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Solon knocks off CCA 15-4 in first round at Ft. Dodge

North Liberty Leader
FORT DODGE– Clear Creek Amana’s (CCA) softball season came to a painful end Monday, July 21, in the opening round of the Class 4A State Softball Championships as rival Solon pounded the Clippers, 15-4.
It was the third loss this year to the Spartans after falling 12-0 to them in tournament action back in May, and dropping a 4-0 regular season contest in June.
It was hot and muggy in Fort Dodge, and the weather appeared to have a direct impact on the game– Solon set a tournament record with 21 hits, while CCA had nine, and both teams were knocking the ball into the fence at INS Field on the grounds of Harlan Rogers Park.
Despite the eventual score, the Clippers had their chances, but stranded nine runners over the course of the game and handed the Spartans some opportunities with untimely mistakes.
Perhaps the best chance came in the bottom of the first inning.
Solon had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, coming up with three consecutive two-out singles.
When the Clippers came to bat, Lauren Stopko singled, Molly Villhauer walked and Eden Campbell reached on an error to load the bases with one out.
But Solon pitcher Emily Ira got Lexi Kinnaird to pop up and Grace Murray struck out looking to end the inning.
In the top of the third, Solon’s offense tagged CCA pitcher Kinnaird for four runs, and the Clippers were down 5-0.
Mallory Neubauer put the Clippers on the board and helped her team seize some momentum in the bottom half of the inning with a home run over the center field fence.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Creek Girls picked up two more runs as Megan Beckler and Abbi Kinnaird, running for Lexi Kinnaird and Molly Villhauer, came home when Grace Murray’s deep fly ball landed on the ground between two colliding Lady Spartans.
CCA’s final run came in the bottom of the sixth as Lauren Stopko singled to drive in Madi Rogers.
Unfortunately, every time the Clippers would make a dent in the Solon defense, the Spartans would strike back with more offense. Five runs by Solon in the sixth put the game out of reach for the Clippers while two more in the seventh sealed their doom.
The Clippers had nine hits from Mallory Neubauer, Stopko (2), Villhauer, Eden Campbell, Lexi Kinnaird, Murray and Rogers (2) while the Spartans put up 21.
CCA had runners on base in all but the second inning.
Lexi Kinnaird went the distance in the circle, giving up 21 hits and 15 runs. Nobody was walked, and Kinnaird struck out four.
The Clippers had won eight straight games coming into the state tournament.
CCA still held a winning record of 22-18 ahead of a consolation game Wednesday, July 23, against Oskaloosa, which lost 7-2 to Carlisle. Also in the consolation bracket was Le Mars and West Delaware.