FORT DODGE — The Solon Spartans generally don’t require much assistance.
They got it Monday, though, and the result was predictably lopsided.
The top-ranked Spartans were beneficiaries of six Waukon errors and handled the Indians, 8-2, in a Class 3A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“When the other team makes errors, you’ve got to capitalize,” said Solon’s Emma Rickels. “You’ve got to hit the ball hard and make them pay.”
Solon (36-6) advances to face No. 5 Estherville-Lincoln Central in a semifinal at 3 p.m. Thursday. The Midgettes (28-6) pounded No. 7 East Marshall, 8-2, Monday.
No matter what happen the rest of the week, the Spartans are guaranteed a much better outcome than last year’s eighth-place finish.
“The first game is the key,” said Spartans Coach Ben Sorden. “We wanted to come out aggressive, and I think we did that fairly well. By the end of the game, we were very aggressive, and good things happened.”
Waukon (14-18) moves into Wednesday’s consolation play. The Indians face East Marshall at 10 a.m., with another game to follow at 2 p.m.
Indians Coach Bob Wassson saw trouble brewing before his team took the field.
“You could definitely see the state-tournament jitters,” Wasson said. “You could tell before the game that they were really nervous and really tight. They weren’t laughing and joking like they usually are.”
Solon’s first six runs were unearned. The bottom of the second inning began E-5, E-1 and E-6, and that led to a four-run uprising that tilted the game in the Spartans’ favor for good.
Arran Weeces highlighted the frame with a two-run double.
“Coach doesn’t want us to swing at the first pitch unless it’s really good, but I saw that one and thought, ‘I want that one. I want that one,’ ” Weeces said.
Weeces (19-2) also picked up the pitching win, giving up two runs on four hits in six innings. She struck out seven and walked none.
“It wasn’t her ‘A’ game, but it was good enough,” Sorden said after hot-footing it to the other diamond to watch the closing moments of Estherville-Lincoln Central’s win. “We had a big lead, and I wanted to throw as many strikes as we could.”
Rickels delivered an RBI double in the third inning to make it 5-0. Taylor Nearad scored on a wild pitch in the fifth, then No. 9 batter Rylee Smith hit her first home run of the season, a two-run shot, in the sixth.
Weeces retired the first 10 batters she faced before Daneshia Snitker homered to right-center field in the fourth inning. Mullen Wacker doubled home Abie Mellick in the sixth.
|3A State Quarterfinal||R||H||E|
|Waukon||0 0 0||1 0 1||0||–||2||4||6|
|Solon||0 4 1||0 1 2||x||–||8||8||0|
Daneshia Snitker, Billy Brink (3) and Courtney Wikan. Arran Weeces, Emily Ira (7) and Hannah Turkal. W — Weeces (19-2). L — Sniker (2-3). HR — W: Snitker (5), S: Rylee Smith (1).