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Spartans take two from CCA Clippers

Varsity baseball team has won seven of last nine

SOLON– The Spartan baseball team swept Anamosa and Clear Creek Amana (CCA) last week, helping pave the way for Solon to host its substate bracket.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association schedule for Class 3A’s substate will allow the Spartans to play their way into the state tournament without leaving town.
Solon’s varsity baseball team is currently 18-12 (as of July 8) with just a handful of games remaining in the regular season.
The Spartans split with league-leaders Dyersville Beckman (Monday night, July 7) and Williamsburg (July 3), but more importantly took both games from the Clippers and the Raiders of Anamosa.
“We were battling with CCA for the No. 1 seed in our district pod, and it appears that we’ve secured that spot with our performance,” Solon head coach Keith McSweeney said. “Our ultimate goal is to maximize our potential to succeed in these (home) games and get to Des Moines. We placed ourselves in the most advantageous position with our play this week and now we just need to focus on continuing our climb.”
The Spartans went 5-1 last week and have won seven of their last nine games.
“I believe our pitching was the difference all week as we struggled offensively moving base runners once they were in scoring position,” McSweeney said in review.
Nathan Hawkins threw a two-hit shut-out with 11 strike-outs against Anamosa June 30, while Dillon Drake allowed only one hit in his seven innings in the nightcap. Solon won 5-0 and 7-2.
In Hawkins’ win, eight different Spartans had a hit, including doubles by Elijah Kane and Logan Linderbaum. Drake had two RBI to lead the team, which collected nine walks from the Anamosa pitchers.
In the second game, Solon broke the game open with five runs in the fifth inning, with two RBI each for Elijah and Lucas Kane. Luke Ira was 3-4 with a double and scored twice, while Patrick Maston was 2-3 with a double and also scored twice.
The games with the Clippers July 2, moved to Solon because of wet field conditions in Tiffin, were a little tighter.
Linderbaum’s clutch two-run homer in the seventh inning gave pitcher Mitch Silberstein some added cushion in a 4-1 opener, while Maston gave up only three hits and no runs in a 1-0 win in the second game.
The Spartans cranked out 10 hits in the first game, with Lucas Kane going 2-3, Hawkins going 3-4 and Linderbaum 3-3 at the plate. Only Linderbaum and Drake managed hits in the second game, with Linderbaum scoring the only run.
“Nathan Hawkins and Mitch Silberstein have continued to pitch very well, with Nathan pitching a complete game against Anamosa for the win and Mitch against CCA,” McSweeney said. “But the younger guys in our rotation– Dillon Drake, Patrick Maston, Luke Ira, Eric Holtorf and Cameron Fitzpatrick– really did a great job limiting our opponents’ offensive production and kept us in games despite low offensive output.”
WaMaC West leader Williamsburg banged out nine runs in the first three innings against Solon in the opening game of a home doubleheader July 3, a 10-2 loss.
Holtorf and Fitzpatrick combined on the mound, with Fitzpatrick striking out six batters. The Spartans were held to five hits, including an RBI-double for Dalton Ferguson.
In the second game, Solon was ahead 2-1 entering the seventh inning with Ira on the mound.
A one-out error followed by a walk, a base hit, and an overthrow resulted in a 3-2 Williamsburg lead going into the bottom of the inning, McSweeney said.
Linderbaum and Ira drew walks, and Ferguson hit a two-out single to score Linderbaum and tie the game.
In the eighth inning, Hawkins relieved Ira and retired Williamsburg in order.
Elijah Kane reached on an infield hit and advanced to third after a walk to Hawkins and a wild pitch. Lucas Kane then hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to right to score Elijah and end the game, 4-3.  
“It was gratifying seeing the team battle through some adversity to salvage the split,” McSweeney said.
Solon managed another split against a top opponent Monday night, July 7, on the road at Dyersville.
Silberstein pitched another complete game in a 4-2 win, scattering five hits and allowing only a single earned run.
Hawkins, Fitzpatrick, Ferguson and Jarrett Stallman all saw time on the mound in a 11-4 loss.
The Spartans begin postseason play Friday, July 18, hosting Center Point-Urbana in the first round of the District 10 playoffs. The District 10 final would be played Monday, July 21, in Solon, as would the substate play-in game between District 9 and District 10 champs Wednesday, July 23.