Spartans survive slugfest with CCA
SOLON– The Clippers of Clear Creek Amana (CCA) watched a 10-0 lead over the rival Solon Spartans evaporate into thin air Thursday, June 27, as the home team rallied back to win the nightcap 23-13 in six innings. Solon also took the first game of the evening 7-3 in a varsity doubleheader.
The Spartans struck first in game one in the bottom of the second inning with a pair of runs scoring on a pop-up by Connor Fitzpatrick. The Clippers got one run back in the third on an RBI single by Tanner Bandy but a long ball single by Solon’s Todd Oberthien extended the Spartans’ lead to 3-1. Two more Solon runs went on the board in the fourth on an Elijah Kane hit.
The Clippers loaded the bases in the fifth inning but couldn’t take full advantage of the situation, and instead settled on two runs brought in by Bandy and Stephen Jensen. Three Clippers were left standing in the sun when the third out was called, and Solon still led 5-3. The Spartans made it 6-3 with a run off a Fitzpatrick double.
Clipper coach Brent Henry swapped pitcher Jake Neubauer out for Travis Bowman in the sixth inning. Neubauer had given up 11 hits and seven runs. While Bowman got CCA out of the inning, the deficit was too high and a run-less seventh inning sealed the win for Solon and pitcher Dalton Ferguson.
Henry’s bunch made a statement with four runs in the first inning of the nightcap with RBIs from A.J. Liddell, Neubauer and Jensen. Again though, the Clippers loaded up the bases and left the boys stranded. CCA added three more runs in the second for a 7-0 lead. Solon coach Keith McSweeney made wholesale changes out on the diamond for the top of the third inning and moved Jerad Lester to the mound. A bit of controversy ensued after Henry noticed Lester was committing balks, and the umpires weren’t calling them. The home plate ump gave Henry a warning and admonished him to stay within the confines of the coach’s box. A Solon time-out and some quick adjustments to Lester’s moves followed, but the Clippers added three more runs in the inning for the 10-0 lead.
The switch flipped for the Spartans in the bottom of the inning where Colton Dall belted out a triple and came home on a hit by Austin Holub. Seven Spartan runs in that one inning stunned the Clippers, who then went three-up and three-down in their next at-bat.
For Solon’s half of the fourth inning, Henry moved his people around and put Robby Swails on the mound in place of Colton Beckler. Swails was soon replaced by Bowman, who finished out the game. The Spartans didn’t seem to notice the changes as the Solon juggernaut rolled on with a nine-run effort in the inning and a 16-10 lead. Three more runs went on the board for Solon in the fifth inning.
“Will yourselves back into this game, just like they did,” Henry said to his troops heading into the top of the sixth inning. The will may have been there, but willpower wasn’t enough as once again the Clippers loaded the bases but couldn’t capitalize. Three CCA runs did cross the plate however with two of those coming off another long shot by Liddell.
A messy bottom of the sixth saw four more runs for Solon, giving the Spartans the 10-run lead and ending the game per the mercy rule. Solon had 23 runs, 18 hits and made four errors. CCA had 13 runs, 14 hits and made eight errors. Solon improved to 16-8 while the Clippers dipped a bit lower to 9-15.
Maquoketa comes to Tiffin to face CCA in a varsity double-dip on Friday, July 5, South Tama is in town on Monday, July 8, and West Delaware is a Wednesday, July 10, visitor.
For Solon, Benton Community visits on Friday, July 5, for a varsity doubleheader. Then on Monday, July 8, the Spartans travel up Highway 1 to take on Mount Vernon for two games. Tuesday, July 9, and Wednesday, July 10, find the Spartans staying out on the road with trips to Washington and Independence on their itinerary.