SOLON — There’s good. There’s great.
And there’s Solon.
“Top to bottom, that’s one of the most fundamentally solid hitting teams I’ve seen in a long time,” West Delaware Coach Kevin Schuchmann said after the Class 4A fourth-ranked Spartans romped to a pair of 10-0 wins in a Wamac Conference East Division softball double-header Monday night at Solon High School Athletic Complex.
The first game went five innings, the nightcap lasted six.
Solon (17-0 overall, 8-0 Wamac East) has bulldozed everything in its path through the first half of the season, outscoring its foes by a margin of 169-17. The Spartans entered the game with a .447 team batting average.
“I didn’t expect this to happen,” said sophomore Taylor Nearad, who drove in six runs — five in the first game — and extended her season RBI total to 28. “I knew we would have a good team. I didn’t think we’d have won them all (to this point).”
Spartans Coach Jim White spent the last 18 years at Clear Creek Amana before moving eastward. His new team has learned fast.
“We’re getting better,” he said. “I think, in a few weeks, this will be one of the (best teams I’ve coached). It’s amazing how far they’ve come in four weeks.
“Each week, we’re trying to add something. Today, it was a little more of a short game. We’ll run when we need to run.”
The Spartans threatened in the first inning, then exploded in the second.
Nearad’s single drove in two runs, highlighting a seven-tally explosion.
She added an RBI single in the third inning to make it 8-0, then ended the game with a two-run line-drive homer to right field in the fifth.
“Coach tells me to adjust my hands,” Nearad said. “Today, I brought them up.”
Solon chipped away for runs in the second game — two each in the second and third, a single in the fourth, two in the fifth and three in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Monika Bevans ended it with a two-run double for the 10-run margin.
West Delaware (10-6, 1-5) is no slouch; the Hawks are ranked 12th in 4A. But they didn’t advance a runner to third base until the sixth inning of the second game, and they managed just four hits all night.
“This was an eye-opener,” Schuchmann said. “Our kids are competitors, and this is the level they want to get to. But we’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the next three weeks.”
West Delaware was without leading hitter Haley Morrison (broken finger). She is out indefinitely.
Solon’s Emily Ira was the winning pitcher in the nightcap and also blasted a two-run homer.
|West Delaware||0 0 0||0 0||–||0||1||4|
|Solon||0 7 1||0 2||–||10||10||0|
Hannah Cole and Alyssa McDowell. Holly Hinkel, Miranda Hochstetler (5) and Ali Herdliska, Monika Bevans (4). W — Hinkel (8-0). L — Cole (7-4). HR — S: Taylor Nearad (2).
|West Delaware||0 0 0||0 0 0||–||0||3||1|
|Solon||0 2 2||1 2 3||–||10||12||1|
Dorise Nagel, Kristen Wegmann (6) and Alyssa McDowell. Emily Ira, Miranda Hochstetler (6) and Ali Herdliska. W — Ira (7-0). L — Nagel (3-2). HR — S: Emily Ira (1).