SOLON– The Lady Spartans captured the WaMaC East conference championship and moved closer to a state tournament trip last week.
Solon’s softball squad ended the regular season with doubleheader sweeps at Anamosa and Center Point-Urbana (CPU) and then hosted Anamosa in the opening round of Region 5 substate play.
The Lady Spartans defeated Anamosa 8-0 in the district quarterfinal, and were scheduled to face Marion in a regional semifinal Monday night (July 11) in Solon. The winner would advance to the regional final Wednesday, July 13, at 7 p.m. in Solon.
Arran Weeces returned to the mound for the Lady Spartans in three of the five games played last week and pitched two no-hit beauties against the Anamosa squad.
In the quarterfinal, Weeces struck out 14, walked two batters and hit one with a pitch after being staked to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Kara Misel was 3-4 for the game with two doubles and a two-run home run, while Emily Bransky, Ali Herdliska and Rachel Stewart each added doubles. The Lady Spartans banged out 13 hits and scored in five of the seven innings to advance in postseason play.
Weeces pitched five almost-perfect innings in the opening game of the July 5 road doubleheader against Anamosa. Weeces put up 14 strike-outs against no walks, no hits and no runs in the 13-0 win (the perfect game prevented by an error). Bransky and Alyssa Rickels were both a perfect 4-4 at the plate. Bransky doubled, tripled, scored three runs and had three RBI while Rickels scored three times and stole two bases.
In the second game, Holly Hinkel took the mound in an 8-0 shut-out, striking out two and scattering four hits.
Solon again scored in multiple innings, jumping out to a 4-0 lead on Misel’s three-run homer and then adding insurance runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings. Misel and Casey Musgrave were 3-4 at the plate, while Mel Breza went 2-3.
The very next day (July 6), the Lady Spartans traveled to Center Point for their final games of the regular season.
Weeces struck out five and walked one in a one-hitter for an 11-0 win in the first game while Hinkel and Kristen Purdy teamed up for a 4-2 climax in the nightcap.
Misel went 3-4 with five RBI in the first game, whiel Alyssa Rickels was 3-3, scoring four runs and collecting two RBI.
Solon trailed in the second game after two unearned runs put CPU ahead 1-2, but the Lady Spartans rallied in the second and third innings and both teams were scoreless from the fourth inning on, leaving Solon with a 31-7 regular season record and the WaMaC East division championship.
Herdliska, Musgrave and Emma Rickels each rapped doubles in the second game to pace the Lady Spartans.