Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Liberty High landed the first blow in a doubleheader at Solon on Thursday with an 11-run first inning in a 14-11 win in game one.
The Spartans battled off the ropes to salvage a split.
Brick Kabela tossed 5 2/3 strong innings and Solon erased an early 2-0 deficit in an 8-4 win in the nightcap of a non-conference doubleheader at Solon Nature and Recreation Area.
“The last half of the first game we hit the ball really well and played really well so we just had to flush the start and carry that momentum into the second game,” Kabela said. “That’s what we did.”
Liberty High (13-11) sent 15 batters to the plate and had eight hits in the first inning of the opening while putting up 11 runs.
The Lightning held off a late Solon rally to win the opener behind senior Mason Gardner who had three hits, drove in two runs and picked up the win on the mound allowing two runs, one earned on one hit in 2 2/3 innings of relief.
Solon outscored Liberty High 9-3 over the final six innings of the opener and carried that momentum into game two.
“We played hard and we ran the bases aggressively even though we were down early in that first game,” McSweeney said. “We just kept playing and playing hard and I think that really carried over to the second game and we weren’t flat.”
Liberty High took a 2-0 first-inning lead in game two taking advantage of a rare bout of wildness by Kabela who hit two batters and issued a walk in the first inning.
From that point on Kabela kept the Lightning off balance, holding Liberty High scoreless until the sixth.
“That first inning started tough, I didn’t have the best stuff but after that I got my offspeed clicking,” Kabela said. “I dialed in and was able to hit spots and get into a rhythm.”
The junior right-hander allowed four runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking four before hitting the 110-pitch limit in the sixth.
“He threw 110 pitches and normally he finishes a game with 80, there were a lot of outliers tonight but he’s been consistent for us,” McSweeney said of Kabela. “He keeps us in games and he’s a strike thrower, his four or five starts this year he’s been great.”
Solon took its first lead of the doubleheader with five runs in the fourth.
Sophomore Tyler Bell had a two-run single and freshman Dylan Gorham added an RBI single in the five-run Solon fourth.
After Liberty High cut the lead to 5-4 with two runs in the sixth the Spartans tacked on three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Blake Timmons and Brett White each had RBI doubles in the sixth inning.
“Our two-strike approach as hitters has been a lot better we aren’t striking out as much,” McSweeey said. “A lot of the RBIs we’ve had the last two weeks are coming with strikes and that has been to our guys’ credit.”
Solon improved to 15-10 with the win in game two and will face Harlan (10-10) on Friday.
The game-two loss was just the second in the last seven games for Liberty High which hosts Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader on Friday.
“I love facing this type of competition,” Kabela said. “It’s fun to get a game like this, under the lights and against a team like this you know you are going to have to battle and compete and that’s what I like.”
Liberty High (11)01 020 0 – 14 13 2
Solon 220 201 4 – 11 9 4
W – Mason Gardner L – Blake Timmons
2B – SOL: Brett White, ICL: Mason Gardner, Luke Mayer
Liberty High 200 002 0 – 4 7 2
Solon 000 503 x – 8 6 0
W – Brick Kabela L – Andrew Olthoff
2B – SOL: Blake Timmons, Brett White