Your Prep Sports
SOLON – On paper Solon and Marion were nearly dead even.
Last week on the field the two WAMAC East Division foes took turns winning tight games in a regular season doubleheader.
Entering their Class 3A, Region 7 quarterfinal on Thursday the two teams had nearly identical records, each with 20 wins, and the season statistics were eerily similar.
The winner-take-all rubber match on Thursday in Solon was every bit as close as everyone imagined it would be with Marion edging Solon 7-6 in a nine-inning thriller.
“I kind of figured it would be this type of tight game,” Solon coach Brad Holub said. “(Assistant coach) Corey (Keeney) and I were talking on the way home from practice about what it was going to take to win and I had a number in my mind and he said 6 and that’s what I said. That’s what I thought it was going to take and we scored six but we gave up one more.”
Marion (21-17) snapped a 4-4 tie with three runs in the top of the ninth inning and escaped a late charge from Solon in the bottom of the inning to advance to the Region 7 semifinal on Friday against seventh-ranked Clear Creek Amana in Oxford.
Solon closed the season 20-16.
Marion took a 7-4 lead in the top of the ninth inning on a line drive two-run home run to left field by Jazlyn Grosskreutz.
“They made one more play than we did,” Holub said. “We played error free all night, the pitching was right there. That’s a heck of a hitting team. They have close to 40 home runs on that team and we contained them for the most part. They had a couple shots.”
Marion took a 3-0 lead with three runs in the top of the second inning.
The Wolves led 2-0 when the game was delayed for more than an hour by rain and added another run when the game restarted on an RBI single by Peyton Johnson.
Solon answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning on RBI singles by Carly Ellison and Izzy Frees.
The Spartans took their first lead of the game with a pair of solo home runs by Addie Miller and Tiffany Primmer in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Marion eventually tied the score at four with a run in the top of the sixth as Slaymaker lined a double off the left field fence.
Solon had base runners in both the sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t push a run across.
“We just kept coming back,” Holub said. “We had a couple innings where I thought we could scratch across one or two and we just didn’t get the timely hit.”
Marion used the two-run homer by Grosskreutz to take a 7-4 lead but Solon came right back.
Miller and Frees had back-to-back singles leading off the ninth and scored on RBI groundouts by Mia Stahle and Meg O’Neil.
Solon had the tying run on third with two outs in the bottom of the inning but Marion pitcher Haley Slaymaker got Ava Stebral to hit a hard ground ball to third for the final out.
“We battled and it shows the character of those young ladies over there,” Holub said. “We were down three runs in the ninth and we come back and battle and we leave the tying run at third base and we get a hard shot, we hit the ball hard they just made a play.”
Marion 030 001 03 – 7 13 0
Solon 020 020 02 – 6 10 0
W – Haley Slaymaker L – Kendall Jensen
2B – MAR: Haley Slaymaker
HR – SOL: Addie Miller, Tiffany Primmer. MAR: Michaela Goad, Jazlyn Grosskreutz