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STC struggles at Solon, Koch hits first career homerun

June 15, 2018
By Allison Graham - Sports Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

It was a sweep for Solon on Friday, June 8. South Tama travelled to the Solon Nature Complex to face the Solon Spartans for an east meets west conference double header. At the end of the night the Spartans won game one 15-6 and game two 14-4.

So far this season, Solon has been one of the premier offenses in the state. The Spartans lead all classes in home runs (22) and are top ten in Class 3A in team batting average (.339) and slugging percentage (.575). Against the Trojans, Solon's bats struck early and often as they put up nine runs in the first inning. Lucas Wilkerson got his first start of the season for South Tama. Wilkerson threw two innings allowing runs on five hits. He struck out one and walked three. Lane Koch and Brayden Smith each took turns in relief efforts for the Trojans.

The top of the 5th inning brought a change in pitching staff for the Spartans. Trevor Schuchmann came in from the bullpen to relieve starter Lucas Walker. The Trojans were able to take advantage of the change for some offensive production in the 5th inning.

Article Photos

STC third baseman, Lane Koch, throws to home. The Trojans fell to Solon on Friday, June 8.
News Herald Photo/Allison Graham

Schuchmann walked Matt Wiese to start the inning. STC freshman Lane Lekin came in to the lineup for some of his first varsity minutes of the season. Lekin singled on a pop fly to center field, moving Wiese to second. Smith then singled on a grounder to third. Wiese was brought home off a sacrifice fly out to left field by Cam Klostermann.

With runners on first and second Lane Koch stepped up to the plate. His first swing was a strike. Schuchmann then threw two balls. Another strike for Koch brought the count to 2-2. Koch stuck with it offering up a hit that would give him a first in his career. Koch sent Schuchmann's fifth pitch over the left field fence for a three-run home run. Koch's first career home run ended a two year drought for the Trojans who have not had a player go yard since Colson Frakes hit a one-run shot in the Trojan's season opener at PCM in 2016. Koch joins his older brother Grant as one of only ten players to hit a home run for South Tama in the last ten seasons. Others have included Frakes (16'), Cody Kellogg (15'), Dalton Doyle (15'), Kolton Smith (14' and 12'), Grant Koch (14'), Dakota McFatridge (10'), Levi Belton (10'), Jesse Wedmore (09'), and Jess Musgrave (09'). Lane and Grant are the sons of long time STC head coach Seth Koch. For the Trojans however, the home run was the highlight in what otherwise was a difficult night. The Trojans came out of the fifth inning with four runs but not enough to close the gap. The dinger by Koch also saved the Trojans from being 10-runned.

Game two however found the Trojans not as lucky. The Trojans struggled to get their bats swinging and also found it difficult to contain Solon's offense. This led to an early 14-4 win for the Spartans after the 5th inning.

Cam Klostermann got the start for the Trojans. He surrendered 10 runs on eight hits over 2 2/3 innings. Wiese and Mickey Wanatee both entered the game in relief.

The Spartans hit three home runs in game two, two of which were from Solon's all-state shortstop and South Dakota State recruit Luke Ira. Ira currently leads all classes in home runs with 10.

Carter Kriegel, Jackson Beltz, Matt Wiese, Lane Lekin, Cam Klostermann and Lane Koch each had a hit to lead the Trojans.

The Spartans gathered up 14 hits throughout the five innings played. Tyler Linderbaum, Spencer Wegmann, Ira and Adam Bock each collected multiple hits. Results like this should come as no surprise though as Solon's starting lineup is a veteran group that feature six senior starters, one Division 1 baseball recruit (Ira), three Division 1 football recruits (Linderbaum, Iowa; Kendrick Harris, Iowa State; Bock, SDSU), and a handful of other athletes bound for collegiate careers.

Solon has had much success over the past few years. They came just shy of the State Tournament in 2017 falling to Marion in the Sub-State Finals. They went to State in 2016 where they were State Semi-Finalists, losing to Harlan who were the eventual State Champions that year. They also qualified in 2014 falling in round one. Their coach, Keith McSweeney, is going into his 18th season and has led Solon to two state championships, a Class 2A title in 2010 and a Class 3A title in 2011.



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