Spartans men split waterlogged baseball schedule
SOLON– Weather has been shooting holes in the schedule for the Solon varsity baseball team recently.
Over the last two weeks, the Spartans have seen games postponed, relocated and rescheduled.
A doubleheader against Central DeWitt was moved to the University of Iowa’s Duane Banks field June 23, while games against Iowa City Regina were moved to Solon June 26.
Games at Vinton-Shellsburg, originally scheduled for June 19, were moved to June 27, and a June 30 doubleheader with Anamosa in Solon was pushed off a day to July 1 (subsequent to the deadline for this edition).
The Spartans have cooled off slightly since rattling off seven wins in a row earlier in June, splitting with their opponents and moving to 12-10 on the season.
The Spartans notched losses against conference leader West Delaware June 16, but turned a rare triple play in a 6-5 win against Davenport Assumption June 18.
“We have not turned a triple play in my 16 years as a baseball coach at Solon, and it couldn’t have been more timely,” said Solon head coach Keith McSweeney.
The Spartans had taken the lead from Assumption with five runs in the fourth inning and were leading 6-4 going into the bottom of the sixth.
Assumption scored a run on two errors and a walk that left men on second and third base with nobody out, whittling Solon’s lead to 6-5.
“In that situation, we are hoping to limit them to only one more and go into the seventh tied, especially against a team such as Assumption that does a great job situational hitting,” he said.
Solon brought its corner infielders in, and Logan Linderbaum fielded a hard ground ball, tagging first base for one out. The Assumption runner at second drifted too far off base, and Linderbaum threw to second base where Elijah Kane tagged the runner out after a short rundown.
“For some reason,” McSweeney related, “the runner at third made a move to home right as Elijah was about to end the pickle play, and he quickly threw to third to Patrick Maston, who applied a tag on the Assumption runner diving back to third.”
The play preserved the lead for pitcher Mitch Silberstein, who retired Assumption’s batters in order to close the seventh inning and seal the win.
“Granted, we wouldn’t have been in the situation had we not opened the inning to two botched defensive plays,” McSweeney said, “but we executed at crunch time and capitalized on Assumption’s base running mistakes.”
Elijah Kane was 2-2 at the plate with two RBI, while Dalton Ferguson was 2-3 with two RBI and a double. Lucas Kane had a double and an RBI.
Silberstein allowed nine hits while striking out four in the win.
Silberstein took the loss in the first game of the doubleheader with Central DeWitt June 23 at Duane Banks field.
Silberstein allowed only two runs on seven hits while striking out seven, but the Spartans could muster only a single run in the fifth inning for a 2-1 loss.
Solon rebounded in the second game for an 8-3 win, scoring five runs in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth on only four hits and five walks.
Elijah Kane scored twice, knocked in a run and had a stolen base (one of three for Solon), while Maston and Luke Ira each had an RBI.
Nathan Hawkins struck out 11 Central DeWitt batters and allowed three runs on five hits.
“We pitched very well in both games with Mitch Silberstein serving as the hard luck loser in game one,” McSweeney said. “He pitched very well, but we couldn’t come up with the big hit when we needed it. When our top two guys pitch like that, it gives us a chance to beat anyone.”
The hitting improved against Regina in the doubleheader that moved to Solon June 26.
The Regals took the opening game 6-2, but the Spartans captured the nightcap, 6-4.
Maston took the win on the mound, with Silberstein pitching a single scoreless inning in relief.
Solon had 10 hits in the win, including six doubles. Ira and Elijah Kane each had a pair of doubles, while Linderbaum was 2-2 with two RBI. The Spartans broke open a 2-2 tie with four runs in the fourth inning.
Solon also split with Vinton-Shellsburg June 27 at Vinton.
Eric Holtorf allowed no earned runs and only two hits but still ended up with a 3-0 loss.
The Spartans were limited to five singles.
Solon took the second game in another low-scoring affair, 2-0, with Ira pitching five scoreless innings and striking out four. The Spartans scored twice in the second inning and the lead held up, despite only four hits.