Lynx oust ’Cats, clinch share of NCC crown
HUMBOLDT — Enough was enough.
Losers of four straight games against Humboldt dating back to the start of the 2018 season, Webster City took a baseball-sized chip on its shoulder onto the diamond Wednesday evening. And with the North Central Conference title on the line, the Lynx exorcised all of those recent demons.
It was the young guys that did the most damage too.
WCHS blistered Humboldt pitchers Jacob Thurm and Cade Witzke for 13 hits, and keyed by a six-run third inning the Lynx blew by the Wildcats, 11-4, to clinch at least a share of the conference crown.
WCHS (18-9, 11-2 NCC) can secure its second outright NCC championship in the last three years with a win over Iowa Falls-Alden at home on Monday.
“It’s been a grind, but these boys have never wavered from the situation,” WCHS head coach Adison Kehoe said afterwards. “They’re everything you want as kids and players.”
The team’s youth movement that has been so key all season essentially took out Humboldt (19-9, 10-3 NCC). Eighth-grader Ty McKinney, freshman Devon Stoakes, and sophomores Tyler Olson and Sean Carver accounted for nine of the team’s hits and all five of its extra-base bashes. Olson also went 61⁄3 innings on the mound, didn’t allow an earned run, and improved to 9-1 with a 0.58 ERA.
“We told the boys before the game that there’s not many times in your athletic career that you can play a game with this much on the line,” Kehoe said. “For the young guys, they had the opportunity to show that there are no limits as to what they can do in athletics and they stepped up.”
Olson went 3 for 5 with a double, triple and four RBIs, not to mention the five strikeouts on the mound. Carver picked a perfect time for his first home run — a three-run blast to left field as part of the Lynx six-run outburst that broke the game open — and finished with two hits and four RBIs. McKinney and Stoakes were both 2 for 3 with a double.
The two most veteran players on the team weren’t bad either. Dylan Steen and Caleb Olson both went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
McKinney ignited the third-inning explosion with a lead-off double off Thurm. It was the Lynx first hit of the game and they added four more in the inning. Tyler Olson broke up the scoreless game with a two-run triple to right, Steen hammered an RBI single to center, Caleb Olson found the green for a base hit, and Carver put the first nail in Humboldt’s coffin with the long ball.
Three more runs in the fourth inning pushed the Lynx lead to 9-0. Tyler Olson found the gap again for an RBI double, while older brother Caleb and Carver smacked RBI singles. All three hits came with two outs.
McKinney, Stoakes and Tyler Olson rattled Witzke’s cage in the seventh, which led to two more runs.
“The young bucks responded extremely well, yes sir,” Kehoe said.
Witzke was the lone Wildcat with multiple hits. Humboldt finished with seven, which included doubles by Thurm and Sawyer Savery.
WCHS and Humboldt will meet for a third time a week from now in a Class 3A district semifinal in Slater.
Webster City 11, Humboldt 4
Wednesday at Humboldt
Web City 006 300 2 — 11 13 4
Humboldt 000 120 1 — 4 7 2
Tyler Olson, Caleb Olson and Devon Stoakes. Jacob Thurm, Cade Witzke (4) and Colby Clarken. W — T. Olson. L — Thurm. Multiple hits — WC: T. Olson (3), C. Olson, Stoakes, Dylan Steen, Sean Carver, Ty McKinney; HUM: Witzke. 2B — WC: T. Olson, McKinney, Stoakes; HUM: Thurm, Sawyer Savery. 3B — WC: T. Olson. HR — WC: Carver. RBI — WC: T. Olson (4), Carver (4), Steen, C. Olson, Stoakes; HUM: Michael Brightly (2), Owen Newton.