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Lady Spartans move to No. 2

SOLON– That was a close one.
Emily Ira helped her own cause, singling in Taylor Nearad and pinch-runner Grace McCarty in the fourth inning to give Solon a 2-0 win over No. 12 (4A) West Delaware at Manchester Monday evening.
Ira pitched seven scoreless innings for the win, striking out 14 batters and issuing only one walk while scattering five hits.
It was the 17th win of the season for the undefeated Lady Spartans, who moved up to second place in the Class 4A rankings issued June 13 by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.
Solon spent most of last week on the road, taking a doubleheader from Western Dubuque (6-1 and 12-0) June 11, then returning home for a single 4-0 win over Clear Creek Amana before defeating Davenport North (7-0) and No. 7 (4A) Davenport Assumption (11-0) at the Davenport West Tournament Saturday.
Assumption will get another chance at the Solon girls June 18 (subsequent to publication of this edition) and then the Lady Spartans are off to Fort Dodge for a weekend tournament. Solon hosts Central DeWitt Monday, June 23, and Independence Thursday, June 26.
Starting pitchers Ira and Holly Hinkel have continued to dominate the opposition for Solon.
According to Quikstatsiowa.com, Ira has 10 of Solon’s wins, while Hinkel has seven.
Ira has not allowed a single earned run yet this season, holding opponents to a measly .123 batting average striking out 114 while issuing only eight walks.
Hinkel has 33 strikeouts against eight walks and those batting against her are averaging .181.
The two double-teamed Western Dubuque June 11, with Ira striking out 13 batters and allowing only three hits in a 6-1 win and Hinkel with two strikeouts and two hits allowed in a 12-0 victory.
Solon jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the game one, tacking on an insurance run in the fifth. Riley Ogden went 2-3 at the plate with a double and three RBI. The Lady Spartans banged out 13 hits, including five doubles, in the second game. Nearad and Monika Bevans each had two doubles and two RBI, while Ali Herdliska was 3-3 with a double and an RBI.
Solon was held to only five hits the next night when Clear Creek Amana came to town, but the Lady Spartans made them count, scoring once in the fourth inning , once in the fifth and twice in the sixth to take a 4-0 win.
Ira held the Clippers to two hits and struck out 13 batters.
The bats came alive again at the Davenport West Tournament, where the Lady Spartans came up with 12 hits, including three doubles and three triples, against Davenport North in a 7-0 win.
Solon scored at least one run in each of the first four innings, with Nearad going 2-3 with a double, a triple and two RBI.
Hinkel gave up three hits and struck out seven in five innings.
Fifteen more hits came against Assumption, including three singles each for Mallory Madsen and Jess Heick. Sydney Lawson had three RBI.