By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – In all his rounds of batting practice at Solon Kendrick Harris can count on one hand how many balls he’s sent over the outfield fence.
When it comes to at-bats that matter the homerun count for Harris was stuck at zero.
It didn’t take long into his junior season for Harris to change that.
Harris smacked the first two home runs of his career in back-to-back at bats as Solon opened the season with a 9-0 win over Muscatine in the first game of a non-conference double header on Monday at Solon.
Muscatine salvaged a split with a 10-0 win in the nightcap that was shortened to six innings by the 10-run rule.
“I was surprised,” Harris said. “I’ve only hit it out a couple of times in practice so I didn’t think I’d be able to hit for power, maybe just a couple of doubles so I was pretty surprised with that.”
Harris slammed a two-run homer in his second plate appearance of the season and added a solo shot his next time to the plate as Solon scored in five of six innings.
“We have him in that leadoff spot as we kind of tinker with the lineup and he can run and is aggressive on the bases but it was a nice little bonus to have him swing it like that,” Solon coach Keith McSweeney said. “He can be that guy that’s getting doubles and Kendrick plays a really nice centerfield for us but doing what he did tonight is a bonus.”
Luke Ira tossed six innings or two-hit baseball in the opener and went 3-for-4 at the plate as Solon won its season opener.
Adam Bock and Tyler Linderbaum each had two hits including a double as Solon hammered out 11 hits in the win.
“It gives us some confidence at the plate,” Ira said. “We had 11 hits in the first game and that shows we can really hit the ball.” “
Solon took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the first inning and Harris tacked on to the lead with the first home run of his career, a two-run blast to left field in the second inning.
“When it came off the bat I didn’t really feel it,” Harris said. “Whenever that happens you know it’s pretty good.”
Harris added a solo shot in the fourth, one of five extra-base hits for the Spartans in the opener.
“That one didn’t feel as good but I still hit it pretty good,” Harris said. “I didn’t think I hit that one as good.”
Ira took care of the rest.
The junior right-hander struck out six and didn’t walk a batter in his six innings of work.
“I don’t think he was behind in a count, maybe one time in six innings he did exactly what we hoped he would do tonight,” McSweeney said. “He hadn’t practiced much because he was at state track and he was sharp tonight and looked great.”
Muscatine used a seven-run fourth inning to break open a scoreless game in the nightcap on its way to a 10-0 win.
Solon left the bases loaded in the second and fourth innings of the nightcap and managed just one hit against Muscatine pitchers Ryan McAtree and Christopher Kent.
Muscatine 000 000 0 – 0 2 3
Solon 240 102 x – 9 11 0
W – Luke Ira. L – Nathan Holliday
2B – SOL: Adam Bock, Luke Ira, Tyler Linderbaum.
HR – SOL: Kendrick Harris (2)
Muscatine 000 721 – 10 8 0
Solon 000 000 – 0 1 2
W – Ryan McAtee. L – Nick Hofsommer
2B – MUS: Austin McAtee, Jacob Mussehl.
3B – MUS: Nolan Osland, Bryce Owen.