STRUTHERS - Somtetimes it just helps to keep it simple.
On Wednesday in a Division I district semifinal at Bob Cene Field in Struthers, Solon starting pitcher Danny Sutyak worked with primarily a fastball/curveball combination to defeat Howland, 4-1.
"We didn't swing the bats well at all," Howland coach Jason Stanford said. "The wind was blowing in and we kept hitting the ball in the air. You can't do that when a pitcher was throwing as well as their's was today."
Pitching to contact, as it turns out, has been Sutyak's strength all season.
"He wasn't too precise with his location today, but didn't pitch to the barrel," Solon coach Damien Kopkas said. "He pitches to contact very well, and our defense played excellent behind him."
Howland's Jacob Froats ran into trouble in the top of the first when Jesse Circelli singled and came around to score when clean-up hitter Ryan Schwenke singled.
Froats settled down to retire 12 of the next 13 hitters, but he ran into big trouble in the fifth inning. With two outs, Brad Cisar lined a single to center field that scored Kevin Cegalka to make the score 2-0.
Froats looked to get out of the inning on the very next batter, but a botched pickoff play at first allowed Circelli to trot home from third to make the score 3-0.
Schwenke then made the score 4-0 when he lined a 1-2 Froates fastball to center field to score Solon's fourth run.
Howland rallied in the sixth when Kenny Pozega legged out an infield single, and moved to second when Tanner Scott looped an opposite-field single to right field.
The bases then got loaded when Corey Hickman worked out a full-count walk. Kyle Hickman then lofted a flyball to center field that allowed Pozega to tag and score Howland's only run.
Sutyak worked out of the inning, and reliever Drew Stankiewicz closed the game after he allowed the first two Tigers to reach base.
"It was a good year up until today," Stanford said. "We have great senior leadership on this team, and I wish it didn't have to end like this for them."