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Season ends in Marion

Spartans fall one game short of state
The Solon varsity baseball team, led by first baseman Nolan Pattison, goes through the postgame handshakes with the Marion Indians Wednesday, July 24, after a Class 3A Substate Final game at Marion High School. The Spartans fell, 2-1, to Marion and finished the season with a 22-18 record. The Indians improved to 32-5 and advanced to the 2019 State Tournament.

MARION– A narrow loss to the Marion Indians ended the season for the Solon varsity baseball team July 24.
Marion came through with a bases-loaded, game-winning single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie, advancing the Indians to the state tournament in Des Moines with a 2-1 win.
The Spartans retired with a record of 22-18, just two days after a 3-2 upset win over Oskaloosa in the Class 3A Substate 6 District 12 final July 20.
“We always preach to our guys that big high school games are won or lost in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings and that was the case both Monday and Wednesday night,” said Solon Head Coach Keith McSweeney. “We were on both ends of that, and as elated as we were Monday, we were devastated Wednesday.
“But that's why we play sports... to rise to the challenge, hopefully achieve something bigger than yourself, and have that team experience that bonds individuals forever,” he continued.
Marion spoiled a gutsy performance from Solon’s Cam Miller on the mound.
Despite giving up 11 hits, Miller allowed only two runs (one earned) while striking out eight and issuing no walks.
“Cam pitched great,” McSweeney said. “He’s a huge competitor. He’s our best and we wouldn’t want anyone else out there except for him.”
Miller was able to get ahead in the count against the Indians.
“He was around the plate the whole night and when he wasn’t around the plate it was intentional,” the coach noted. “I think he only had a couple get away from him out of the zone.”
The two teams dueled to a scoreless tie through two innings, although the Indians stranded four runners.
Marion broke through with an RBI single in the bottom of the third, but the Spartans responded in the top of the fourth.
Solon’s Adam Bock and Cole Arduser were hit by pitches with two outs, and courtesy runner Brayden Rickertson scored on a double by Jackson Pipolo.
The game stayed knotted at 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh when McSweeney issued intentional passes to load the bases with two outs.
“We were behind in the count right away,” he said. “But Cam had been locating all night, we were kind of counting on getting ahead.”
Miller left a fastball up and that was the game.
“They executed when they needed to, so hat’s off to them,” he said of the Indians. “They came out hitting the baseball.
“A lot of credit to them, they barreled up some balls,” he continued. “We were able to track some of those down, and a lot of them were two outs and we were able to make a play.
“I felt like we minimized a lot tonight,” he added. “I’m never going to say we were lucky to be in anything, because we made all those plays and made all those pitches.”
Miller, Bock, Pipolo and Ryan Geistkemper accounted for Solon’s hits.
The Marion loss mirrored the win over Oskaloosa with the roles reversed. Both games were against Indians. Against Osky, Solon came up with a late run to break the tie.
Oskaloosa had jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Spartan starter Lucas Walker in Oskaloosa July 22.
But in the top of the fourth, Chris McSweeney drew a 12-pitch walk and advanced to third on a double by Pipolo. McSweeney scored on Jax Flynn's infield hit and Pipolo advanced to third, scoring the tying run when Geistkemper struck out swinging on a wild pitch.
In the top of the sixth, Nolan Pattison reached on a two-out error and pinch runner Rickerston scored on Geistkemper’s two-out double to the left-centerfield fence for the 3-2 final.
Walker held Oskaloosa scoreless after the first, allowing four hits while striking out eight and walking three over six innings. Miller struck out the side in one inning of relief.
Solon made the most of five hits, provided by Miller, Pipolo, Flynn, Geistkemper and Brady Jeworrek.

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The Marion loss was the final game for four Solon seniors– Adam Bock, Chris McSweeney, Jackson Pipolo and Ryan Geistkemper.
“It was a group that sacrificed significantly for our program,” Coach McSweeney said of his seniors. “All of them put in a tremendous amount of time, experienced their share of failure, but they all stayed the course and did things the right way.”
Bock was a four-year starter who was required to report to South Dakota State for football and missed the last two weeks of the season, he said.
“But Adam drove back the six-and-a-half hours after morning football workouts in South Dakota to play both Friday and Wednesday in the postseason,” McSweeney said. “He did this for his brothers.”
Geistkemper started college classes in aviation up at the University of Dubuque and would commute back and forth each day during the season so he could play baseball, the coach added.
“Chris transformed himself into a baseball player through literally hundreds of hours of skill work, batting practice and strength training,” he continued, “and Jackson overcame a rough start to his senior season, but kept working the process, stayed positive, elevated his play, and was one of our best players by the end of the year.
“Nobody asked them to do these things, to make these sacrifices,” he said. “They did them because they all had a passion for the game, their school, their teammates, and for the Solon baseball program and they will all be greatly missed.”