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Solon sweeps Independence

Maquoketa game suspended at 1-1
Jake Van Roekel made the most of his first start of the season.

SOLON– Jake Van Roekel and Sully Steen made the most of their first starts of the season.
The sophomore and junior led the varsity Spartans to a 10-3 and 15-5 doubleheader sweep over Independence June 6 in Solon.
Van Roekel went 6-1/3 innings on the mound in the opener, giving up two earned runs on four hits while striking out seven and walking three. Steen pitched five innings in the nightcap, striking out six and allowing a single walk while giving up five runs (one earned) on five hits.
Van Roekel, Steen and sophomore Brayden Rickertsen have stepped up from the bullpen to help spell Head Coach Keith McSweeney’s three-deep starting rotation.
“Our pitching is what gives us the greatest chance to have a deep run in the postseason, but as far as our regular season and those important non-confernce and Thursday games, Jake Van Roekel and Brayden Rickertsen have stepped up early on and have given our team some quality innings,” McSweeney said. “Sully Steen also had a great first start and finish in game two against Indee.”
It was Steen’s third overall appearance of the year, and Van Roekel’s fifth.
The Spartans gave Van Roekel a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first and tacked on four more runs in the third. Solon started that inning with two singles and a walk to load the bases before a wild pitch brought second baseman Chris McSweeney home.
A Brady Jeworrek single scored two more, and a Jax Flynn single plated Jeworrek to make it 7-0 before the Mustangs could get on the scoreboard with a run in the top of the fourth.
The Spartans added a run in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the fifth.
Senior Adam Bock was 3-5 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI, while senior McSweeney was 4-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Eight different Solon players recorded a hit, and the Spartans worked the count for six walks.
Senior Jerrod Hilton pitched the final two outs in relief of Van Roekel.
Solon’s offense exploded in the nightcap.
After a scoreless first inning, the Spartans erupted for five runs in both the second and fourth innings to blow the game open for a 15-5 victory.
Cam Miller, Cole Arduser, Nolan Pattison and Ryan Geistkemper each had two hits. Geistkemper and Pattison each had two RBI while Brady Jeworrek had three. The Spartans supplemented their 11 hits with eight walks.
The wins moved Solon to 9-2-1 on the season.
The tie came June 4 in Maquoketa after the second game of a doubleheader was suspended after four innings.
Rickertsen made his third appearance and first start in the nightcap, pitching 3-2/3 innings before being relieved by Steen. The game will be continued July 11.
The Spartans won the opener 15-8 powered by nine hits, nine stolen bases and eight walks.
Solon held an 11-1 lead after four innings, but the Cardinals rallied back for seven runs in the home half of the fifth to make it 13-8. The Spartans tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh for the final margin.
Geistkemper took the win after allowing two runs on three hits over four innings while striking out five and walking three batters. Pattison, Hilton and Dillon Jeworrek combined to pitch in relief.
Senior Jackson Pipolo had four RBI and two stolen bases, while Miller had three RBI and a stolen bag. Bock and McSweeney each had two hits. Arduser drew three walks, stole two bases and scored three times.
Solon started the week June 3 splitting a home doubleheader with Mount Vernon.
The Mustangs handed the Spartans a 5-3 loss, while Solon took a 4-1 victory.
Miller struck out 14 and walked only one batter in the win, allowing a single run on three hits in a complete game.
“Cam has had an impressive start and has been dominating hitters in the early going,” Coach McSweeney said. “We've been fortunate to have had a few guys in his category, including Brandon Shulista, John Sokol and Ben Bergman. We've certainly had lots of other very successful pitchers, but these guys, like Cam, had the ability to overwhelm hitters with a mix of velocity and stuff. But what makes Cam unique is his bulldog mentality and a deeply competitive nature.”
Miller also helped himself at the plate, going 2-4 with a double and an RBI.
Solon gave up the lead late in the 5-3 loss.
The Spartans held a 2-1 leading heading into the seventh inning, but Mount Vernon put four runners across to steal the win.
Junior Lucas Walker took the loss, striking out 10 and walking four over 6-2/3 innings.