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Humhej's perfect game gives Golden Eagles split Saturday

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times

The Minnesota Crookston softball team had suffered five straight losses to begin the season. But in its sixth game, everything went right — quite literally.

Katie Humhej threw the first perfect game in school history, retiring every batter she faced over five innings, and the Golden Eagles run-ruled Viterbo, 11-0, to cap off a split Saturday at the Husky Dome Tournament in St. Cloud.

In Saturday's first game, UMC (1-5) faced off against Northwestern College (Iowa), losing 10-4. The Golden Eagles have been prone to big innings this season, as they were swept by Truman State Friday night due largely to four-run innings by the Bulldogs in each game. It was no different against the Raiders, who put six on the board in the sixth inning to turn a one-run contest into a rout.

Hailey Hatfield (Fr., OF) got Minnesota Crookston on the board with a two-run single in the third inning, cutting the Northwestern lead in half. In the fifth inning, a fielding error allowed Hannah Macias (Jr., OF) to score and make it 4-3.

Kameryn Etherington, the winning pitcher for the Raiders, was also solid at the plate. She capped off the top of the sixth with a two-run homer to make it 10-3. A single by Macias in the bottom half of the inning gave UMC a consolation run.

With the Golden Eagles staring down an 0-6 start, Humhej, a transfer from LIU-Post who helped lead the Pioneers to the Division II College World Series in 2019, gave them just the start they needed.

The senior right-hander fanned five of the first six hitters she saw, striking out the side in the second inning. Overall, Humhej struck out eight, and allowed Viterbo to hit it out of the infield only once, on a fourth-inning fly out.

As excellent as Humhej was, the Golden Eagles hardly needed it. Hatfield led off the bottom of the first inning with a homer, spurring them to a 3-0 lead. UMC scored five more runs in the second inning, the big blow coming on a two-run double by Shaelyn Grant (Fr., OF). Cassie Querrey (Sr., C) then smashed a two-out, bases-clearing double with the bases loaded to make it 11-0 in the third inning.

Alina Avalos (So., 1B), Dana Zarn (So., SS) and Rachel Jones (Fr., 2B) each drove in a run against the V-Hawks as well. Zarn is currently hitting .412 on the season to lead the Golden Eagle offense.

UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles will take on Northern State and Bemidji State at the Minot Dome Invitational in Minot, N.D. on Feb. 20. UMC lost to Bemidji State, 10-0, in its season opener Wednesday.

Northern State was picked seventh in the NSIC Preseason Coaches' Poll, while the Beavers were picked 12th.

NORTHWESTERN COLLEGE 10, MINNESOTA CROOKSTON 4

Northwestern College 0-1-3-0-0-6-0—10-10-3

Minnesota Crookston 0-0-2-0-1-1-0—4-8-2

WP: Kameryn Etherington (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

LP: Sofia Gombos (4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON 11, VITERBO 0 (5)

Viterbo 0-0-0-0-0—0-0-3

Minnesota Crookston 3-5-3-0-X—11-7-0

WP: Katie Humhej (5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)

LP: Janelle Ulaszek (2.0 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 2 K)

The Times welcomes your feedback. You can send any comments or questions to our office at (218) 281-2730 or sports editor Jacob Shames at jshames@crookstontimes.com.

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