116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
SOLON — How does a team of high school softball players stay focused through a two-hour and 33-minute weather delay? By eating pizza. Specifically, Casey’s pizza.
Friday’s Class 3A Region 7 Semifinal contest between West Marshall (7-20) and Solon (26-12) was originally scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Due to multiple weather delays, the first pitch didn’t take place until 9:33 p.m.
After the announcement of the first delay, originally scheduled to be for just 45 minutes, Delis Miller, father of Solon left fielder Addie Miller, brought pizza to the press box for the team.
Taco. Cheese. Pepperoni. Pineapple and Canadian bacon. The Spartans had it all.
“It was very nice of him, because we would’ve had to wait two hours to eat and all of us probably would’ve been hungry before the game,” Solon senior slugger Sarah Heick said.
“We encourage them to get something to eat, because we knew it was going to be a fairly long delay,” Solon Coach Dave Johnson said.
Despite the carbohydrate overload, the Spartans stayed hungry on the field, as No. 11 Solon defeated West Marshall, 10-0, in five innings at the Solon Community Schools Athletic Complex.
Heick led off the second inning with a scorching line drive down the left-field line. Two batters later, Carly Ellison drove in Heick’s runner, Meghan O’Neill, with a double to right field for Solon’s first run. Miller then roped a double to right field to score Ellison.
The Spartans added two more in the third, and six in the fourth to take the game-determining 10-0 lead.
Heick finished 2-for-2, with a double, single and a walk. Ellison led the Spartans with four RBIs.
Freshmen Kendall Jensen pitched a gem for the Spartans, allowing no runs on two hits, striking out eight in five innings of work.
“She’s (Jensen) worked extremely hard in the offseason to put herself in the position she’s in,” Johnson said.
The rain delay did have Johnson nervous prior to the game. But the Spartans’ approach was essentially to treat the situation like they were preparing for a road game.
“We’ll almost handle it like a road game, where we might come in and do our pregame hitting three or four hours before the actual road game starts,” Johnson said. “So now this becomes more like a road-type game situation for us, and this rain delay is basically our travel time now. It’s sort of a different mindset.”
Friday night was the first time this season that a weather delay had simply delayed, and not canceled, a game for the Spartans.
“So far we’ve only had rain delays that got canceled, so this wasn’t really something we’ve experienced before,” Heick said.
With the win, Solon sits just one game away from advancing to the state tournament for the first time since 2016. Sitting in the Spartans’ way is a trip to face top-rated Davenport Assumption on Monday.