Jul 11, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Print View
SOLON — By Solon standards, this softball postseason has been a grind.
“The whole season has been a grind,” Coach Jim White said. “But the kids have been resilient. They’ve toughed it out.”
And the Spartans are headed back to Fort Dodge.
McKenna Miller allowed just one baserunner in the final six innings, and third-ranked Solon struck for five late runs and rallied past Center Point-Urbana, 6-3, in a Class 3A regional final Monday night at the Solon Community Schools Athletic Complex.
“It’s really awesome. I’m excited,” Miller said. “I just tried to put it all out there for my team and be tough for them.”
Last year’s 3A champion, Solon (32-9) returns to the state tournament for the sixth consecutive year. The Spartans will face No. 14 CMB (25-8) in the first round at 3 p.m. next Tuesday at the Rogers Sports Complex.
The Spartans had to go extra innings to get past Williamsburg in Round 1, then endured a 12-9 slugfest with Roland-Story in the regional semifinals.
White put them through what he called an “intense” five-hour practice Saturday, then another Sunday.
“I challenged them mentally,” he said.
And the Spartans responded, though it took a while.
After Solon tallied a run in the top of the first inning on Taylor Moore’s RBI single, Center Point-Urbana (22-18) struck for three runs in the bottom of the frame. Olivia Brecht’s single drove in a run, and two Solon errors played a role.
From there, though, Miller (20-4) stopped the Stormin’ Pointers in their tracks.
“I didn’t change anything,” she said. “I just tried to hit the corners instead of the middle of the plate.”
It remained 3-1 until the fifth, when University of Wisconsin recruit Sydney Lawson sliced a liner through a stiff breeze for a solo home run.
The Spartans converted to small ball in the sixth, when their bunt-and-run game forced a couple errors and put them ahead, 4-3.
“At the end, we realized it was time to kick it in,” said Nicole Oberthein, who squeezed home the go-ahead run. “We realized their first baseman wasn’t covering first, and that worked to our advantage.”
Solon tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh, then Miller took care of the rest. She retired 19 of the final 20 batters she faced.
SOLON 6, CENTER POINT-URBANA 3
Class 3A Regional Final, at Solon
Solon 100 012 2 — 6 5 2
Center Point-Urbana 300 000 0 — 3 4 4
McKenna Miller and Monika Bevans. Bailey Smith and Taylor Henderson. W — Miller (20-4). L — Smith (11-11). HR — S: Sydney Lawson (4).
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