By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Entering the first varsity start of his career Cole Milder just wanted to do enough with the opportunity to stay in the lineup.
The junior center fielder did that and plenty more on Monday evening against Solon.
Milder slugged a two-run home run in his first at bat and finished with three RBI to help City High to a 14-2 win over Solon in a non-conference contest shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.
“Cole played JV last week for us and did a really good job and he earned his opportunity today,” City High coach Brian Mitchell said. “He brings a passion to the game and he’s a very high-energy game. He has certainly earned some opportunities.”
Milder had hits in his first two at bats, drove in three runs and scored twice in his first varsity start as City High scored more than five runs for the first time this season.
“I was a little nervous but I knew to trust myself and do what I can,” Milder said. “I just had to do what I could to try to stay in the lineup.”
Junior Evan Jones tossed four strong innings in his first varsity start and seven different Little Hawks had hits.
City High snapped a two-game losing skid and improved to 3-2 while Solon dropped to 3-3 with the loss.
Both teams face conference double headers tomorrow with City High opening MVC play at defending 4A champion Cedar Rapids Prairie.
“It’s really big for us and how that translates to tomorrow we will see but we do like our squad,” Mitchell said. “We have the ability to hit up and down it’s just having that aggressive mindset and sometimes I think we question ourselves a little bit so to be able to have that success and build some confidence is going to be hopefully really valuable for us.”
It was all City High from the outset on a picture-perfect Memorial Day evening at Solon.
City High scored a run without a hit in the first when leadoff hitter Travis Reyhons drew a walked a later scored on a wild pitch.
Milder helped the Little Hawks break things open in the second, hammering a two-out, two-run home run that spurred a six-run City High second inning.
“It felt really good off the bat,” Milder said. “I knew it was gone when the whole dugout just exploded.”
Hitting in the ninth spot, Milder hammered a fastball from Solon starter Nick Hofsommer over the fence in right center field to put City High up 3-0.
“I was talking to our other guys and they were saying he was throwing them outside a little bit so I took more of an outside approach,” Milder said. “I just stayed relaxed and hit the ball and it went.”
Caleb Sass added an RBI double in the six-run inning that saw City High send 11 batters to the plate while building a 7-0 lead.
“I couldn’t stop smiling when they were scoring runs,” Jones said. “They were helping me out and I just wanted to get back out there and keep trying to shut them down.”
Pitching with an early seven-run lead Jones retired the first nine batters he faced before allowing back-to-back doubles to Kendrick Harris and Luke Ira to lead off the fourth.
Jones allowed two runs on three hits in his first career start while striking out four without walking a batter.
“I had a really effective slider and I was hitting the inside part of the plate really well,” Jones said. “I knew we had a good defense out there so I was just trying to throw strikes.”
Jacob Dykes was 2-for-2 with an RBI while Tanner Slauson had a pinch-hit, two-run double for City High.
“Throughout tryouts and up to our first game I was hitting pretty well and I hit a little bit of a slump and I just started making solid contact again yesterday,” Dykes said. “It felt good to get a few hits today.”
Tyler Linderbaum added an RBI single for Solon which hosts Class 2A No. 3 Dyersville Beckman in a WAMAC doubleheader.
City High 163 13 – 14 9 1
Solon 000 20 – 2 3 4
W – Evan Jones L – Nick Hofsommer
2B – SOL: Kendrick Harris, Luke Ira. ICH: Caleb Sass, Tanner Slauson.
HR – ICH: Cole Milder