Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – Throughout the course of a 40-game regular season Solon found all sorts of ways to win baseball games.
Come playoff time it’s usually strong pitching and clean defense that are paramount to success.
Solon got both on Friday paired with a Brett White home run in a 2-0 win over Clear Creek Amana in a Class 3A, Substate 4 quarterfinal in Tiffin.
Vince Steinbrech tossed a three-hit shutout and White launched a solo blast in the fourth as Solon (22-19) advanced to the substate semifinals for the first time since
“It was pitching and defense tonight,” Solon coach Keith McSweeney said. “We really fed off of Vince tonight and that’s how you win in the postseason.”
Steinbrech didn’t allow a hit after a leadoff single by Trace Robertson in the fifth inning, retiring the final eight batters he faced.
The junior right-hander struck out seven and walked four in the complete game as Solon advanced to take on sixth-ranked Dubuque Wahlert (27-13) on Monday at 7 p.m. at Petrakis Park in Dubuque.
“I was using my fastball well tonight,” Steinbrech said. “Some of my pitches weren’t working as good as I wanted them to but I had two going and it was enough tonight.”
Clear Creek Amana senior left-hander Josh Loren spun his own gem on Friday giving up two runs on six hits while striking out six and walking one in 6 2/3 innings.
Steinbrech, who entered with a 2-4 record and a 4.08 ERA was even better.
“The way Vince was pitching tonight I thought one run was going to do it tonight,” White said. “Vince pitched awesome, Loren pitched awesome too. He’s a good pitcher and he was on tonight.”
Both pitchers were dominant early.
Loren retired the first eight hitters he faced before a two-out single by Garrett Stebral in the third.
Steinbrech allowed just one hit through three, a two-out single by Reese Hoffman in the third.
“Vince the second half of the season really kind of came into his own,” McSweeney said. “Coach Shulista the work he did with him in the offseason and the first half of the season has really paid off, he became a horse tonight and we got on his back a little bit.”
White gave Solon all the offense it would need when he led of the fourth inning with a solo shot to left center field.
“The first two pitches I got down and I was kind of mad at myself because I missed a fastball,” White said. “He shook something off and gave me a pitch middle in and that was my spot. He hung something and I took advantage of it.”
The seventh home run of the season by White gave Solon a 1-0 lead and Steinbrech all the support he would need.
“We were just trying to grind it out,” White said. “All the games we’ve played this year have been really close, we’ve had like five extra innings games, so we felt like if we could get Vince a lead we’d be good.”
Steinbrech escaped trouble in the fourth and fifth before finishing strong.
Maclane Morgan led off the Clipper fourth with a triple to center field but Steinbrech got Ty Fuller to pop out to third.
Following a walk to Caleb Allan Steinbrech escaped the inning when he snagged a Loren bunt attempt in the air and doubled Allan off first.
“That was a huge point in the game,” Steinbrech said. “I think that was a real boost.”
Clear Creek Amana put runners on first and second with no out in the fifth on a Robertson single and a walk to leadoff hitter David Williams.
However, Dylan Gorham snagged a sharply hit line drive off the bat of Hoffman in center field and doubled off Robertson at second.
“It’s kind of how the ball bounces a little bit but we were opportunistic defensively, we took advantage of some of their base running gaffes and we kept momentum in our dugout and we were able to build on that,” McSweeney said. “That was big.”
Clear Creek Amana had seven batters reach base in the third, fourth and fifth innings but failed to take advantage.
Solon meanwhile tacked on a run in the seventh when Ty Bell walked with one out and scored on a two-out RBI single by the middle by ninth-place hitter Garrett Stebral.
Stebral had half of the Spartans hits on Friday finishing 3-for-3.
“It feels good after losing last year in the first round,” Steinbrech said. “Just getting past the first round feels good.”
Solon 000 100 1 – 2 6 0
Clear Creek Amana 000 400 x – 0 3 0
W – Vince Steinbrech L – Josh Loren
3B – CCA: Maclane Morgan
HR – SOL: Bret White