Cubs break through to 2-1A state

Humboldt defeats Marmaton Valley for regional baseball title

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Humboldt High’s Cubs show off their new hardware — a 2009 Kansas Class 2-1A Regional Baseball Championship plaque — they won Wednesday with a 12-2 victory over Marmaton Valley High’s Wildcats at Yates Center. The Cubs earned their first-ever trip to a baseball state tournament with the regional title. Members of the team are (left to right) seniors Andy Honas, Troy Davis, Andrew Whitaker, Thad Wells, Micah Poovey, Billy Schomaker; back row, Christian Hicks, Chris Coronado, Elijah Friederich, assistant coach Tim Endicott, Michael Zimmerman, Chris Headley, head coach Jeremy Weilert, Kyle Warren, Jacob Manbeck, Derrik McCall, Seth Nickell.
Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Humboldt High’s Elijah Friederich slides past Marmaton Valley High catcher Ben Biggs, who had to go get the throw to the plate, to score a run in the second inning of Wednesday’s Class 2-1A regional championship game at Yates Center. Humboldt’s Cubs defeated the Wildcats 12-2 in five innings to claim their first regional title and trip to the 2009 Kansas Class 2-1A State Baseball Tournament, May 29-30, in Emporia.
Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Marmaton Valley High’s Ethan Ericson steps to
throw out a Yates Center High runner during Wednesday’s regional semifinal at Yates Center.
Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Yates Center High’s Michael Bettega chops a pitch foul during an at bat in a regional semifinal game. Yates Center lost 2-1 to Marmaton Valley in the regional it hosted Wednesday.

YATES CENTER — It’s been 11 years in the making.
Humboldt High’s Cubs have been in quite a few regional baseball championship games over the 11- year span. They just couldn’t come up with the history-making win to send the HHS squad to a state tournament.
That was until Wednesday evening at Yates Center’s Kluender Field.
The top-seeded Cubs landed their first trip to a state baseball tournament by winning a 2009 Kansas Class 2-1A Regional Championship, beating Marmaton Valley High’s Wildcats 12-2 in five innings.
Humboldt’s six seniors, all of whom have played four years for the Cubs, were almost speechless following the regional championship trophy presentation.
“I drove in the final run and it was pretty exciting,” said Andrew Whitaker. “We really don’t know what to say.”
“I’m so excited to be on the first team to make it to a state tournament for Humboldt baseball,” said Thad Wells, the championship game winning pitcher.
The other seniors on the team are Troy Davis, Andy Honas, Billy Schomaker and Micah Poovey.
Marmaton Valley, which has played high school baseball only five years, upended No. 2 seeded Yates Center High’s Wildcats 2-1 in the semifinals Wednesday.
“Yes, not many expected us to be in the championship game but we came out and played a pretty good game against Yates Center,” said Garret Ericson, who is one of four seniors on the Marmaton Valley team.
“We’re happy for our program to get into the championship game for the first time in the school’s history but we didn’t play as well against Humboldt.”
Marmaton Valley’s other seniors are Tom Stinnett, Ben Biggs and Jared Maley.
After powering past the second-year program of Uniontown High with a 16-1 win in four innings, the Cubs waited for their title game opponent to be determined. They rested as Marmaton Valley and tournament host Yates Center battled on the field in the second semifinal game.
Marmaton Valley manufactured a run in the first inning. Stinnett singled, stole second base then went to third on a wild pitch by Yates Center’s Jordan Hughes. Ethan Ericson, Marmaton Valley’s starting pitcher, helped himself out by driving in the run with a base hit.
The 1-0 lead held until Yates Center scratched out a tying run in the fourth inning. Senior Michael Bettega reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored on a single by
Hughes, another senior.
A two-out walk issued to Biggs in the top of the sixth inning was costly for Yates Center. Biggs stole second base and Garret Ericson reached safely on an error which allowed Biggs to score the go-ahead run.
Ethan Ericson worked five complete innings for Marmaton Valley, allowing one run, walking two and striking out two. After taking the lead, MVHS head coach Derek Scharff put Garret Ericson on the mound to close things out.
Yates Center had two on with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Bettega had singled and stole second and Hughes walked. But Cody Green flied out and senior Nick Leis struck out to end the threat and inning.
Yates Center put Ben Burke on the mound for the seventh inning. He had a 1-2-3 outing and Yates Center was up to bat again trying to at least tie it up and go into extra innings.
But G. Ericson had other plans — get Marmaton Valley to its first-ever regional tournament championship game. He struck out senior Corey Hedstrom and junior Devin Gregg. Sophomore Dalton Smith’s fly ball to center field was caught by Stinnett.
“We pitched well enough to win the game but our bats didn’t come around. We made some defensive mistakes,” said Leon Weber, Yates Center head coach.
Yates Center loses six seniors off the team that went 15-5 on the season. In the semifinal game, senior Brent Matile, Bettega and Hughes each had two singles. Green and Gregg had a base hit each.
The YCHS seniors are Bettega, Matile, Hughes, Leis, Hedstrom and Jake Hagenbuch. Hughes took the loss on the mound Wednesday, pitching six innings, and Burke had one inning of work.
For Marmaton Valley, Stinnett, E. Ericson, G. Ericson and junior Randall Kuns each had a single.
“We did a great job fielding the ball and back in up our pitcher. We made one less mistake than they did in the field and we won the game,” Scharff said.
Humboldt had tagged the baseball for 12 hits against Uniontown High’s Eagles in the first semifinal. The Cubs scored six runs in the first inning and eight more in the second to lead 14-1. They got single runs in the third and fourth innings to win via the 15-run rule.
Whitaker pitched two innings, giving up a run on two hits and one walk with three strikeouts. Sophomore Seth Nickell threw two innings of one-hit, shutout baseball. He walked one and struck out one.
Wells drove in five runs on a single, double and a triple for the Cubs. Junior catcher Jacob Manbeck had a solo home run and a single while junior shortstop Elijah Friederich singled and doubled.
Davis and junior third baseman Chris Coronado had two singles each. Nickell singled.
Uniontown sophomore Jake Dawson pitched three innings and junior DuShaun Robinson pitched in the fourth. The Eagles had four seniors on the 2009 squad — Ethan Hammond, Jacob Curtis, Mike Smith and Jesse Johnson.
The Eagles ended up 4-12 for their second season of high school baseball. No individual statistics were available on the Uniontown players.
In the championship game, Humboldt scored three runs in the first inning to take the upper hand quickly. Leading off with back-to-back singles were Friederich and Davis.
With one out, Wells delivered a two-run triple to left field. Manbeck lined out but a throwing error by the Wildcats to the third baseman allowed Wells to score.
Marmaton Valley had a leadoff single by junior Logan Booth to open the second. Freshman Derrick Carr drew a two-out walk but freshman Gage Stewart flied out to center field.
The Cubs came right back with sophomore Derrik McCall reaching on an error with one out in the second inning. Coronado followed with a single.
With two gone, Davis and Whitaker had singles and the Wildcats had a throwing error. When the dust died down, four runs had crossed the plate for the Cubs.
Marmaton Valley had a two-out rally of its own in the third. Biggs doubled and scored on a single by G. Ericson to right field. Ericson ended up at second on the throw to the plate. Booth had an RBI single.
“I thought we played hard and started to make a comeback in the third but came up short,” Scharff said of his Wildcats. “We made too many mistakes in the field during the game and we struggled at the plate.
“Humboldt hit the ball very well and I wish them the best of luck in the state tournament.”
The Cubs kept the pressure on, scoring three more runs in the fourth. Garret Ericson, who started the game on the mound, switched to first base in the fourth as his brother Ethan came on in relief.
Leading 10-2, the Cubs only needed to score two more runs in the bottom of the fifth for another run-rule win and a trip to the state tournament.
McCall singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Coronado and Friederich walked to load the bases. Marmaton Valley changed pitchers and Davis connected on a pitch from Carr, who didn’t field the ball as a run scored.
Whitaker singled to drive in the final run as the Cubs claimed a 16-1 victory, a 2009 Class 2-1A regional championship and a berth in the state tournament.
Wells got the pitching win, allowing five hits, walking four and striking out out eight. G. Ericson was charged with nine runs in 3 1/3 innings of work for the Wildcats and had four strikeouts. E. Ericson and Carr each had an inning of work.
Davis led the Humboldt hitters with three singles. Whitaker had two singles and Wells tripled. Hitting a single each were Friederich, Coronado and McCall.
Marmaton Valley’s Biggs had a double and Booth hit two singles. G. Ericson and Tanner Lewis each singled. The Wildcats finished at 8-9 for the season.
Humboldt (15-4) awaits the seedings and pairings for the 2009 Kansas Class 2-1A State Baseball Tournament. The state tournament is May 29-30 in Emporia.
“I’m very proud of the way each and every member of our team contributed to our success this year. We played two very good games Wednesday,” said Jeremy Weilert, Cub head coach.

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Grounded Eagle
Uniontown High’s freshman third baseman Jordan Woods tries to stay with the baseball on a hot shot hit in the infield. Unfortunately for Woods and the UHS Eagles, he went flat on the play during Wednesday’s Kansas Class 2-1A Regional Tournament at Yates Center. The Eagles lost 16-1 to Humboldt High’s Cubs in a semifinal game.