Baseball: Ryan Solomon delivers in clutch for Metea ValleyMetea Valley's Billy Sheeren scores as Geneva catcher Matt Williams bobbles a catch at home plate on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at Metea. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 10, 2012 9:01PM
When faced with a critical situation with the game on the line, Metea Valley baseball coach Craig Tomczak couldn’t think of a better player to be up at the plate than senior Ryan Solomon.
Solomon has been in plenty of pressure spots on the soccer field and basketball court, and his prowess in those situations helped him in Tuesday’s Upstate Eight game against Geneva.
With the score tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh and Jake Charuk standing on third base, Solomon delivered a two-out RBI single on an 0-2 pitch to give the Mustangs a dramatic 5-4 win.
“These kids have been in some big games baseball-wise, but you take Ryan and Kenny (Obendorf), it’s the right guy up in a pressure situation,” Tomczak said. “He’s been there and done that. Big hit for him. Big hit for our group. We’ve had a lot of peaks and valleys so far this year. That’s a big win. Hopefully we can build on it.”
The Mustangs (5-4 overall, 2-2 UEC) thought they had it won moments earlier. Charuk rifled a double off of Geneva pitcher Jordan Touro (2-1) and Obendorf went flying around third to score the winning run. But he was gunned down at the plate, setting up Solomon’s heroics.
“I took a bad swing to start the at-bat, I was just hyped to have that opportunity,” Solomon said. “Then the last pitch, it was 0-2 and I didn’t want to take a chance on a called third strike, so I shortened up and took a half swing and put it in play.”
The game was tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, and the Mustangs had yet to have a hit against Touro. That changed on a one-out single by Obendorf. Solomon then came through with a two-run single and Mike Fitzgerald singled in Obendorf to open a 4-1 lead.
“He had an odd release point, kind of hid it with his shoulder,” Solomon said of Touro. “For my first at-bat, it was really tough to pick up. That’s what a lot of guys said. Later in the game, we started to pick up on it and everyone started to hit the ball well.”
Geneva (8-3, 2-3) hung around, however. Matt Williams and Mitch Endriukaitis walked to start the sixth and eventually scored, cutting the lead to 4-3. Williams then drove in Bobby Hess with a single off of Billy Sheeren (2-1) in the seventh to tie the game, but the Vikings had two guys thrown out on the bases that inning, giving Metea a shot in the bottom of the seventh.
“I liked the fact that we were able to come back,” Geneva coach Matt Hahn said. “The problem is that we shouldn’t have been in that situation. Their (starting pitcher Matt Karlins) did a good job of keeping us off balance. But I think our approach at the plate needs to change and our pitchers need to throw more strikes.”