The Solon Spartans were all business Friday, July 19 in the first round of the Class 3A District Baseball Tournament.
The Spartans knocked off the Pella High Little Dutch 13-0 in five-innings in a game played in the sweltering July heat in Oskaloosa.
Game time temperature was in the mid-90s at the start with the heat index well in excess of 100. There was a breeze that helped the cause throughout the game.
The brisk breeze was blowing in from left field.
The start of the game was pushed back one hour to help with the elements of the weather.
Pella was the visiting team on the scoreboard. The Dutch got their leadoff batter on base in the first as River Baker drew a walk and was sacrificed to second by Nick DeJong laying down a bunt.
Baker, however, was left stranded at second asa the inning came to a close.
Solon managed one run in the bottom of the first as Cole Arduser hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Cam Miller, who reached with a single to open the inning for the Spartans.
Pella had a single by Nick Grandia in the second, but nothing materialized for the Dutch after that.
In the bottom of the second, Solon tacked on three more runs on just two hits and they were aided by three walks, a hitter batter and a Dutch error.
Pella starting pitcher Tanner Dunsbergen worked 1.2 innings before being relieved by left-hander Mason Wittmer.
The Spartans turned a double play in the third when DeJong flew out to center and Baker was thrown out at first on the play with a relay from the shortstop.
Solon made it 5-0 with a run in the third with a run on two hits. The RBI was a double by Ryan Gerstkemper.
Pella coach Jesse Jablonski called on the bullpen with three pitchers in the fourth.
It was a long inning for Solon as they scored eight runs on four hits. Two runs scored on wild pitches but the big blast was a three-run home run by catcher Adam Bock.
The contest ended with Solon on top 13-0 behind the pitching of Miller. He fanned eight and walked one while throwing just 58 pitches in the game.
Dunsbergen took the loss on the hill.
The Dutch had three hits for the night, one each by DeJong, Noah Van Vark with a pinch-hit in the fifth and Grandia.
The Spartans collected 13 runs on nine hits.
The Spartans improved to 21-17 with the win.
Pella Coach Jesse Jablonski stated, “We had been playing very well coming into the playoffs and our guys were full of confidence. Consistency was a problem for us throughout the year, but we really felt like the last week everything was starting to come together in all phases of the game and we had put together several solid games. But we ran into a great pitcher in Cam Miller in the playoff game, and he had all four of his pitches working for him on the mound and he was able to keep our offense down all night.”
He added, “Defensively, we gave Solon too many free bases in the game. Anytime you walk 8 batters and hit another 2, that's just too much extra traffic on the bases to try and too many opportunities to score runs. Good teams will find a way to take advantage of those situations and Solon definitely cashed in when they had their chances. “
Odds and Ends
The Spartans opened the season 13-3 before struggling at the end of the year.
Pella wrapped up a frustrating season on the field with a mark of 11-23. Pella entered the district contest having won two in a row.
The Dutch lost 10 games by two runs or less.
Jablonski said it was a disappointing end to the season.