Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Well after the sun had set and Solon minutes following Solon’s doubleheader sweep of WAMAC rival Center Point-Urbana on Wednesday Dave Johnson stepped out of the Spartan dugout still sweating.
“It’s good softball weather,” the second-year Solon head coach said.
That has been true for Class 3A 11th ranked Solon that has seen its bats heated up as quickly as the temperature in a pair of doubleheader sweeps this week.
After scoring 31 runs in a sweep of Dyersville Beckman on Monday Solon pounded 14 hits while sweeping Center Point-Urbana (4-8) on Wednesday in Solon.
The Spartans won the opener 8-2 and took the nightcap 5-3 while improving to 11-5 on the season and 8-4 in WAMAC play.
“Everyone has gotten their confidence back,” Solon sophomore shortstop Hilary Wilson said. “We worked really hard the past two weeks getting prepared and coming in on our own and hitting and we are having a lot of good at bats.”
Solon used a three-run third inning to break open a one-run game on its way to an 8-2 win in the opener.
In the nightcap Sarah Heick had an RBI single as part of a two-run fifth inning that snapped a 3-3 tie.
Eight different Spartans had hits and six different players scored runs on Wednesday as Solon got contributions from up and down the line.
“It doesn’t matter where you are batting in the lineup if you are one or nine or somewhere in the middle we all hit the ball well,” Solon junior Camryn Keith said. “We all have really good quality at bats and we are really doing well with our offense.”
After a 6-0 start to the season Solon lost five of its next six games, scoring three or fewer runs four times during that stretch.
Monday at Dyersville Beckman the bats Solon bats began to heat up.
They stayed hot on Wednesday as Solon had four extra-base hits among its 14 hits.
“One of the things that we have been doing this week versus last week is just coming in and getting focused right out of the gate in pre-game hitting and making sure everybody is doing what they should be doing,” Johnson said. “That’s paying off.”
Solon scored runs in the final four innings of the opener to turn a 2-1 deficit into an 8-2 win.
Wilson doubled and Heick had a sacrifice fly in a three-run third inning that gave Solon the lead for good.
Wilson went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored in the opener and finished the doubleheader with five hits.
“We’ve had good practices hitting,” Wilson said. “We are focused at practice and that is showing up.”
Solon took a 3-0 lead in the nightcap with two runs in the first and another run in the second but Center Point-Urbana pulled even with three runs in the fifth.
The Spartans answered quickly in the bottom of the inning as Keith led off with a walk and Wilson reached on a bunt single before Heick followed with an RBI single up the middle.
“Cam and I first two batters we work together and we have a tough lineup behind us,” Wilson said. “We’ve got people all down the lineup.”
Solon got a pair of strong pitching performances on Wednesday from eighth grader Izzy Frees and freshman Kendall Jensen.
Frees allowed two runs on four hits in the opener, striking out six and walking three in her second career start.
“Both nights she had some nerves early, I wouldn’t call it a rocky start but just needed to get her nerves to settle in,” Johnson said. “Once she has settled in, she has thrown well both nights and she has a bright future ahead of her.”
Jensen scattered eight hits while allowing three runs in the nightcap, striking out five and walking three.
Center Point-Urbana had the tying run at the plate in the seventh after Aliza Mollenhauer doubled with one out but Jensen got Ryanne Hansen to pop up to Heick at catcher and got Olivia Perez to ground out to first to end the game.
“Kendall has really been having a tremendous year so far and she has earned it,” Johnson said. “She put in a lot of work in the off season and it’s showing as she is coming through in clutch moments now.”
Center Point-Urbana 101 000 0 – 2 4 6
Solon 103 211 x – 8 7 2
W – Izzy Frees L – Olivia Perez
2B – SOL: Hilary Wilson (2), Jada Buffington. CPU: Aliza Mollenhauer
Center Point-Urbana 000 030 0 – 3 8 2
Solon 210 020 x – 5 7 0
W – Kendall Jensen L – Nicole Coppess
2B – SOL: Carly Ellison. CPU: Aliza Mollenhauer (2), Ryanne Hansen
3B – CPU: Ryanne Hansen