Cubs battle to claim 3rd at 2-1A state

Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Humboldt High’s Cubs show off their third-place state tournament trophy.
Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Jacob Manbeck celebrates a solo home run for the Cubs in the third-place game at the Class 2-1A state tournament Saturday in Emporia.

EMPORIA — Humboldt High’s Cubs played like they had been there before. But of course they hadn’t as their appearance in the 2009 Kansas Class 2-1A State Baseball Tournament was the program’s first trip to a state event.
The Cubs made a statement Friday night in the tournament opener. They powered past Sedan 14-4 in five innings. That set up a showdown in the semifinals with five-time champion Pittsburg St, Mary’s-Colgan.
After a 15-0 thumping in three innings by the Panthers, the Cubs could have just phoned it in. But no.
“We expected what happened with Colgan,” said Andrew Honas, who was the starting pitcher for Humboldt in that game. “We were ready to come back in get the next game.”
And they did. With the third-place trophy and medals on the line, the Cubs came out hitting the ball, scoring runs and making the plays behind starter Andrew Whitaker.
Humboldt rolled to a 6-2 win over Salina Sacred Heart High’s Knights and third place at the Class 2-1A state tournament.
“What a great feeling. I can’t describe it yet,” Whitaker said after hoisting the trophy up in the air, he seemed to still be walking on air.
“We just played a solid game for third. This is incredible.”
Whitaker went five innings, allowing two runs on two hits, five walks and had three strikeouts. Senior Thad Wells, who was the winning pitcher against Sedan, come on in relief.
“I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team. My arm felt great. It a was tremendous feeling getting the final out with a strikeout,” Wells said,
Whitaker and Wells both worked out of trouble.
Humboldt scored three runs in the first and single runs in the second, third and sixth innings. Jacob Manbeck led off the third with a towering home run.
“I was just thinking about getting to second then when I realized it went over the fence, it was the best feeling of my life,” Manbeck said.