Prep Baseball

Hot bats power Solon to sweep of Marion

Class 3A fourth-ranked Spartans erupt for 29 runs, 24 hits

Solon's Luke Ira (22) heads to second base during a game against Iowa City West at West High in Iowa City on Monday, May 28, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Solon's Luke Ira (22) heads to second base during a game against Iowa City West at West High in Iowa City on Monday, May 28, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

MARION — The common baseball phrase states hitting is contagious.

If that is the case, opponents may want Solon quarantined. The Spartans experienced a full epidemic Friday night.

Class 3A fourth-ranked Solon battered Marion, tallying 29 total runs on 24 hits in a Wamac Conference doubleheader sweep at Marion. The Spartans won the opener, 12-0, in six innings, and needed five for a 17-2 victory in the second game.

The sweep snapped a six-game losing streak to the Indians over the last three years, including postseason losses in 2017 and 2015.

“We just came out ready to play,” Solon Coach Keith McSweeney. “Marion has kind of had our number the last few years. We wanted to make sure we were locked in tonight. Our guys came in ready to compete.”

The first few at-bats were indicative of the twinbill. Luke Ira and Kendrick Harris led off with consecutive singles and Tyler Linderbaum drove in Ira with a sacrifice fly. Solon scored in each inning of the opener and in 10 of the 11 total.

“Our mentality was to be aggressive all night,” Solon’s Payton Bandy said. “Put the pressure on their defense and I think we succeeded.”

Once someone lit the fuse, the Spartans erupted. They fed off each other, closing the first game with two straight three-run, four-hit innings.

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They started the second game the same way they closed the first. Solon spent about 30 minutes, sending 16 batters to the plate in the top of the first. The damage when it was over was 11 runs on four hits. The Spartans also benefited from seven walks, a hit batsman, two balks and three Marion errors.

“It is just rallying and getting on a hits train,” Ira said. “Single after single, it’s kind of demoralizing for the other team.”

Ira and Bandy each finished with four hits apiece, leading Solon. Eight Spartans had at least one hit, eight Spartans scored and eight Spartans drive in at least one run in the opener. The nightcap had a similar balanced attack that closed with four runs in the final inning.

“We have a good corps of seniors, who have been playing with us since they were freshmen, a couple as eighth-graders,” McSweeney said. “There is nothing they haven’t seen in high school baseball, so the game has slowed down quite a bit for those seniors now.”

Solon (23-8, 19-5 Wamac) received solid starts from Cam Miller and Ira. Miller threw all six innings of the shutout, allowing just three hits and striking out nine. Ira followed with a four-hitter.

“It’s tough, because you never know what’s going to happen when it is hot and it is humid,” McSweeney said. “They both weathered that, especially Cam. We located and pounded the zone. You get a big lead and that’s what we should do. They did that.”

Marion (15-13, 12-7) received a two-run double from Nick Cole in the nightcap. Cole finished with two hits to lead the Indians.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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