CEDAR RAPIDS– “It was about as good as you could feel in a loss,” said Solon Baseball Head Coach Keith McSweeney after the Spartans fell to Cedar Rapids Kennedy 4-5 in nine innings Saturday in Cedar Rapids.
It was a match of two defending state champions (4A and 2A) with Kennedy ranked seventh and Solon No. 1 in 3A, and it took extra innings to decide the outcome.
The loss dropped Solon’s record to 31-4.
Solon faced Kennedy’s top hurler, Austin Christensen, and he held the Spartans scoreless until the fifth inning.
Down two runs after Kennedy’s David Yancy launched a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Ryan Butler, Solon battled back to take the lead in the top of the fifth.
Travis Brimeyer reached on an error, Marshall Koehn and Nick Day singled and Derrick Loveless walked to put the Spartans on the board. That was enough to chase Christensen, who had allowed only two hits and struck out eight. Yancy came on in relief and allowed two more Solon runs on two wild pitches, giving the Spartans a 3-2 lead.
Kennedy, however, retook the lead, 4-3.
Butler scattered six hits and allowed only three runs while walking none for Solon, and Day came on in relief.
In the top of the seventh, Austin Holub tied the game 4-4 on an Austin Dall squeeze, but the Spartans stranded two runners.
Marshall Koehn took the loss in the ninth inning when Griffin Michael lined a one-out walk-off single, scoring a Kennedy runner from second base.
“We faced their top two guys,” McSweeney said. “They’re one of the better teams in 4A. That’s why we scheduled the game. It had a playoff atmosphere.”
The loss to Kennnedy was the second of the week for Solon, which split a doubleheader at Williamsburg Thursday after taking two at Anamosa and completing a previously-suspended game against Marion at home.
Solon pounded Anamosa 15-0 and 13-4 Tuesday, with Colton Dall and Jordan Siddell picking up the wins.
Loveless and Koehn both homered for Solon in the first game. Koehn added a triple to go 3-4 with four RBI. Day went 3-3 at the plate with a double and three RBI. Dall pitched four innings, allowing only two hits.
Butler hit two home runs in the second game against the Raiders and Loveless added another. Siddell and Tommy Hamiel shared the pitching duties.
After completing a 3-1 win at home against Marion, Solon returned to the road for the split with Williamsburg.
The Spartans lost the first game 1-4, with Todd Oberthien taking the loss. Oberthien struck out six and walked only one. None of the four runs was earned. Solon managed only seven hits.
Solon sent four pitchers to the mound in the nightcap to preserve a 5-4 win. Siddell, Loveless, Day and Colin Stebral each took a turn.
Tyler Smith homered and drove in three runs to pace the Spartans offensively.