Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Since she started player softball Skyler Stookey has dreamed about being in position to provide a walk-off winner.
Before Friday that opportunity hadn’t present itself in a high school game.
When Stookey finally found herself in that exact spot the Solon junior was prepared.
Stookey lined a seventh-inning single into left-center field to lift Solon to an 8-7 win over City High in the final game of the opening day of the Solon Classic.
“You always think as an athlete ‘I want to be in that situation, I want to be the one to help my team out’,” Stookey said. “I’m just glad that I was able to be in that situation today and I was able to help my teammates get a win.”
The game-winning single by Stookey helped Class 3A tenth-ranked Solon (17-5) finish 2-0 on the opening day of its own tournament after the Spartans downed Keoukuk 8-2 in their opener.
Stookey’s single capped a wild game in which Solon led 5-1 and 7-4 before City High used homers by Carey Koenig and Brooke Bormann to pull even at 7-7.
“We showed a lot of fight,” Solon coach Erin White said. “We didn’t have the spunk that we usually have but it’s good to have those opportunities when they aren’t on their A game.”
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, Kayla West navigated the heart of the City High order in the seventh retiring the Little Hawks in order.
West got Sydney Fellows to pop out and struck out Keli Potter to end the inning stranding Ella Cook at third.
Solon wouldn’t waste its opportunity.
The Spartans loaded the bases on a fielding error and a walk and Stookey scored Ava Stebral from third with a one-out line drive into the left-center field gap.
“I was trying to stay patient and not get ahead of myself because if I do that nothing good ends up happening,” Stookey said. “I was just looking for my pitch and trying to square one up.”
Before she provided the game-winning hit Stookey played a key role in giving Solon an early cushion.
She had a sacrifice bunt in the first as Solon scored a run and joined freshman Monet Barnhouse in providing run-scoring singles in a four-run Spartan fourth.
“She has a love of the game,” White said of Stookey. “She just loves to play, she loves to practice. It’s her passion and I think that’s contagious.”
Solon led 5-1 after two innings but City High climbed back in when Carey Koenig slammed a two-run homer to left in the third.
The Spartans pushed the lead back to 7-4 when Madison Rogers and Taylor Moore both doubled to spark a two-run Solon fourth.
City High tied the score in the fifth on a two-out, three-run homer by Brooke Bormann.
“We fought back, that’s a good thing but how we are getting ourselves into that hole is what we have to fix,” City High coach Jeff Koenig said. “Playoffs start in a couple of weeks and we have to fix how we get ourselves in the hole and that’s our job as coaches to figure out how to do that.”
City High stranded runners on third in each of the last two innings while Stookey took advantage of her opportunity to end the game in the bottom of the seventh.
“Skylar wants to be in those big spots and we have a lot of kids that want to be in those spots,” White said. “I never tell them you have to get a hit, you have the opportunity to be in this situation and I think they are really starting to buy into that.”
Taylor Ryan had three hits and scored twice for Solon while Moore, Stookey and Barnhouse each had two hits.
Stookey finished 2-for-4 and drove in two runs while Rogers also had a pair of RBI.
“It was definitely a team win,” Stookey said. “Without them getting on base first I wouldn’t have been in that situation so it was definitely a team win.”
City High 012 130 0 – 7 9 3
Solon 140 200 1 – 8 13 1
W – Kayla West L – Ayana Lindsey
2B – ICH: Carey Koenig, Alexa Fredericks, Ella Cook; SOL: Jayden Jeter, Madison Rogers, Taylor Moore
HR – ICH: Carey Koenig, Brooke Bormann