Solon shuts out Fairfield in substate final

By Mike Condon, Gazette coorespondent


SOLON ? The numbers on the scoreboard looked dominant for Solon?s Cam Miller.

The Spartans right-hander had a no-hitter going through four innings of Wednesday night?s Class 3A Substate 5 title game against Fairfield, but that didn?t mean Miller had his best stuff.

?I try and get into a groove as the game goes along,? Miller said. ?I kinda started out rusty, but then I came into my own and started throwing strikes.?

Miller eventually found that groove, striking out 10 and allowing just a fifth-inning single in 6 1/3 innings. He hit the pitch-count limit and Tyler Linderbaum came on to get the final two outs as the Spartans advanced to state for the seventh time in school history with a 4-0 victory before an overflow crowd at the Solon diamond.

Coach Keith McSweeney?s fifth-ranked Spartans (32-10) will learn who their state opponent is Thursday. Fairfield finishes its season at 30-10.

McSweney said Fairfield?s potent offense was a concern, especially with Miller?s early struggles where he walked four batters in the first three innings.

?They?re a very dangerous hitting team,? said McSweeney, who led the Spartans to state titles in 2010 and 2011. ?Anytime you are in a close ballgame and have that threat, it is nerve-wracking.?

While Miller was struggling, Trojans starter Cade Lisk struck out five in the first three innings. Solon finally broke through in the fourth. Linderbaum walked to open the inning. After the next two batters were retired, Miller singled to left. Senior Spencer Wegmann came through with the clutch hit, a triple to left-center, giving the Spartans a 2-0 lead.

?I was just keeping my same approach,? Wegmann said. ?I was just looking for my pitch and thankfully it came and I was able to capitalize on it.?

McSweeney recalled a big defensive play Wegmann made in the outfield during a 2016 tournament game that helped that team make it to state.

?He made a diving catch bouncing off the wall in a district final game against Mount Vernon,? McSweeney said. ?I believe that was the play that got us to state that year and now as a senior, he comes up with a big hit in the gap to get us back to state again.?

Solon added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth. A two-out error allowed one run to score. Luke Ira followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0.

Solon fell short of the state tournament last year, something that has driven the Spartans all summer.

?We had our sights set on this 365 days ago when we lost out,? Wegmann said. ?We?re pretty excited to be going to Des Moines.?