SOLON– Head coach Keith McSweeney is confident his guys will be ready.
With a makeup doubleheader against Marion Monday night and a single game Tuesday against No. 7 (4A) Cedar Rapids Prairie, the Spartan varsity baseball team will head into the postseason this Friday, hosting West Delaware in a substate semifinal at 7 p.m.
Davenport Assumption and Marion await on the other side of the bracket, with the Class 3A District 6 final to be settled Monday, July 22, in Solon at 7 p.m.
The Spartans moved their season record to 25-11 last week, splitting a doubleheader with Mount Vernon, defeating Washington and crushing Independence before running into the Cedar Rapids Kennedy Cougars Saturday.
Solon was shut out by Kennedy 5-0, the first time this season the Spartans have been held without a score.
“Our performance this past week was inconsistent, but much of that was due to the quality of the competition during the Kennedy game,” said McSweeney. “They were able to keep our hitters guessing and they took advantage of our mistakes.”
Senior Todd Oberthien took the loss for Solon, allowing only three earned runs and seven hits while striking out two and walking none.
The Spartans were limited to just four singles in the game.
That was in contrast to the slugfest the Spartans enjoyed during a double-dip in Independence Wednesday, July 10.
Solon took both games, 12-0 and 20-0.
Nick Hofsommer allowed only four hits against Indee, striking out two and walking two on the way to the win.
Although Solon nursed a 1-0 lead for the first three innings, run support came late in the game, with three runs in the fifth inning and six more in the seventh. Nearly half of Solon’s 13 hits were doubles, and the team as a whole collected 11 RBI, led by Mitch Silberstein with three.
The Spartans banged out 20 runs on 19 hits in the second game, posting winning pitcher Tim Lance to a 14-0 lead after three innings.
Elijah Kane was 3-3 with a double and three RBI; Chris McNutt went 2-2 with a home run and a double; Colton Dall and Dalton Ferguson each had a double and three RBI.
The doubleheader at Independence was the third day in a row to find the Spartans playing.
The day before, they took a 9-3 win over Washington, with Silberstein scattering five hits while striking out four and allowing only a single earned run for the win.
The Solon offense stayed patient at the plate, picking up 11 walks to go along with nine hits, including a 2-3 performance by Lance and a 3-5 outing by Oberthien.
The Spartans started the week with a doubleheader split on the road at Mount Vernon. Solon took the first game 10-3 behind the combined pitching efforts of Ferguson, Oberthien and Silberstein. Oberthien struck out nine batters in less than four innings. At the plate, Austin Holub was 2-2 with a double and four RBI.
The Spartans dropped the second game, 8-4, with Nathan Hawkins suffering the loss. Dall was 2-3 at the plate with three RBI.
“As far as the post season goes, our team has made an effort to improve each week the season has progressed with the goal of peaking during district play,” McSweeney said. “We are in a position to do that and I believe we will play our best baseball.
“The competition is going to be very good in our substate and we will need to be at our best to advance,” he said. “These games will come down to pitching, defense and clutch hitting.”