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Solon boys split with Benton Community as season draws to a close

West, Xavier edge out Spartans

SOLON– The Spartans logged a couple of close games against tough opponents into the loss column in the last week.
Solon’s varsity baseball team was edged out by Iowa City West 8-6 and by Cedar Rapids Xavier 1-0, with a doubleheader split against Benton Community sandwiched in between.
The Spartans were scheduled to play a final regular season game against Washington Tuesday, July 15, before starting postseason play against Center Point-Urbana Friday, July 18, in Solon.
In the single game July 9 against No. 4 (4A) Iowa City West, Solon took a 6-5 lead into the sixth inning, but couldn’t hang on.
“The story of the West High game was the pitching performance of Dalton Ferguson and our team’s offensive effort in battling back to take the lead late in the game,” said head coach Keith McSweeney.
Ferguson relieved Eric Holtorf on the mound with the Trojans ahead.
“We brought Dalton in to stop the bleeding after the third inning as West was taking advantage of lots of pitches up in the zone,” McSweeney said. “Ferguson quieted their bats and that coincided with our offensive spurt highlighted by Logan Linderbaum’s two-run home run.”
The Spartans scored three runs in the fourth inning and three in the fifth to seize the lead. Solon made the most of six hits and five bases on balls. Linderbaum and Nathan Hawkins each had two RBI.
“Unfortunately, we let our opportunity to win the game slip away with some spotty defensive play in the late innings,” McSweeeney said. “But West High is one of the top teams in 4A, and our guys played hard and competed. We were right there.”
Solon took a 4-1 win at Benton Community in the opener of a doubleheader Thursday, July 10.
Pitcher Luke Ira limited the Bobcats to a single run on six hits while striking out three in seven innings of work.
That single run came in the second inning to knot the score at 1-1, but the Spartans scored again in the third and tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth.
Patrick Maston was 2-3 at the plate with a double.
Solon knocked 10 hits in the second game but still came up on the losing end of a 6-3 score.
Dillon Drake took the loss, despite allowing only a single earned run.
Elijah Kane was 3-4 at the plate with two doubles; Ira was 2-2 with a double, and Maston also had a double.
“The second game with Benton Community was difficult as our defense let us down again,” McSweeney said. “Dillon pitched well enough to win, but we’ve just struggled as a team of playing with consistency, particularly in doubleheaders.”
Solon was originally scheduled to play Cedar Rapids Kennedy Saturday, July 12, but inclement weather canceled that game and the Spartans picked up single game with Cedar Rapids Xavier Monday, July 14, instead.
Solon was held to two hits in a 1-0 loss.
Mitch Silberstein and Hawkins combined to scatter six hits, with Xavier’s lone run coming in the sixth inning.