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Spartans escape Demons in quarterfinal

Solon tops Washington, 6-5
Solon first baseman Kinnick Pusteoska prepares to catch the ball and apply the tag after a pick-off move by pitcher Lucas Walker during the Spartans’ 6-5 win over the Washington Demons in Class 3A Substate 5 regional quarterfinal July 17.

SOLON– The Spartans came up with the runs they needed.
Twice, the Washington (Ia.) Demons took the lead, and twice Solon’s varsity baseball team made its way back.
The Spartans edged the Demons in a Class 3A Substate 5 regional quarterfinal plating the winning run in the bottom of the seventh for a 6-5 victory July 17 in Solon.
The win advanced Solon to a regional semifinal against Clear Creek Amana July 20 in Tiffin.
The Demons wasted no time with their postseason opportunity, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Solon starter Lucas Walker. Another run in the top of the third made it 3-0 for Washington.
But with two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the third, the Spartans put together a rally.
Senior Cole Arduser drew a walk on four straight pitches, one so high it sailed into the backstop, and stole second on a wild pitch. Sophomore Kinnick Pusteoska drew another four-pitch walk, setting the table for senior Nolan Pattison, who singled to right, scoring Arduser.
After junior Brady Jeworrek was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded for senior Carson Shive, who drilled a single to left, scoring Pusteoska.
With the bases still juiced, Washington opted for a pitching change, but senior Sully Steen was plunked by a pitch, forcing Pattison home, and Jeworrek took home on a wild pitch.
When the Demons took a 5-4 lead in the fifth, the Spartans came up with some more clutch hitting in the sixth when Arduser drove in senior Cael O’Neill to tie the game, 5-5, noted Solon Head Baseball Coach Keith McSweeney.
“I was very proud of our resiliency all night long coming back twice in a high-stakes game,” McSweeney said. “Our team really grew and we hope to draw from that experience in our next round game(s).”
Pusteoska and Shive each had two of the Spartans’ seven hits. Pattison had two RBI, while Arduser had a double and an RBI. Solon struck out five times, but drew eight walks.
Walker struck out seven and walked two on the mound while allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits. Junior Jacob Smith faced the final six batters, striking out one, walking one and giving up one hit.
“I was really proud of our seniors and particularly impressed with Lucas Walker,” McSweeney said. “He's taken some time off because of some soreness and just really gutted it out for 6 2/3. He's a big reason we were able to pull out the victory.”