 000 0 — 3 7 2
HUM 110 200 X — 4 14 1
Shelby Mitchell and Madison Hull. Courtney Richey and Morgan Morris. WP: Richey. LP: Mitchell. E: Alex Green, Addison Berry; Brenna Kline. 2B: Mitchell; Richey, Megan Herder, Kayle Riebel. SH: Molly McDonald; Riebel, Kline. HBP: Berry. LOB: RIV 7, HUM 10.
Semifinal No. 1
Riverton 15, Jayhawk-Linn 3
RIV 202 500 6 — 15 18 4
JL 201 000 0 — 3 4 4
Shelby Mitchell, Katie Gibson (7) and Madison Hull. Sluder and Jackson. WP: Mitchell. LP: Sluder. E: Alex Green 2, Mitchell; Nation, Thyer, Sluder, Wallace. 2B: Mitchell 3, Hull 2, Macy Williams; Krull. 3B: Addison Berry. HR: Hull. SF: Wallace. SB: Williams, Kara Hansen, Berry, Molly McDonald. LOB: RIV 6, JL 8.
Semifinal No. 2
Humboldt 12, Southeast 2 (5 innings)
Page 3 of 3 - SE 002 00 — 2 4 4
HUM 028 02 — 12 11 0
Olivia Powell and Amy Martin. Courtney Richey and Morgan Morris. WP: Richey. LP: Powell. E: Kylee Freeman, Tessa Robin, Kalee Ewbank, Alex Yeoman. 2B: Kayle Riebel, Brenna Kline. 3B: Brook Turner. SB: Robin; Megan Hudlin.