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Spartans sweep Indians and Bobcats

Solon scores 38 runs in two doubleheaders
Junior Brady Jeworrek watches the ball fly off his bat during game one of a doubleheader with Benton Community July 2 in Solon. The Spartans swept the Bobcats, 11-5 and 9-3. (photos by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– The Spartans went 5-0.
Solon’s varsity baseball team swept doubleheaders from Marion and Benton Community and pulled out an eighth-inning win at Mid-Prairie last week, upping the team’s season record to 10-4.
Solon picked up two WaMaC East wins at struggling Marion June 29, riding a one-hit pitching performance by junior Brayden Rickertson in a 9-1 game-one win and fending off the Indians, 9-7, in the nightcap.
The Spartans stayed on the road the next day for a single game against Mid-Prairie and pushed past the Golden Hawks on a two-out, two-RBI single by incoming freshman Brett White, 6-4.
Solon headed into the holiday break hosting cross-conference foe Benton Community July 2 at home, handling the Bobcats 11-5 and 9-3.
The Spartans scored 44 runs over the course of the five games, hitting a high mark by hitting .438 and .435 against the Bobcats.
“Coach (Jim) White has been working with our hitters every morning,” noted Solon Head Baseball Coach Keith McSweeney. McSweeney said the team has changed its routine to include hour-long offensive and defensive sessions in the morning, even on game days. “I believe they are starting to see the dividends from their hard work and the goal is to continue to improve,” he added.
But the week started with an excellent pitching performance by Rickertson in Marion.
Rickertson struck out 10 and walked four while allowing a single unearned run on one hit in a seven-inning complete game.
He nursed a 1-0 lead, holding the Indians off the scoreboard until the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Spartan offense, however, came to life and broke the 1-1 tie with four runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth to seal the 9-1 win.
White had three of the team’s 10 hits, and was one of three Spartans with two RBI (freshman Blake Timmons and senior Cole Arduser were the others). Arduser and junior Drew Turner had doubles.
Game two was a see-saw affair, with Solon jumping out to a 4-1 first-inning lead, only to find Marion doggedly in pursuit. The Indians pulled to within a run in the second, and chipped away after the Spartans added two more runs in the third.
By the top of the seventh, it was a 7-7 tie, and Solon was able to score twice more for the 9-7 victory.
Senior Lucas Walker struck out 12 and walked four over 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs (four earned) on five hits. Junior Jacob Smith pitched 1 1/3 innings, striking out three and giving up one hit in relief.
Arduser, senior Nolan Pattison and junior Carson Shive each had two RBI for the Spartans. Timmons, junior Brady Jeworrek and senior Cael O’Neill had doubles. Jeworrek was 3-4 at the plate with three runs scored.
The bats quieted down the next night in Wellman.
Solon produced its six runs on only six hits, but managed eight walks.
The Spartans scored two runs in each of first two innings, but the Golden Hawks broke through with four runs in the bottom of the third to tie the game.
It stayed that way until the top of the eighth inning.
“They (Mid-Prairie) brought in a reliever with a slow/high curve and our guys were just really disciplined and either took or fouled off a bunch of pitches,” McSweeney noted. “We went deep into a bunch of counts, took some free bases, and then ultimately made them pay when Brett White singled in two with the bases loaded and two outs.
“It was a real clutch at-bat,” he continued. “I think he went eight or nine pitches into the at-bat before knocking in the go-ahead runs.”
Timmons relieved starter Drew Turner after three innings and allowed only one hit to go with two strikeouts and a walk over five innings in the 6-4 win.
McSweeney said O'Neill made an outstanding defensive play in center to keep runners off base in the bottom half of the eighth.
“I was very proud of our guy's toughness and how they executed at the end,” he said.
The offense heated back up again as Solon hosted Benton Community heading into the holiday weekend July 2.
The Spartans belted out 24 hits in the home doubleheader.
Solon loaded the bases to start the first game against Benton and drew first blood when Pattison singled. Jeworrek followed with a shallow fly ball mishandled by the Bobcat defense, and Shive smashed a line drive that ricocheted off the Benton pitcher. The Spartans led, 3-0.
Jacob Smith allowed an RBI groundout in the top of the second, but White smacked a two-run double to right field and made it 5-1 in the bottom of the inning.
The Bobcats didn’t manage another run until the fifth inning. By then, Solon’s lead had bloomed to 7-2, and the Spartans tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the sixth to pad the margin.
Smith struck out three and walked one while allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits.
Pattison was 3-4 with two RBI, Jackson Ryan was 2-3 with a double and three runs scored, and Shive was 2-4 with two RBI.
Senior Sully Steen kept the Bobcats scoreless over six innings in the 9-3 nightcap. Steen struck out one and walked two, allowing only three hits.
By the time he left the mound, Solon had scored all nine of its runs.
Sophomore Kinnick Pusteoska lit up the scoreboard, going 2-2 with a home run, a double and three RBI. O’Neill was 3-3 with a double and two runs scored, Shive added two singles and Timmons had two hits and two runs scored.